App Reviewed on: iPhone XR
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There are A TON of roguelite deck-building games on the App Store these days. Meteorfall, Pirates Outlaws, Card Crusade, Spellsword Cards: Origins—the list goes on and on. Void Tyrant is one more game to add to this ever-expanding list, but it’s one you’ll really want to pay attention to. It’s full of so many inventive, unique ideas, plus tons of unlocks and replay hooks that make it a stellar mobile game you'll want to keep on your phone for a good long time.
Void Tyrant’s flavor of card-based dungeon-crawling has its roots in Blackjack. When facing off against an enemy, you draw cards (numbered 1-6) off the top of a deck in hopes of getting as close to twelve without going over. Whoever has the highest number after both parties stand gets to attack.
While this sounds simple, Void Tyrant layers a bunch of nuanced systems on top of this basic combat premise to make the whole thing feel really dynamic and strategic. If your foe already has a high number you don’t think you can reach, for example, you can stand to defend yourself and take reduced damage. As a deck-builder, you also have control over a separate deck of cards full of abilities, gear, and consumables that you can spend “energy” on to influence the outcome of each round.
Gamblin’ and ramblin’
Each run of Void Tyrant begins with you picking a class, which determines your starting deck of ability cards. When you first start the game, you can only play as a Knight, which is a class focused on melee damage and defense. As you play the game, you can unlock two new classes, not to mention a whole lot of other starting cards, equipment, and more.
The general structure of Void Tyrant has you trying to fight your way through four different dungeons before facing off against Wruut, the titular Void Tyrant himself. Thanks to a healthy amount of procedural generation, there’s so much variety between any two runs that none of them ever really feel the same. There are branching dungeon paths, randomized treasure and events, traps, side quests, and more to uncover each and every time you play.
All of this randomization does come with slight cost, though. Some runs in Void Tyrant can feel way harder than others thanks to some unlucky draws or useless equipment finds. There’s also times where you’ll come upon an event so early that you can’t really do anything with it yet. I wish Void Tyrant was a little smarter with how it handled some of this randomness when you first start the game, but it ends up adding so much variety to the endgame that it's worth putting up with.
The tyranny of time
There’s a ton of stuff packed into Void Tyrant, which is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, you’ll always have something to look forward to the next time you fire up the game. On the other, it can sometimes feel like you’re on an endless grind for stuff that will finally let you beat the game.
Void Tyrant has a lengthy progression system, which involves a town management gameplay layer where you spend Guildins (the game’s currency) on buildings and upgrades. All of these unlocks grant increasingly powerful cards and starting abilities that make it easier to get further into subsequent runs.
Systems like this are nothing new, but in Void Tyrant, the path to unlocking everything you want feels inflated to prop up its monetization system. That said, the game's monetization is more than fair. If you spend $4.99 on a one-time in-app purchase, you turn Void Tyrant into a completely premium experience (i.e. no ads, no other IAPs) that increases your Guildins intake to something that feels completely reasonable. My advice is to make the purchase ASAP if you like what you try in the free version. It's totally worth it to spend a few bucks to avoid burning out on the free-to-play grind.
The bottom line
Void Tyrant isn't quite a perfect game, but I adore it nonetheless. There are so many amazing, smart, and creative things in this game that I've never seen in a card-based roguelite before that I don't care that some runs can feel random or oddly paced. There's always a next time to look forward to in Void Tyrant, and that's the greatest thing about it.