hot  /  reviews  /  video  /  blogs  /  forum

Rad roguelike: Cardinal Quest is cheap and awesome

3:45 PM on 08.24.2011 // Joseph Leray

A few years ago, one of my best friends bought Baroque, an Atlus-published roguelike, after I turned him onto Persona 3. It didn't go well: lured by the Atlus name and the misconception that Baroque was another RPG, he wasn't ready for the strictures of perma-death.

Roguelikes are unabashedly brutal, but I think the bait-and-switch is part of the frustration. How many people bought Shiren the Wanderer or, to a lesser extent, Demon's Souls only to get crushed underfoot?

Enter Cardinal Quest, the goodwill ambassador for the entire genre. Ido Yehieli's tile-based dungeon-crawl isn't any less punishing -- I died four times in quick succession -- but it's packed with elegant, streamlined ideas that do much to lower the barriers to entry.

Por ejemplo: items are automagically equipped and obviously weaker weapons and armor are instantly converted into cash. Pick up a dupe and your hero says, "I don't need this": boom, that's three gold coins. It also sports a "lives" system -- the more you play, the more deaths you can suffer before dying permanently.

There are three different classes with which to crawl Cardinal's randomly generated dungeons, though the skills -- which you find lying on the floor -- seem interchangeable. My most durable thief build could throw fireballs, heal himself, and charm enemies. My favorite thing about playing the thief was his footspeed: since cooldown times are measured by steps taken, I could scamper away (invisibly, natch), load up another round of fireballs, and blast my way through legions of bandits, succubi, and kobolden.

Failing that, he had a huge axe.

You can play a substantial, three-dungeon demo on Yehieli's site -- that's what I've been doing all morning -- and the full version is available for $4.45 through BMTMicro or FastSpring, though Rock, Paper, Shotgun are reporting that he's exploring other digital platforms.

Cardinal's Quest isn't as demanding as traditional dungeon-crawlers and plays a bit like baby's first roguelike, but whatever -- it's slickly designed, the music is rad, and it's a competent class-based RPG that manages to stay dynamic without being weighed down by clunky mechanics.

You can play a demo here and read RPS' Adam Smith's much funnier account of Cardinal's Quest here.

Virtuous: Cardinal's Quest [Rock, Paper, Shotgun]




 Reblog (or) Blog Reply

Joseph Leray, Former Features Contributor
 Follow Blog + disclosure Tips
Joseph Leray is a long-time features contributor, reviewer, and (self-styled) editor-at-large for Destructoid. He lives in Nashville with a menagerie of pets and a Final Fantasy IX obsession. more   |   staff directory

Get more destructoid:   We're indie-run, blogging for the love of it, and our site will always be free. Optionally, you can support us and get: (1) Faster pages from our cloud server (3) Wide(r)screen (3) No big ads on Dtoid, Japanator, Tomopop, or Flixist (4) Auto contest entries, and (5) Dibs on betas & downloads. Try it out

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.


  Around the web (login to improve these)




Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter?
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -