Cardinal Quest


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DoraCardinal QuestIdo Yeheili's Cardinal Quest is a roguelike RPG that hearkens back to a time when games were simpler, more addictive, and all-around more pixelly. Choose from three different classes, each with their own abilities, and descend into a deep dungeon to hunt for the wicked Minotaur, find treasure, and get stabbed, poisoned, fireball'ed, and otherwise maimed a whole lot. Just use the [WASD], [arrow] keys, or the mouse to move around and interact with things. Combat is handled simply by bumping into an enemy to attack them physically, turn-based style, and certain skills can be used when they're available with the click of the mouse or a number hotkey. Vanquish enemies to get stronger and level up, and plunder treasure chests for potions and more powerful equipment. Just don't go all whacking things willy nilly, since once you bite the dust, it's game over unless you have an extra life. This ain't the Mushroom Kingdom, son. We do things differently 'round here.

Cardinal Quest is a great looking little game whose lovely retro look and simplified controls will win it supporters from both the nostalgic and casual camps, and as a simple roguelike it's remarkably addictive. As a roguelike, however, it definitely feels like the word "lite" should be tacked onto the end of that descriptor, since there isn't really much of the heavy customisation and wide amount of variety fans of the genre tend to look forward to. Despite not holding many surprises, however, Cardinal Quest excells remarkably well at being the sort of game that will effortlessly fill whatever time you want it to, and then leave you blinking at the clock in astonishment when you realise you had those pesky social and physical obligations to tend to hours ago.

While hardcore fans of the genre might not get the deep complexity they were hoping for, most everyone else will find an easily accessible and engaging little title that's just the right size for a heroic adventure or three. If you really like the game, you might consider buying the "standalone" version from the official site, which has no ads and is both playable in full screen and destined for further updates, or at least check out the developer blog to learn more about the upcoming sequel. In the meantime, however, if you're looking for something that will scratch that "I want a game that will mercilessly kill me over and over, but at least look pretty doing it" itch, you should probably give Cardinal Quest a try.

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7 Comments

It seems I can't follow my character around, the first setting is stuck there and I can only follow him through the map. Not fun...

[Not really sure what you're describing here. "the first setting" of what, specifically? The map? Just click on the "Map" icon again (or type "M") to hide it. -Jay]

Great game. Beautiful use of spells,stats and overall style is spot on.

Only small bug is make it so if you click on any of the stat menus, you should be able to click anywhere to bring you back again.

Brilliant game. I must say that I found the wizard easiest to play. A bit of luck helps!
Slight spoiler ahead...

Especially if you find another fireball spell, a freeze/mirror image spell and eventually the best spell of all - charm... The beauty of charm spell is you can hit, then charm, and escape. Rinse and repeat! :-)

Actually, the thief is pretty easy to play with as well. I only got killed with the fighter.

The thief can do wonders with his invisibility spell (again, great if you find 2) + double damage backstab + an early charm spell.
The fighter's best asset is the berserk spell, which is a bit underpowered, especially against the spiders/succubi that appear on level 2-4. Not sure how he's supposed to hold his own agains the minotaurs either...

Won on the first try with wizard - at the end, my spell set was:

Fireball x2 (never found another offensive spell)
Fear (very useful, it's much more effective than Sleep but I never found Charm)
Polymorph (just for the minotaurs)
Shadow Walk (aka invisibility?)

On previous levels I also kept Blink (in place of Polymorph) as a last-ditch escape spell, but I only needed it once or twice.

A fairly short game, but a save function would be nice.

Cute, but even my 6-year-old was complaining about how limited it was by around dungeon level 3. What was money for?

Enchanted Cave is somewhat similar, but I found more satisfying.

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