There are a decent number of dungeon-crawling card games on the App Store, but few of them have the brilliant balancing of Card Quest.

It's accessible and deep at the same time, it doesn't bog you down with rules, but it lets you experiment and find out the way you want to play.

And you're going to find yourself losing a great deal of your time to the experience. It's bright and gloomy, sharp and smooth, and just really rather good.

Guards and cards

You start off by picking a class, then it's off to one of three multi-branched dungeons to find as much loot as you can. Or, more specifically, to survive for as long as you can.

You've got a deck of cards, and you need to lay them down in order to attack goblins, mushroom monsters, trolls, zombies, and more.

Card Quest iOS review screenshot - A screen of monsters

Then you've got hit points, energy, and a variety of other numbers you need to keep an eye on. There's a lot to juggle, but the game makes it surprisingly easy.

Every time you venture out into the dark you'll learn a little more, earn a little more, and see some more of the horrors that the world has to offer.

Card Quest iOS review screenshot - Fighting mushrooms

There's a story threading through each of the adventures, and while it's not particularly meaty, it's nice to have another reason to push deeper into the catacombs and dirty alleys.

You'll unlock new skills as you play as well, and get new equipment. In other words, you get stronger as you go, which means each fight is likely to push you a little deeper into the game.

Card not to smile

While there are loads of games that walk the same ground, few of them do it with as much swagger and glee as Card Quest. It really is wonderful, and spending time with it never feels like time wasted.

It's fun, it's thick, and it shows that with some new ideas and excellent implementation, the solo card-crawl has a lot to offer.