Almost had him

More than it appears \\ Looking at the player with swirling eyes, the twisted game master readies his cards.

More than it appears \\ Looking at the player with swirling eyes, the twisted game master readies his cards.

writer: Braydon Pyles, Staff Reporter

More than it appears \\ Looking at the player with swirling eyes, the twisted game master readies his cards.

While this year lacked many thrilling titles in terms of blockbuster games, despite releases like the Diamond and Pearl “Pokemon” remakes, the Indie game scene is nothing to sneeze about. Released in October, the chilling card-based horror game “Inscryption” has quickly become a notable cult classic.

The catch to playing Inscryption? Your opponent likes to cheat, add rules, and otherwise fuddle a game about strategy in ways that on a first playthrough are completely unpredictable and can leave one feeling cheated. ”

— Braydon Pyles

The basic mechanic of the game is to choose either disposable squirrel cards to draw, or stronger cards that require the sacrifice of another, or multiple more cards. The catch? Your opponent likes to cheat, add rules, and otherwise fuddle a game about strategy in ways that on a first playthrough are completely unpredictable and can leave one feeling cheated. 

The way this is cleverly sidestepped by the developer, Daniel Mullins Games, is to give the players two lives on each run, as well as to allow them a unique after-loss mechanic. Once the players lose, they are given the chance to make completely new cards to appear in their next run-through of the game. For example, lowering the required sacrifices to zero, giving it incredibly high health and damage, as well as an ability. This throws in a degree of experimentation and skill, which can be developed over playtime.

The game is designed to be lost several times, unlike similar titles like “Slay the Spire” which requires immense luck of the draw, rather than slowly building a repertoire of cards good enough to overcome your opponent’s shenanigans. Many games in the genre can feel enraging because of overpowered combinations that occur randomly, with this game instead having those combos be planned, so you can instead prepare rather than just crossing your fingers.

Outside of the card game itself, the players can walk around and interact with the cabin they are locked inside. This can uncover a hidden story, along with the help of specific cards which actually turn out to be speaking of their own accord, much to the anger of the gamemaster.

Overall, the game manages to introduce new topics slowly enough to not overwhelm the player, while keeping it in theme with the gamemaster’s “cheating” appearance. This, combined with the purposeful deaths that don’t feel constructed out of “darn, I was unlucky that run” make “Inscryption” quite the fun and unique adventure for people sick of the same rouge-like experience.