Aces & Adventures takes tried-and-tested ideas and moulds them together to create something rather unique.
Deck-building roguelikes are numerous, and in the last few years it’s become one of the most saturated genres. We suppose the likes of Slay the Spire is to be blamed for that – but it’s not necessarily a bad thing, as the genre is home to some of the most exciting card-based games of recent years. Aces & Adventures, an upcoming deck-building RPG from Triple.B.Titles, hopes to be among them. And, based on our time previewing it, it might just be.
Essentially, Aces & Adventures takes two very simple and well-trodden concepts – poker and card-based combat – and marries them into one unique, well-thought-out system. In combat, a poker move makes the basis of your attack. You can play a single card, a pair, a flush or any valid Poker hand. And unless your opponent can match or beat your hand, they’ll take damage. If their played hand is more powerful, however, it’ll be you that takes damage instead.
Making matters more complex and inventive is a growing hand of attack and defence cards. You might have a card that can wipe out any opponent with less than 4HP in one swift move. Or perhaps you might heal, or lower your opponent’s defences. It’s these cards that truly make Aces & Adventures‘ battle system unique, particularly considering that each one has a cost. For example, to heal, you need to have two heart cards in your hand. Don’t have any hearts? Then you can’t heal.
It means that every battle has a mixture of luck and skill to it. Your luck depends on what cards you draw; just like poker, it’s entirely random what you might hold in your hand. But knowing what hands to play and what to keep, and how to best use your attack/defence cards requires some skill. You’ll learn more about Aces & Adventures as you play, as every encounter is a learning curve. Death might come all too easily to begin with. But keep practicing, and walking away with victory will soon become second nature.
Related: The Best Games Like Slay the Spire
While combat is the main event of Aces & Adventures, it’s delivered in a well-presented package. Cards tell a story, with pleasant narration reading it out to you as you go. You’ll come across events where choices need to be made, and those choices can shape your journey. Take a risk, and it could all come crashing down as you meet your early demise. But it could also go in your favour, showering you with valuable skill cards or abilities that can change your fate in combat.
There’s also a range of characters to choose from, each with their own hand of cards to collect and unique abilities. You’ll begin with a Warrior, but a Rogue, Mage, Hunter and Enchantress will unlock piecemeal as you progress through the game. We’ve tried the Warrior and the Rogue so far, both bringing their own personalities to the table. You’ll likely have your favourites, but it’s worth trying them all to see which hands of cards work best for you.
Aces & Adventures isn’t out until early 2023, but from the brief taste we’d had of it so far, it’s safe to say that this is one to watch for fans of deck-building games. Combining poker with deck building feels natural and obvious, and we’re surprised we’ve not seen more of it – it works very well. And we’re looking forward to seeing where else this card-based adventure will take us.