Slay the Spire but Anime (and Worse)
Neoverse is an anime-inspired take on the deck-building Rogue-like genre. Featuring bland 3D graphics with stiff animations, forgettable music, and a convoluted UI the gameplay is both too simple and somehow too convoluted for this game to keep up with the big boys of the genre.
Released in December of 2020 and available on Console and PC Game Pass Neoverse was developed by TINO Games. It appears to be their first game based on everything I could find about them online. While not a great entry by any means they have put together something that is worth checking out if you are a fan of the genre. There is pretty much no story outside of “things have gone bad, travel through time to fix it”. That’s all you get at the start and there is nothing more after the comically bad “You have won” end screen.
There are three main characters to choose from for each run. First up is Agent Naya who focuses on guns with her initial deck. You will quickly unlock other decks but they didn’t feel that different and only affected the first few fights. Second up is Paladin Claire. Her initial deck focuses on gaining large armor pools and healing herself constantly. Fights with her take a while but I won the game and its 10 fights on my first run with her. Finally is Summoner Helena. As her name implies she creates “Guardians” these are creatures she can command to help her in battle either offensive or defensively.
None of it ends up feeling very balanced. Paladin Claire’s healing focused deck was able to easily push through multiple difficulty levels with only one time where I went under 10 HP.
What is the Opposite of Balance? Neoverse!
The systems works similar to something like Slay the Spire or Monster Train. Your character has an overall HP pool that leads to game over when it reaches zero. Cards have a set energy cost and you begin combat with 5 energy points. The deck choice at the beginning of each run mainly controls which style of card you have the most of to begin. Throughout the run all cards you have unlocked will be available no matter what your initial choice was. One of the main issues I had with the game is just how long combat can take. My 2nd run of the game using Claire took just under an hour to complete. One of the main draws in a game like this is the easy pickup and play nature of “just one more run”. When they can take over an hour that is greatly lessened.
There is an item shop that offers up cards and use items at any time. You earn coins throughout your run and will constantly be purchasing various items. After each successful level you will choose from 1 to 3 paths that have their own difficulty and rewards. A successful run is 10 levels long, and some of the mobs heal themselves so constantly that a single fight can take 15 minutes or more.
A 3D Deck-Builder! With Animations from the Mid early 00’s…
The graphics are fully 3D, which is not the norm for this type of game. Unfortunately, they feature mobile-phone level character designs and early 2000’s animations. Music is equally as low quality. It is not offensive in any way but there is nothing memorable about it.
By far my biggest issue with this game is that it ends up feeling tedious. There is a “combo” system that requires you to use cards that match the various color types that denote what type of card it is. Red is damage, blue is defense, purple are instant casts, and yellow are constant buffs. This invariably leads to the mindless matching of colors to gain these combo points which give you double damage on your next attack. The lack of balance just killed things for me in the long run. Too often enemies had the ability to fill my hand with useless debuff cards and I routinely didn’t have a single positive card to use on my turn.
In a Sad Conclusion
In conclusion, Neoverse is not great in any way, nor is it good in most. There are some decent ideas however and I am interested to see what comes next from this developer in the hopes that they match their execution with their ambition. Neoverse is available on Xbox One, Series X|S, and Windows 10 PC. It is also available on Game Pass for Console and PC.
Reviewed on Windows 10 PC and Xbox Series X