What is one to do when you are bored and don’t have access to a real video game? Back in the day, the answer to that question was to kill some time on Windows Solitaire. There was Minesweeper too but I avoided it like the plague, as I seem to have a knack for clicking on explosives. Besides, playing excessive amounts of Minesweeper is probably a bad idea. Certain curmudgeons argue that playing violent video games can turn you into a homicidal maniac. Using that logic, playing Minesweeper could turn me into a terrorist bomber! I’d rather not don a vest strapped with TNT so given the choice I’ll stick with Solitaire… or I would had I not recently discovered a better card time waster on the iPad.
Card Crawl is an inexpensive Apps Store download created by Arnold Rauers. The game uses a fifty-four-card deck to simulate the adventures of a knight who is battling their way through a monster-infested dungeon. Each suit represents a monster, coinage, weapon, shield or health restorative potion. Shuffled into the deck are also five random ability cards that activate special effects, which can save you from a bind or earn you extra money. Amassing cash is important because the aim of the game is to survive the dungeon’s perils and procure the most wealth possible in the process. The amount of currency earned acts as your high score and can be used to purchase new ability cards.
Playing the game is fairly straightforward. At the start of each turn the dealer (who happens to be a beer swilling ogre) places four cards on the table. Your objective is to remove three of those cards, which will force the alcoholic fiend to deal out three replacements. The cycle continues until either the deck is exhausted or the player perishes. Cards representing weapons, shields, abilities or treasure can be sold, equipped on a free hand or placed in your backpack. Removing a monster is a little trickier however. Beasts will remain in play until you either slay them or make them attack the knight. The latter is usually unavoidable and will cost you some precious health points.
How much damage a creature deals is printed on their card, with values ranging from two to nine. The number on the card also signifies the enemy’s health, so hitting a four-ranked monster with a five-ranked blade would kill it. Whacking an eight-ranked foe with a two-ranked sword would reduce its health/damage to six and so on. In a similar fashion the number found on a treasure card reveals how much gold it is worth, the value of a shield card reveals how much harm it nullifies and the figure displayed on a potion card indicates how much health it restores. Hmmm. Does this mean than chugging down a can of 7-UP would give me seven life points back? Not sure, I would have to ask Cool Spot.
My rating for Card Crawl is four stars. It’s an ideal time waster for anyone who likes single player card games, especially if they are of a geeky swords n sorcery persuasion. The game can be enjoyed in brief bursts, as each run only takes a few minutes to complete, whilst still having enough features to keep you coming back for more. Grinding enough gold to unlock all the ability cards should keep most players occupied for a while and once that is done there are quests to tackle, user made levels to sample and daily leaderboards for anyone who likes posting high scores. My only complaint with the game is that it isn’t bundled with Microsoft’s OS. When bored at the office I’d rather play this over Solitaire. Hope my boss doesn’t read this!