Omiya Soft's twenty year old board game / RPG hybrid is still going strong. Culdcept Revolt is the latest iteration of the franchise but does it offer enough enjoyable gameplay to please both board game and JRPG fans?
To be honest, I've never played a Culdcept game before. However, after playing Culdcept Revolt, I can see that I've been missing out on an addictive blend of Monopoly and RPG. For the uninitiated, you basically traverse a board that features elemental squares. When you land on a square, you can place a monster. If that monster's element matches the square then it becomes more powerful. If an opponent lands on your monster then they have to pay you some G and you can level up your monsters which acts the same as buying houses and hotels in Monopoly. On top of this, you have a selection of cards that consist of monsters, miscellaneous abilities, and equipment that you can use when a battle is initiated. These battles are simple and basically allow players to take over an occupied space if they manage to beat the monster residing on it. The boards are cleverly designed and you have to change up your strategy depending on their layout. It all comes together to make a satisfying and often thrilling dynamic.
Culdcept Revolt features retro visuals that reminded me a lot of the original PlayStation era of JRPGs such as Final Fantasy Tactics. The detailed yet small character sprites, 3D boards, and hand-drawn character art all look great. To accompany the visuals, you're treated to a lovely orchestral soundtrack and immediately gratifying audio effects including deep-voiced announcers that regularly add impact to unfolding events. Although the graphics and sound are certainly well done, I couldn't get into the story. It's your stereotypical hero with amnesia who joins an underground organisation sort of narrative and it comes across as tacked-on and unnecessary.
Considering the gameplay featured in Culdcept Revolt is so enjoyable, it's great that you can play it multiplayer either locally or online. Unfortunately, there is no Download Play functionality so each player will need a copy of the game. Also, I couldn't find anyone online to play against. It mentions that you can "play with others across the country" so maybe no one in Canada is playing this yet? Whatever the case, it's fantastic that online multiplayer is available and I look forward to trying it out soon (hopefully).
One aspect of Culdcept Revolt that I found to be more of a pain than fun is its book customization feature. Basically, you can choose which cards you take into battle. Seeing as you're constantly growing your collection of cards, having to optimize your deck becomes more time consuming than you'd think. Carefully going through pages of cards and selecting 50 of them is cumbersome and tedious. I wish there was an option to have the game automatically fill your deck with preset options such as "balanced" or "focus on fire element" as that would have made this component much easier to deal with. Finally, I found the fact that you can't skip opponents' turns to make matches last much longer than they should. These battles can last a very long time so being able to skip watching opponents pick cards, level their stuff up, battle each other, and such would have helped make the matches more exciting.
Even with its faults, Culdcept Revolt is one of the most addictive 3DS games that I've ever played. If you're a fan of Monopoly and JRPGs then this is a game that you need to add to your collection.
- + Addictive blend of board game, card combat, and RPG elements
- + Features local and online multiplayer
- + Satisfying audio and cool retro visuals
- - Customizing your book of cards is cumbersome and too time consuming
- - Inability to skip opponents' turns
- - Story seems tacked on and unnecessary