Runespell: Overture

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Runespell: Overture on Steam (demo available)

MSRP: $9.99

Platforms: Windows, iOS

Release: 7/20/11


Lately, I’ve been drawn to games that mix genres in new and interesting ways. I’m still dabbling in Rollers of the Realm, and today I started playing around with Runespell: Overture.  Which is what you get when you combine poker, Yahtzee, and spice it up with a RPG-style storyline and just a whisper of a collectible card game.  It’s an odd combination, and it works well enough, although I’d be hard pressed to point to a single thing it actually excels at.

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You, the amnesiac main character, for all intents and purposes, comes into being in the middle of nowhere.  Before you know it – you’re running into creatures that want to kill you for no real reason, and you’re given several levels of tutorial, where you’re taught how combat works, and to be clear, combat is the meat of this game.

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The goal is to create groupings of five cards which make the best poker hands for maximum damage.  You get three moves per turn, and you can use those to move one of your cards or stacks of cards, steal a face up un-grouped card from your opponent’s board, use a completed five card hand to attack, or – as the game progresses – use one of your active abilities.  It might sound overwhelming, but if you’re at all familiar with poker, you’ll be able to pick it up fairly quickly.

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There is an included “Poker Help” menu which will show you types of hands and how much damage each will do if you’re a little rusty. The tutorial does a fairly decent, if slightly tedious, job of introducing you to all the main concepts in the game before starting to send you out on quests, which mostly involve going places and battling.  Sure, there’s a story trying to hold it all together, but this isn’t a game you’re playing for the story – you’re here for the unique mechanics.

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Although it’ll take about 10 hours to get through the story, I don’t really feel like this is a $10 title.  Luckily, it’s available with 7 other games for only $2.99 on Bundle Stars, and for that price, it’s absolutely worth checking out.

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