The Vaults

by Daniel Duarte

2021

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
A F2P-mobile app-style fantasy card game with a variety of quests , October 3, 2021
by MathBrush
Related reviews: more than 10 hours

One of the games I've put the most hours to in the last few years is a lesser-known Hearthstone clone called Plants vs Zombies Heroes. It's the only card game app I've played, but it has a lot of features in common (I've heard) with the other big ones like Hearthstone.

So that's my basis of comparison.

This is an Online unity game. The download is a webpage with a redirect to the online play. Starting play has a lot of download bars as various things load. It has an opening movie cinematic with voice acting. After that, there is something of a tutorial, and then it opens up.

The main idea is that you open packs that contain cards or gold or other things, then you assemble a deck. You then play different levels or (eventually, but not now, I think) PvP. During gameplay, you have three keepers that generate points to buy cards with or attack (but not both). Keepers that get to 0 hp are taken out of play, same as for enemies.

Overall, this game is, to me, a mismatch for the comp. The spirit of the competition has generally been that you provide a complete gaming experience which can be archived and stay free forever, with possibly a better version released later for money (like Scarlet Sails). The two hour rule is there to encourage games to be substantially completable in two hours.

Neither rule is hard or fast; there have been games in the past which could not be archived (like Paradise, a text MMO game that was like a reinvented MUD) and the winners each year tend to take over two hours. But it's a bit odd to see a game like this which has different quests which can only be played once every 28 days (!) and has a cash shop with items up to $10.99 (none of which seem to be needed for progression).

I played the first two levels of the main game, but it seemed like GUI-based combat is the main thrust of the game with little text. Compared to Jared Jackson's Tragic from last year, it has much less of a strong storyline).

I don't generally include UI in reviewing, but it's an important part of this game. This UI could use a lot of tweaking; it popped up for me far too large for the screen. I think it told me to use CTRL+'-' and CTRL+'+' to adjust it, but I couldn't tell because I couldn't see. When I did get it to fit, it was usually too small to see, in a small rectangle with a blank white border around it. When opening packs, you had to slide a key from left to right. The interaction felt off; I think it was missing some kind of subtle highlighting when hovering over the key or inertia when sliding it. And you had to repeat it 30+ times in a row, making it kind of slow. The tutorial explains stats, but in-combat it's hard to remember; having hovering tool tips would be better.

Overall, this feels like an open beta for a commercial F2P/IAP game, which is why I provided the feedback above.

For my IF ratings:
-Polish: The game could use some tinkering with, as described above. I saw a couple typos, too, in the main story text, but I can't remember where.
-Descriptiveness: Most of the 'flavor' is communicated through images rather than text.
-Interactivity: It was difficult to figure out combat; all the mechanics were thrown at once instead of introduced one at a time, and complex opening and deck-creating had to be done before fighting. I prefer the tutorial of PVZ heroes, which has ultra-simplified combat happening first with a pre-made deck, then slightly more complex battle, then adding just a few cards to your pre-made deck.
-Emotional impact: I was too lost to get deeply involved in the story.
-Would I play again? Not without significant changes.

The scale I use doesn't really apply to this game; as a card game I'd probably give it 3/5. But I'll use my IF scale on this website for consistency.

Note that this was just my personal experience; others may have wildly different reactions to the game!


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thevaults, October 17, 2021 - Reply
Thanks for your review! I went ahead and did a bunch of the stuff you had mentioned, fixed some spelling mistakes, I believe the Key Chest glow is working on desktop versions but WEBGL is giving me some issues, I am going to add an open all chests option to see if that helps with having to open them all up at once. Fixed an issue with the codex creator as well, and made it so that the cards will be added automatically there so that no mad clicking needs to be done, just rename (if so choose) and save.

The tutorial is being redone! I am trying to make it short and concise, Still working on the game tutorial overhaul but i will be trying more of a step by step ease in rather than an all at once BLAAAAAAA.

Again, thanks for your input!, it is truly helpful to hear feedback as it is just me making this game and can be hard to spot things like this being the creator.
MathBrush, October 17, 2021 - Reply
That sounds great! I'm really impressed.
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