Aces & Adventures review

2023-06-01 by George P

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  • Publisher
    Yogscast Games

Top-Decking Aspirations

Aces & Adventures is a poker-based deck-building roguelike, featuring elements of RPG progression. A fully-fledged choose-your-own-adventure style storyline, and a procedurally generated roguelike expedition. As one can guess from the astonishingly large number of keywords in this long description, Aces & Adventures is a highly ambitious project that promises a visionary combination of both familiar and unique ingredients. Prepare to journey through a marvelous and cryptic world. Discover the magical secrets stashed away in the rocky heart of a volcanic mountain. In the spellbinding breeze of an enchanted forest or in the cerulean waves of a stormy ocean. These are only some of the many intriguing locations that you will encounter in the game’s fully voice-acted campaign divided into short branching-paths style chapters. Before each chapter, you will have the chance to adjust your deck and choose from one of the game’s five heroes. No matter your hero choice, what will quickly become apparent during each and every journey is that brute force is never the answer in a world brimming with trickery.

In the realm of Aces and Adventures, enemies assume many forms and unpredictable danger lurks in every corner. During combat, you will have to carefully assess your options and calculate the probabilities. Unravel a series of clever tactics and well-timed combos in order to achieve victory. Outside combat, you will be given the opportunity to make a series of choices that will influence both your journey and your chances of survival. For example, will you explore a site of ancient ruins or will you bypass them, will you attack an enemy camp head-on or will you try to use stealth. Beyond the core gameplay, what swiftly catches one’s attention in the adventure that Aces & Adventure offers are all the remarkable elements the game utilizes to bring its campaign to life. From excellent storytelling, to smooth visual design, to brilliant voice acting, to fitting particle effects, and much more.

Spiritual Successor with an Ace up its Sleeve

In recent years, Slay the Spire is the example that is most often used as a point of reference for the genre, and for a very good reason. It is a game that in 2019, not only became one of the most successful indie titles of all time but also redefined the card game genre on a foundational level. The roguelike formula that Slay the Spire introduced is one that hundreds of developers would scramble to replicate. Aces and Adventures falls under that general category of spiritual successors. From as early as the first chapter, one will notice the undeniable influence the roguelike boom had on the game. Veterans of the genre will also be able to observe the many ways the game borrows and restructures fundamental components from numerous other titles to craft its own blueprint. However, the most important part is that Aces & Adventures does not stop there.

Beyond the familiar aspects that are used as a foundation, the game introduces and expands upon a range of fresh ideas and unique mechanics. Most notably, the “poker-powered combat”. What I initially perceived in my playthrough as a gimmick, quickly became one of my favorite parts of the game. The poker-powered combat is a distinct and carefully crafted system that allows for a highly engaging and quite addictive gameplay loop. Most importantly, it is also a system that fluently interacts with the rest of the game’s structure. The hero abilities, the deckbuilding elements, the variety in enemy types, the choice-based journey, and the countless keyword mechanics, all enhance the poker system in their own way; and vice versa. Aces & Adventures is also undoubtedly a more intricate and mechanically advanced card game compared to most of its roguelike counterparts. However, these elements of intricacy never feel forced or artificial. This is because the game develops its levels of depth and complexity through genuinely clever systems and a clear design vision. Additionally, the overall experience of Aces & Adventures never becomes overwhelming and never loses the simplicity and minimalist traits that made Slay the Spire attractive to millions of players. There is however a negative pattern in the core gameplay loop that I noticed during my playthrough. Unfortunately, moments, where the predominance of RNG seems to overshadow the player-controlled strategy, occur quite often. This is significantly more visible in the higher levels of difficulty where the prospect of victory or defeat is often determined in what is essentially a coin toss.

Icing on the Cake

In a game such as Aces & Adventures, a central question for any prospective customer is that of “replayability”. This is why it is also crucial to look beyond the campaign and highlight the fact that the game includes two additional modes. War of the Branches and Invernal Spiral are the two game types that you will unlock after reaching certain checkpoints in the main campaign. Both modes are highly enjoyable and contribute to the game’s replay value. That is especially true for Invernal Spiral which features procedural deckbuilding and can potentially offer hundreds of hours of engaging replayability. So far, most of the review has focused on the gameplay loop and mechanical design which are of course the central pillars of any card game. However, there are so many “cherries on top” that complement the experience that Aces & Adventures offers.

The UI for example is smooth and intuitive. The visual presentation is excellent and includes hundreds of custom particle effects that make the gameplay feel magical and dynamic. There are even subtle aesthetic changes that affect the board based on the location you currently find yourself in. Both the sound design and voice acting are top-tier. Finally, the writing, storytelling and world-building are interesting and captivating. A surprising circumstance for a card game. The gameplay loop in combination with all the above elements, constitutes Aces & Adventures as one of the highest-quality games to emerge from the roguelike wave that has defined the genre for almost four years now.


Aces & Adventures is a high-quality deck-builder that utilizes both familiar ingredients and fresh innovative elements. The game features a well-written and fully voice-acted story as well as procedurally-generated roguelike modes that can potentially offer hundreds of hours of engaging replayability. Unfortunately, RNG can be quite prevalent in higher levels of difficulty; this negative trait however does not overshadow the game’s numerous excellent qualities.