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Game review: Inscryption (Xbox Series X)
Fri, 12th May 2023

Inscryption is a roguelike card game that was first released for the PC platform back in October 2021. Throughout the years, the game has been ported to other systems such as Mac, Nintendo Switch and the PlayStation consoles. For some reason, the Xbox is the last system to finally get a port of this game this year.

The roguelike genre is something that I have a patchy history with. The most famous roguelike game that I have ever played was the then-PS5 exclusive Returnal. If you’ve never heard of the roguelike genre before, let’s just say it’s a style of game where you have to start from the beginning all over again.

In modern times, most video games these days have save points or checkpoints so that you can continue where you left off. In Returnal, you have to play the entire video game all over again if you die or even turn off your console!

Well, this is the same deal when you play Inscryption too. If you don’t get far enough and lose a card battle, you have to start the game all over again without any assistance or checkpoints whatsoever. I understand some people like the thrill of this challenge, but I have always hated this gaming gimmick.

I grew up playing games in the mid-’90s, thanks to the popularity of the PSOne console at the time. I didn’t experience the difficulty of 2D sidescrollers, where checkpoints and lives were stingy at best. This is why I did not have a fun time playing Inscryption at all.

That being said, Inscryption does feature a simple-to-follow rule book where you have to beat your opponent using a deck of cards. You usually have to strike your opponent five or more times until they “die” to beat the game. However, you cannot simply attack all of the time because you will need the right cards to do it.

To make this game a bit more challenging for the player, powerful cards need to have sacrifices before you are able to place them on the playing table. For example, in order to summon a wolf, you need to sacrifice two animal cards. You usually need to kill off an abundance of squirrel cards before you can place a wolf or other type of predator animal.

There are times in the game when the playing table changes, and you can earn some perks for your cards. One time I was able to summon my cards so that they could fly over the table to attack my opponent directly. This was really helpful because you usually need to go through three rows of cards before you can damage your opponent from the other side.

Even though Inscryption is mostly a card game, this does not mean that the game is very short. Inscryption has mini-bosses, a story and some other gaming elements that make it stand out from other card-building games. Not to mention the game is quite long because it will take you an average of over 12 hours to complete it!

Since Inscryption is mostly a card game, visually, the game won’t push the boundaries of the Xbox Series X’s console hardware. The visuals are mostly dark, and you’re just looking at a deck of cards for the majority of the gameplay. That being said, the visuals don’t have to be pretty since this is a small indie game, after all.

Overall, Inscryption is a challenging game with an interesting story and engaging gameplay. The roguelike gameplay and uninteresting visuals are the only major flaws of this game. If you don’t mind trying and trying again, you may find some enjoyment playing Inscryption.

Verdict: 7.0/10