Lucadian Chronicles was a pleasant surprise. Out of nowhere, a card-battle RPG showed up with a simple, yet deceptively deep and engaging formula, Miiverse integration, online multiplayer, and (probably most importantly of all) NO MICROTRANSACTIONS! That’s right, folks, you do not buy electronic card packs with real money. You earn cards by actually playing the game and dealing with in-game currencies only.
Best of all, the game is free on the Nintendo Wii U eShop. They didn’t even release a demo version; you’re able to play a meaty set of short campaigns, and the online multiplayer, without paying even so much as a single penny.
That means, GO GET IT, right now.
For those of you that have gotten it and at least played through the free campaigns, here’s what I’ve been able to gather in my short playtime on how this fantastic start for indie developer Dark Roast Entertainment can be further improved.
Miiverse integration improvements. Closing the “Open the Miiverse Application?” Dialogue before opening Miiverse so that screenshots can be posted without that dialogue in the way. Allowing players to “Yeah” posts, and see comment-threads without launching the Miiverse app (ie: to see whether the response they were going to post has already been posted), and share screenshots in their posts from the game. These are about the only things missing from the Miiverse integration used in Lucadian Chronicles. Other than that, it’s a nice surprise for most players when posts start appearing over points on the map, or cards in your collection while you play. Having Miiverse woven into this title removes a lot of the isolated feeling of playing a single player game.
Less Railroading. This might be a gripe that only applies to the free version, but it feels like the cards you receive, and the pace at which you receive them is very controlled. There’s not much room for the player to explore and carve his own path out in the world you’ve laid out for him. You can’t take draft cards into the campaign, you can’t find other sources of money other than carefully measured side paths, it’s almost as bad as “the linear RPG”, or the “cinematic experiences” that plague the game industry today when it comes to player choices and the feel of playing a video game. I’m not asking for an open-world, but I would like to occasionally feel like I’ve found a stupidly powerful card that I’m not supposed to have yet, or conversely, feel like I’ve messed up and made a bad deal with an NPC, and have to deal with an extra challenge or an alternate story branch as a consequence.
Save decks, and quick-build previously saved decks. Although the decks are only 5 or 6 cards in size, it would be nice to be able to call on your favourite configurations without searching through your entire collection to rebuild them when battle-conditions favour them.
Alternate game modes. Some of the elements of this game seem to be inspired by Magic: The Gathering, and one of the best ways M:TG has lasted the decades it has was that its player-base has found new ways, new rules, and new games to play with their cards. Adding game modes to Lucadian Chronicles will allow players to enjoy a greater depth in their card collection.
Shiny / Glittery cards. The Pokemon TCG has contrived a clever way to enjoy the look of those rare foil-stamped cards in a subtle way that doesn’t detract or distract from the game itself. Personally, I think it’s a new standard for card-based video games. Lucadian Chronicles could one up this new standard by animating their cards or simulating holograms or other such effects.
Control enhancements. For left-handed players, allow us to scroll the map with the right stick while our left-hand holds the stylus. When the gamepad battery runs low, allow us to switch to the Wii remote and nunchuck to manipulate cards on-screen via the pointer and A+B, and scroll with the nunchuck stick, or Wiimote D-pad.
Saving replays, uploading them to Youtube. With the surge of Let’s Plays, a great way to get the word out about this game would be to allow players to upload their best victories from within the game itself. Embedding these posts in Miiverse would be a great way to show ailing players how to strategize for tougher battles.
As usual, if you can find other ways in which this already fantastic game can be improved, please leave a comment.