When I received this title to review, I honestly didn’t quite know where to start – Culdcept Revolt is a card-based tactical-lite game developed by Omiya Soft, published by NIS America, looking to be a bizarre fusion between something like Fire Emblem or even Mario Party mixed in with an action card title like Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. Whilst this type of game doesn’t particularly excite me, did Culdcept Revolt do enough to captivate me and convert me to love this subgenre?
In short, no.
In long however, there are some deep-rooted issues lying within Culdcept Revolt, from it’s sloppy visual style, confusing mechanics and jumbled plot; Culdcept Revolt begins on a rather abrupt note – Our protagonist wakes up in a bizarre space, with absolutely no recollection of who they were, however the protagonist is more than willing to just roll with the flow as a mysterious stranger informs them that they’re a being known as a Cepter, a being that can enter an alternative world to the current one, where these Cepters…Fight other people…In a board game…?
…Imagining this in another form, either live action or anime makes you realise just how silly this seems, honestly…
Along the way of the central story your character meets a band of vigilantes known as the Free Bats, a group of Cepters fighting against a tyrant known only as the Count; this here is where Culdcept Revolt approaches it’s first major issue – Playing through the game, it’s story begins and unfortunately continues extremely slowly, at an utter snail’s pace, infact, giving you next to no rhyme or reason to go and pursue the plot – It’s a damn shame that, whilst a few of the characters do have their own unique sparks of personality and backstory, it never really goes anywhere, at least initially.
Gameplay in Culdcept Revolt consists of board-game, turn-based deck building elements that meld together into a somewhat coherent gameplay format; how? I have no idea – Magic perhaps…Similar to Mario Party, combatants in the game take turns moving across a coloured grid board, passing “Milestones” (Or as I call them “Pass Go and get $200 spots”) to earn G, better known as Magic, used to summon various cards, monsters, items and abilities to tackle opponents – Like Fire Emblem, each unit has their own uses, HP, stats, etc, however it’s more-so the ways you can amplify, debuff and manipulate units in the Culdcept games that draws it’s own little niche.
Now, I understand that this might be a slightly petty point, however Culdcept Revolt’s visuals are…Well…For wanton lack of a better word, aged; the game is extremely dated, looking like an early Nintendo DS title rather than an up-to-date 3DS game; whilst card art looks fantastic, animations, board sprites and character portraits just look rushed, with the board sprites featuring only around 2 or 3 frames of animation at the best of times when still; frankly, for a 3DS title released this year that’s from a large developer and massive publisher, it’s just not good enough.
However, Culdcept Revolt does have some redeeming factors; for one, despite the gameplay being both confusing and bizarre, it does hold your interest for a good while as you start setting up units, navigating the board and start drawing cards; however, once things start to get slower, you can’t help but feel like you’d rather be playing something different; deck creation too is another strong aspect of Culdcept Revolt, figuring out which cards to balance your deck with gave me nostalgia towards other card collecting and deck building games such as the various Yu-Gi-Oh titles, Magic the Gathering games, and, of course, Hearthstone – However, there’s just no reason to fight for better cards rather than to just get stronger – That, and just seeing cool looking cards.
Overall, what’re my thoughts of Culdcept Revolt? All in all, Culdcept Revolt is a confusing blend of Monopoly, Fire Emblem, Mario Party, Hearthstone, and Yu-Gi-Oh…But that pot gets far too muddled far too quickly – The beginning tutorial is confusing, characters are often bland, with little to no motivation and reasoning behind them, and overall, the game looks and plays like a budget DS title. If you’re interested in this sort of game, and inside of this ‘extreme niche’, then you’d probably be better off just playing the less serious and more mechanically sound “100% Orange Juice”, which follows the same sort of mechanics and gameplay.
All things considered, Culdcept Revolt gets a 3.5/10 from me.