I have a soft spot for trading card games. I still occasionally collect Pokemon Trading cards, I still play Hearthstone daily, I still have some Magic cards and I even own a pile of Eye of Judgement decks. I do also love some brutal rogue-like games such as FTL and some Oregon Trail style games (look see here!) If you’ve followed the site for any length of time you’ll know I love to play in Beta experiences to get the jist of a game and dive into a developers dream for a new experience. Now that I’ve spoken all about how I’m the future prophet and the chosen one of all video games writing, a trip into the wastes to humble myself is definitely on the cards. I just hope my followers don’t resort to cannibalism.
Diving into Nowhere Prophet the first thing to get to grips with is the aesthetic and I recon it’s definitely a love or hate marmite style. The animated intro feels a little unpolished but the design of what it’s trying to show and the story it’s trying to tell is all together incredibly interesting. It’s only when you get into the main game you realise that the intro is the aesthetic throughout everything with bright bold colours muted to give mustard yellows and bright blues which both blend in naturally and stand out from the dirt and wastes at the same time. Sometimes the visuals look a little rushed but when it works it comes together really well. That being said the game is still in its Beta so we’ll see how it holds in future levels. All of the text is easy to read and the UI is a terrific way of not only showing the current status of your deck of followers but also your stats and what’s next to do. It personalizes the cards you’ll be playing throughout the game.
The gameplay is split up into 2 parts. Firstly you click across a map travelling Oregon trail style using resources and deciding how your convoy and character reacts to situations. The combat for Nowhere Prophet is a tactical card game that feels a little like Elder Scrolls: Legends and Scrolls had a baby and then dumped it in radioactive wastes with a robot nanny and a deformed beast that somehow managed to link it into a dying satellite. It’s good. The controls are well made and hovering over any unit/card/effect will give a clear explanation of what the effects/items/objects do. Any unit can attack a leader after it’s refreshed (think summoning sickness) but the row and cover systems mean that you cannot attack another minion if they are behind cover. If one minion has taunt that needs to die before you can attack a leader to. The kicker is that damage between battles carries over for both you and your followers/cards and getting out of old habits of trading followers and managing your one objective for a swift kill without any deaths is intriguing. Sure you can use a taunt minion to survive an attack but if it’s wiped out of combat twice, that’s it. It’s dead and gone for good.
Nowhere Prophet is the best kind of survival sim game. While exploring the wastes you need to manage your leader, followers, food, faith, cargo and items but nothing feels too overbearing (even on any difficulty). You’re much more likely to be killed in combat in the early level than running out of food and resources. You’ll find yourself prioritizing exploring for more resources and better followers if you’ve a healthy legion of followers rather than traveling to a medic to heal them or a camp to share luxury goods to boost faith. The best thing is that unlike most survival games where you’ll be bashed over the head with explanations or thrown out with no idea what the hell is going on, Nowhere Prophet does a great job of explaining in a way that doesn’t feel overwhelming or too hand holdy.
There’s already plenty of content to be had so far in the Beta and the hints at daily challenges, extra starting decks, prophets and setups that are ‘coming soon’ bode well. Nowhere Prophet is so far the best kind of “one more run” experiences that the best rogue-likes have. The combat can be a little brutal and the optional final boss at the end of the map is (at the time of writing) incredibly difficult and overpowered. Regardless of this the first map and getting to the end point was pretty damn fun. Annoyingly the music is largely throwaway background noise so far with the occasional note thrown in for good measure, which is a bit of a downer given how the sounds all feel suitably crunchy and impacting.
It’s strange for a deck building card game to mix up so many tropes and still feel unique but Nowhere Prophet (so far from this beta) succeeds where so many others fail. It feels like the team took the best moments of travelling from FTL, shuffled in some of the best The Elder Scrolls: Legends cards and painted it all with an instantly recognisable amazingly interesting cybertropic wasteland of brilliance. Lets hope the main game lives up to its potential because the start was something special.
Nowhere Prophet’s planned release date is Summer 2019 and you can check out its Steam page here https://store.steampowered.com/app/681730/Nowhere_Prophet/
*Code for Beta provided by No More Robots check them out here*
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