Game: Voice of Cards: The Isle Dragon Roars
Genre: Deck Builder, Action, Adventure, RPG, Strategy
System: Steam (Windows), (also available for Switch and PlayStation)
Developer|Publisher: Square Enix
Age Rating: EU 7+ | US Teen
Price: US $29.99 | UK £24.99 | EU € 29,99
Release Date: October 28th, 2021
No review code was used, I purchased the game myself.
I’m always up for trying a brand new game from Yoko Taro, so when a card JRPG was announced, I was already excited for the title to come out. It’s a blending of genres that makes for an interesting game; Voice of Cards is a unique game that pulls on its Japanese role-playing roots to deliver an old-school experience.
Voice of Cards is all about a wanna-be hero, out to kill a dragon at the Queen’s request. Our intrepid hero, his travelling companion and monster Mar, and a witch named Melanie group up to take on the biggest and meanest enemy they have ever fought.
Following rumours of the Dragon’s location, players have to battle against random encounters, uncover the map, upgrade equipment, and chat with townspeople to get where they need to go. They pick up new companions along the way as they make their way across the continent in search of adventure, treasure, and excitement.
Our heroes are betrayed and defeated many times, but they will rise like a phoenix from the ashes every time and come out on top no matter the odds. Voice of Cards follows every basic beat of the Hero’s Journey storyline, and the story is fairly straightforward. There are no twists that players won’t see coming, but it is still a fulfilling little heroic tale.
Playing Voice of Cards: The Isle Dragon Roars isn’t a difficult thing; players interact with NPCs and the surrounding area. Almost all of the controls require a mouse, and only a few keys are needed. There is partial controller support for the game, but it seems to be mostly for the in-game card game.
While simple, Voice of Cards has a lot of interesting things to do in it. You can interact with NPCs, battle in random encounters, play cards with other NPCs or your friends, collect treasures, and do all the other things players might expect from a JRPG.
One thing that is incredibly important to note: if you are in search of a card game, Voice of Cards is not a card game. Everything inside the imaginary world is made of cards, but it bears little resemblance to any card games you might be familiar with. While Slay the Spire, Inscryption, and other modern card games give players expectations with modern card games, Voice of Cards breaks all these rules. It follows the rules of JRPGs and RPGs much more closely than that of any card game out there.
That being said, what is there feels very much like a classic JRPG with a style upgrade. The music is beautiful and fits the feel of the game and the graphics are amazing. The world is kind of a generic fantasy world without much of a history of backstory, making it reminiscent of the places you came across in Final Fantasy 1 and other very old RPGs. The combat is basic, the characters RPG stereotypes, and the monster enemies are not particularly creative.
Combat is turn-based, as anyone who loves old JRPGs would assume it should be in Voice of Cards. Player cards each have a unique deck of attacks, healing magic, and other buffs and debuffs. Each has a casting cost in gems.
Players are limited by the number of gems available in a given turn; gems are like stamina for how much time that character has time to cast in that turn. Basic attacks can take no gems or one gem, and very strong attacks that hit multiple enemies or do elemental damage might cost two or three gems. Each turn, a gem is created.
But the most JRPG thing it does is give direction to the player through NPC dialogue. Some places on the map are only described by an NPC in a conversation that might not seem important at the time. It gives just a hint of what ancient JRPGs might look like reimagined with amazing graphics by a AAA game developer.
The Pros of Voice of Cards
Voice of Cards is a stunning piece of artwork. A world completely made of cards is a clever twist on a classic JRPG, and there was a lot of love put into every aspect of the game. The animations are gorgeous, the artwork is beautiful, and the gameplay is fun. Anyone who is a fan of old-school JRPGs will dig this title.
The game features tons of collectable items, loads of playable characters, and tons of stuff to do. While the game is only about 15 hours for one playthrough. There is a New Game Plus with new content and several endings that players will want to experience.
As this is a Yoko Taro game, players will also be able to find other hidden references to other games in the Taro-verse. There are several Nier characters that show up hidden in the deck that makes up this weird and wonderful world. While not a traditional collect-a-thon, there’s no shortage of hidden items and collectables to find.
Voice of Cards features some of the most wonderful sound designs I’ve ever experienced in a game. The music is brilliant. The animations all have wonderful sound effects, and the narrator is on point throughout the whole game. Anyone playing this will want some headphones to really feel the whole experience of the sound in the game.
The Cons of Voice of Cards
As beautiful and creative and fun as this game is, it is a little disappointing. The story is a little generic, the in-game card game is boring and contrived, and the characters are bland as well. It feels like the game is missing something or is incomplete. It’s a big price tag for a 15-hour game, and anyone playing this title through once will probably be disappointed with their investment.
I think the biggest disappointment is the in-game card game. Players basically play an altered version of Go Fish, collecting pairs and straights of cards to try and get the largest number of points. The basic version of the game is so boring that players won’t want to do it more than two or three times, regardless of the prize.
There are upgraded versions of the game, but the added difficulty doesn’t add anything meaningful. There are skills that can be added to the game as well as random events. Both feel so random that players can’t win through skill. It feels like 100% luck at this point, and it removes any fun players might have had if it were less random.
Overall, the game is unique and fun. It’s pretty, it’s short, and its sound design is amazing. The cards are gorgeous, the characters are well-drawn with fun costumes. Players will have fun for all 15 hours of this JRPG.
That being said, the game was a bit of a letdown in the price department. Had the game been $10 USD cheaper, I would have hailed it as a great achievement and a fabulous JRPG for anyone who loves them. However, it just doesn’t feel like a $30 game to me.
I would recommend this game to anyone who loves old-school RPGs with beautiful graphics and loves to replay games to complete all the content.
Final Verdict: I Like it a Lot.