Neurodeck Gameplay Preview – Roguelike deckbuilder where you fight phobias

Developed by TavroxGames, published by Goblinz Publishing, Maple Whispering Limited – March 18, 2021 (Switch, PC)
*MSRP: $13.99 – https://store.steampowered.com/app/1253860/Neurodeck__Psychological_Deckbuilder/

Neurodeck is a roguelike deckbuilder where you fight phobias that manifest as monsters. There is some fun to be had with the core game play but the game’s handling of psychological matters seem pretty shallow and miss the mark in my opinion. It doesn’t take away from the core mechanics since they are solid, but it does make the game feel a bit weaker overall.

Neurodeck streamlines a lot of mechanics in favor of fast combat and it works fairly well.

At the core of Neurodeck is a competent deckbuilding game. It has an interesting take on card combat mechanics and simplifies a lot of things to make combat fast paced. You have three action points and most cards and actions will take one action point. Your turn will end automatically once you use up all your action points.

You also have two health meters, stamina and sanity. When both reach zero, the run will end and you will have to start anew. Stamina is the currency you use to play cards. Each card will have the stamina cost in the upper left hand corner. Enemies will usually attack both but their most devastating attacks will usually drain your sanity.

Cards can replenish both stamina and sanity. You can also strategically end your turn early to regain stamina as well. You can spend one action point and stamina to draw an additional card. The system is pretty intuitive and easy to learn and get into.

You can pick which manifestation to fight before combat, some are harder than others depending on your deck.

The combat against the manifestations can get quite challenging. Each manifestation has only a few attacks and they cycle through them making the attack pattern quite predictable. This is not a negative because the attacks are quite devastating. For example, the spider will have one attack that will just damage stamina and sanity. Another creature will attack the first turn, block damage the following two turns, and the unleash a high damage attack the fourth. The key to defeating each phobia is to recognize the attack pattern and deal with them accordingly. For the second creature mentioned above, it’s best to heal up during the two block phases and save your damage cards to unleash on the fourth turn.

Events will make combat easier by upgrading or unlocking new cards and passive bonuses.

To further aid you in fighting these phobias, there are random events where you can unlock new cards, remove cards from your deck, unlock traits which provide passive bonuses, upgrade cards, and permanently unlock new cards for future runs.

I am neither thank you. These game play mechanics feel insincere when trying to be “psychological”.

Overall, Neurodeck is a solid deckbuilder although the psychological themes are incredibly shallow and misguided. Pizza is incredible but you can’t solve all of life’s problems and hardships with pizza. I wish that were the case. There is still definitely some fun to be had with the core of the game though.

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