(9 votes) *Average rating will show after 20 votes
| Comments (4) | Views (44)


KinetikaiThe woods are no place to be stranded in. You can lose your way; you can lose your mind; you can even lose yourself. Developed by Simulated Culture, Rootwork is a new strategic card game that drops you into the heart of the deepest, darkest forest and challenges you to make it out safely. However, a stray critter or a thorny bush are the least of your troubles here. These woods are full of dark forces and malevolent spirits, and at the center of the dark maelstrom is "She." Who is She? That's uncertain. But these are Her woods, and if She wants you to stay lost forever the odds are stacked against you.

RootworkLuckily, you are not alone. A mysterious Hoodoo man and his son Lucas appear to guide you and protect you with the power of Rootwork. Rootwork refers to Hoodoo practices of using found objects — a feather, a key, some river stones, etc. — to weave together powerful spells. With these simple items at your side, you might just stand a chance of escaping. Maybe.

The game begins with a thorough tutorial explaining the mechanics of Rootwork. Your goal is to flee the forest by visiting three specific Milestones before the sun goes down. Each round, you draw up to five Survival Cards. These are the tools you will use to bypass the Threats that block your passage. You then draw two Threat Cards and one Site Card, which hopefully contains one of the Milestones you need. There are four suits: Fury, Corruption, Deceit and Loss. Every Threat Card and Site Card contains up to two curses in a given suit. In order to access the Milestone on the Site Card, you need to nullify the curses on all three cards by placing Survival Cards of the same suit upon them (by tapping and dragging). However, if you're short on suits, every Survival Card can be turned face down (via a quick double-tap) and placed on any card to remove half a curse of any suit.

There are also special cards such as the Dense Underbrush, which acts as a wild card, and Strange Cairn, which allows you to peek at the top card of any of the four Site Decks. You also have pocket space which can be used to hold extra cards, although only one pocketed card can be played at any given time. Should you fail to remove the curses of either of the Threat Cards, you wil incur their wrath. Menaces will burden you with fright (get frightened more than three times and it's game over) while Sticks will take up pocket space and become irremovable.

RootworkOf course, there are a few more intricacies to the game, and it takes a minute or two to get the hang of, but Rootwork is by no means overly complex. Once you grasp the basic mechanics, jumping in is actually quite simple, and a game only takes a couple of minutes to complete. And once you've got the hang of one character, you can switch to another, which changes how many cards you can carry in your hand and/or pocket.

Analysis: It's always refreshing to see a card game that isn't based around battling a series of increasingly redundant monsters. Even if the backbone of Rootwork is a simple suit matching game, the idea is conceptually pleasing and has clearly been given plenty of thought. By escaping the forest multiple times you can unlock extra cards, characters and videos explaining the origin of the four great menaces, Ruin, Blight, Snare and Mourne, and the dark force controlling them all. There's certainly plenty of atmosphere and intrigue to be had here, which is something you don't often get with a card game that is this easy to play.

If there's one downside, it's that the unlockable cards and different characters don't add a tremendous deal of strategic variety to the mix. And since all of the unlockables and achievements basically require you playing through the game a bunch of times (and we do mean a bunch — one achievement requires over 1,000 wins) tedium can set in quickly if you're just playing game after game after game. You can unlock all the cards via an in-app purchase, but if you do so, Lucas will berate you for cheating. (You can't buy your way to victory!)

But like the old standby Solitaire, Rootwork is a game you just find yourself coming back to for a quick round or seven. And unlike Solitaire, Rootwork is atmospheric, aesthetically pleasing and full of mystique. If you're looking for an interesting and unique card game, you could do far worse than to get lost in the woods of Rootwork.

NOTE: This game was played and reviewed on the iPad 2. Game was available in the North American market at the time of publication, but may not be available in other territories. Please see individual app market pages for purchasing info.


Thanks very much for this review! I would like to quote part of it in our App Store description if that is ok with you.

Score: 0 (0 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply

Yes! Please do. :)

Score: 0 (0 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply
abfdrumz Author Profile Page May 21, 2013 6:59 PM

Oh great, thanks a LOT...just what I need, a new game addiction.

But seriously, this is one heck of a good game IMO: very well thought out, and nicely balanced between simplicity for new players and positive reinforcement for those who wish to master its subtleties. Five shrooms, no question.

Score: 0 (0 votes) Vote up Vote down Report this comment Reply

^ Scroll Up | Homepage >

Leave a comment [top of page]

    Please consider creating a Casual Gameplay account if you're a regular visitor here, as it will allow us to create an even better experience for you. Sign-up here!
  • You may use limited HTML tags for style:
    (a href, b, br/, strong, em, ul, ol, li, code, spoiler)
    HTML tags begin with a less-than sign: < and end with a greater-than sign: >. Always. No exceptions.
  • To post spoilers, please use spoiler tags: <spoiler> example </spoiler>
    If you need help understanding spoiler tags, read the spoiler help.
  • Please Preview your comment before posting, especially when using spoilers!
  • No link dropping, no domains as names; do not spam, and do not advertise! (rel="nofollow" in use)
Exit Fate> Dora In this free indie RPG heavily inspired by the likes of Suikoden and other classics of the genre, Daniel is a man betrayed by his country and trapped behind enemy lines who suddenly finds himself in a unique position to help end the fighting. Recruit 75 party members for your castle, take part in huge battles, and enjoy hours and hours and HOURS of play time in this massive game.  ...
The Silent Age: Episode Two> Kimberly Joe is back to finish up what was started in the second episode of this fantastic point-and- click adventure. With the fate of humanity on his shoulders, Joe needs you to help him travel through time to find answers on how to prevent the human race from going extinct.  ...
The Rogue Puzzle Game> Satori Clear your way through the dungeon in this unique Sokoban-like puzzle game by carefully selecting which swords to shove into which monsters to vanquish them all. The Rogue Puzzle Game was picked as one of only three finalists in the Game Nomad competition and is set to be presented at Gamer's Day, Arabia's largest gaming event.  ...
Sentry Knight 2> Dora Sentry Knight is back and more colourful than ever in this sequel that brings more of the same addictive defensive shooting fans have come to crave. Stay in your tower and take aim against an onslaught of baddies, upgrading spells and abilities, as you bow-and-arrow your way across the kingdom.  ...

Recent Comments


Display 5 more comments
Limit to the last 5 comments

Casual game of the week

Riddles of Fate: Memento Mori

Your Favorite Games edit

Save links to your favorite games here. Use the Favorites editor.

Monthly Archives

Legal notice

All games mentioned or hosted and images appearing on JayIsGames are Copyright their respective owner(s).

All other content is Copyright ©2003-2014 All Rights Reserved.

Visit our great partner: maxcdn!