Square Enix released Voice of Cards: The Isle Dragon Roars on the 28th of October 2021. This was a little over a month after being announced in September and as such, it never really had the long marketing run-up or hype that their other more high profile titles had. That’s quite a shame because Voice of Cards: The Isle Dragon Roars is an excellent game and one that should not be overlooked. If this is the first time you’re hearing about this game, you should check out the trailer below
What exactly makes Voice of Cards: The Isle Dragon Roars a good game though? That’s entirely dependent on whether or not you are a fan of tabletop RPGs or card-based games. If you are though, this game ticks all the right boxes and will satisfy fans of the genre albeit with some caveats. It does tend to fall safely within the tried and trusted JRPG formula and we’ll get into this shortly.
Voice of Cards: The Isle Dragon Roars puts players in control of a party of adventurers. These adventurers belong to the Ivory Order, a mysterious organisation with a Queen at its helm. The Ivory Order wants to destroy a powerful dragon and it’s up to you as the player to go forth and do glorious battle.
However, as with all JRPG games, things are never as simple as it seems and our party of heroes will encounter numerous challenges as they travel across the world. Players will be brought up to speed with the game’s battle system by immediately controlling a “Trio of Heroes” from the Ivory Order. You’ll be able to attack by simply playing a card that belongs to a particular hero. After a short stint playing as the powerful trio, you’ll be put into the shoes of the game’s real heroes, Ash and his monster companion Mar. You can choose to rename the main character but we stuck with his default name for our playthrough.
Gameplay in Voice of Cards: The Isle of Dragon Roars involves players moving a player token across a tabletop board game composed entirely of cards. The game’s entire map is made up of cards and when you move your token onto cards, something may or may not happen. Other characters are depicted as cards too and placing your token on top of them will trigger a card-based scene or interaction where you can select cards as a response. Once Ash and Mar leave the Ivory Order’s castle and set forth on their journey they meet Melanie, a witch clad in black clothing. Melanie attacks Mar thinking he’s a wild monster but is stopped by Ash. After a brief conversation, she ends up joining your party and things really kick off as your new trio sets out on an adventure.
Players will move their player token across the card-based map, revealing face down cards as they go along. While adventuring this way, you’ll encounter enemies as well as random events, treasures and NPCs along the way. You can also enter towns on the world map and this will take you to their smaller maps which are filled with NPCs to talk to. These NPCs can either have their own story segments to enjoy or can simply be standard JRPG town folk that serve a purpose such as selling you items or weapons. Many of the NPC cards you will encounter are reused throughout the game and you will see the same character card numerous times despite the fact that they represent entirely different people.
Combat gameplay in Voice of Cards: The Isle of Dragon Roars is fairly straightforward with players simply selecting an attack card or skill card from their set of cards and playing it in battle. Cards can however also have gem costs attached to them and this further complicates the battle system somewhat. There’s also elemental attributes to consider as well as the ability to cast healing magic cards and more in battle. The battle system can be likened to a traditional JRPG’s turn-based battle system but is represented visually by cards since you’ll equip different cards to your characters. Players will have to use strategy in battles as well as take into account their characters health and their current gem total if they want to achieve victory. There are also item cards to play and you have a limited inventory.
With all that said, the battles in Voice of Cards: The Isle of Dragon Roars are not that difficult at all and there’s a low chance of frustration here. Unfortunately, the worst aspects of the gameplay lies with the fact that players will have to sit through a tonne of text while playing this game. The information you are presented within character interactions is voiced by a narrator but the game’s pace is really slow throughout. This will annoy those who just want to adventure and battle enemies as often as possible.
There are choices to make in Voice of Cards: The Isle of Dragon Roars and some of them will present you with some hard-hitting moral dilemmas. Overall, the story, while slow-paced, is quite enjoyable and the random events that trigger on the world map are great since they happen naturally throughout the game. Given the game’s slow pace, Voice of Cards: The Isle of Dragon Roars is best played in shorter bursts so as to not get repetitive. If you have a Nintendo Switch, this game would most likely be great for playing on the go since the chaptered story fits that style of gameplay. There’s also a card collection gallery where you can read more about specific characters as well as unlock deeper lore for each character card you encounter by fulfilling certain requirements.
Graphically, the game looks flat out amazing. The amount of effort put into making the game’s user interface work as cards is commendable and the art style and visual aesthetic fits the game perfectly. The animations of cards and attacks in battle are also filled with flashy effects and it’s great. The soundtrack of Voice of Cards: The Isle of Dragon Roars features a lot of Celtic themed tunes and there’s a lot of music here that’s extremely catchy. It’s so good that you’ll find yourself humming the tunes to yourself in no time. Todd Haberkorn, the voice of the narrator does a decent job of voicing the lines of text throughout the game but may not be to everyone’s tastes given his voice acting style here.
Overall, Voice of Cards: The Isle of Dragon Roars is a gamble that Square Enix took and it’s one that they should be praised for. While the game is slow-paced and does fall into some JRPG tropes, it’s still a fun adventure. The main character does come across as a bit of a scoundrel and some of the game’s storytelling could be seen as lacking in oomph but ultimately the final package is still worth playing through.
Publisher: Square Enix
PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and Microsoft Windows
Grab your copy on Steam for £24.99
Reviewed on PC
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