Cardinal Quest – Review

Cardinal Quest

developed by Ido Yehieli

Cardinal Quest website

Cardinal Quest is a lot like your classic Roguelike, only simplified.  You’ll explore the depths of a dark, dank dungeon, on a quest to destroy the evil Minotaur known as Asterion.  Along the way you’ll battle the many minions of this den while searching for more powerful weapons, armor, spells, and various other forms of loot.  It’s a formula that gamers who are familiar with Roguelikes will immediately recognize.  However, unlike most roguelikes, Cardinal Quest is made so that gamers can simply pick-up and play it.  You won’t find the same amount of depth as other games in the genre, but that’s alright because there is still an addictive quality to the exploration, combat, and treasure hunting, giving it a much more arcade like feel.

Their are only 3 classes to choose from including a Fighter, Thief, and Wizard.  Each class plays in a slightly different way.  All of the classes have a unique skill to start with, but throughout the quest each can find various skills or powers to aid them.  Some of these skills crossover no matter which class you’re playing.  Obviously, the Fighter is your strong, tank-like, character class who prefers to move headlong into battle.  The Thief is more adept at evasion and trickery, showing of their quick moves.  The Wizard is the master of magic utilizing spells taking enemies out at a distance rather than risk getting up close and personal.

The gameplay is very easy to get into.  Controlling your character can be done using either the mouse or keyboard.  Physical combat simply requires that you run into your enemy, while casting offensive spells is as simple as clicking on the spell of your choice from a list of spells you’ve obtained and then selecting an enemy.  Each class can also buff themselves up with some spells and skills, making them stronger, faster, and ultimately harder to kill.  Speaking of which, there are lots of different monsters to contend with and figuring out when to fight or flee is very important in any roguelike, this includes Cardinal Quest as well.

The graphics are intentionally retro and inspired by classic games.  They’re pixelated and blocky but they also have detail to them.  It all looks like something straight out of the NES or early PC library of RPG games.  Most roguelikes use Ascii characters for graphics, and while a roguelike doesn’t necessarily need good graphics to be enjoyable, it’s nice to have a colorful tileset with some nice detail and yet that familiar retro feel.

The music and sound are very good.  The audio is more modern and up to date than the graphics but it’s inclusion is very effective for the overall presentation of the game.  For the most part, the sounds are low-key but they add a fair bit of flavor to this classicly styled Roguelike.

Cardinal Quest isn’t a deep adventure game, even when compared to most other roguelikes.  This also means it’s very easy to get into and less frustrating when your character does die.  It’s a game you can pick up and play in relatively short bursts of time.  The dungeon is randomized making it easy to enjoy multiple playthru’s.  It may not have that depth of a hardcore roguelike, but it does have the addictive quality of combat, loot drops, and exploration.  The version of Cardinal Quest that I played still didn’t have a highscore table or online leaderboards integrated into the game yet, which is a bit of a letdown.  Having leaderboards would definitely add to the replay value and overall addictiveness.  Hopefully we’ll see this feature added in the near future.  If you’re a fan of D&D, Roguelikes, and classic games like Gauntlet then I recommend you check out Cardinal Quest.  There’s a demo available and the full game is very affordable at $4.45 and well worth the value.

You can play the demo in your browser at the developers website or on Kongregate.  If you like what you see, then be sure to purchase the full game here.  It’s also available on Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms!

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