June 24, 2014 8:12 AM | Lena LeRay
Peter M. Whalen's Dream Quest is a roguelike which uses a card game for the battle system. What the game lacks in beauty it makes up for in design, with the deckbuilding being integrated with dungeon exploration rather than being its own minigame on the side.
As is usual for modern roguelikes, a player starts the game by choosing one of the classes available to them. They are then plopped into a procedurally generated environment whose theme is chosen at random. Moving around the dungeon looks turn-based, but in reality the time taken doesn't matter; none of the monsters will attack first. Upon choosing to battle a monster, the player is shifted to the card game screen (pictured above). The game gives them information on how to play cards and how to end a turn and leaves them to their own devices after that. In a show of good interface design, anyone who has played a CCG or TCG before will have no trouble figuring out how to proceed. Upon defeating the level's boss (which is clearly marked), a staircase is revealed that will take the player to the next floor.
Outside of combat, the player can see their deck but cannot modify it directly. Only by leveling up, purchasing cards, or otherwise obtaining them via chests and other events can players add more cards to their deck. Likewise, getting cards out of the deck can only be done at a monastery. The first card discard is free, but each successive card removal costs an increasing amount of the player's limited money. With altars able to do things like allow you to draw one more card per turn at the cost of adding four "curses", or completely useless cards, to your deck, that's a thing to keep in mind. Everything works together to give the player plenty of choices to make.
Dream Quest has 13 classes, over 300 cards, and more than 70 monsters for the player to discover. Anyone who likes roguelikes and/or deckbuilding games should definitely consider getting it. It's a universal iOS app available for $2.99.