With an ambitious combination of MMO and RPG elements plus card collecting, Requia Online from indie developer ODY Software is a bit of an oddball. I don’t necessarily mean that in a bad way. The game does its best to set itself apart from other titles in those genres, and in a way, it does - even though some areas are hit or miss.

The story of Requia Online

The player starts their adventure washed ashore on an unknown land with no memory of how they got there. All you really know is that the land of Aurelis is teeming with magic and wonder and life - both benevolent and malevolent alike.

Typical of old-school RPGs, you start off taking mundane tasks from a cranky guard about getting rid of rats in the area. While being someone’s personal pest elimination squad is common when you first start out in these small-town stories (since it effectively gives the game an excuse to start you off with small side-quests), I did feel like getting rid of pest infestations is pretty tedious. This is mainly due to the game’s visuals, but I’ll get to that later.

Another thing that put me off a little is how rude everyone seems to be to you right from the get-go. Leandra is the only one who’s nice to you at the very least. Plus, the NPCs refer to you as a “he”, automatically assuming you’re a guy. That aspect may seem like it’s no big deal, and it would’ve been okay had this been an older game. But in this day and age, I would have liked to be recognized as a girl - there’s simply a disconnect each time I’m referred to as a man, and it doesn’t help with getting me engaged in the story.

Combat in Requia Online

Battles in Requia Online are done in real-time after you tap on a monster to enter into a fight. Here’s where the CCG aspect of the game comes in - you’ll use the cards in your customizable deck to battle enemies. While most CCGs are turn-based, Requia Online boosts the excitement factor of a battle by encouraging you to strategize at a moment’s notice.

Cards slide into view from your deck (affected by your speed), and you’ll have to flick a card toward the enemy to attack or debuff them, while you flick the card towards yourself to heal or buff your character. Every so often, you’ll have Companions you can deploy onto the battle, which can really help you out when you’re in a pinch.

Encountering an enemy for the first time keeps their stats unknown, but the more you fight them, the more you can gain Knowledge of their stats. Cards also range from elemental buffs to healing items, which the game’s quick tutorial explains so eloquently for you.

The card battling system is truly impressive, as the mechanics are indeed unique from other CCGs I’ve played before. I’m amazed at the ingenuity here. The effects of the cards aren’t as complicated as other titles, however, probably because there’s really not much time to read through each card in a fight when the clock is ticking.

Requia Online graphics and visuals

While the mechanics of the card battles are inspired, the art does put a damper on the excitement for me. For one thing, the visuals of the battles, in my opinion, look very outdated. The artwork has that raw, hand-drawn effect, but doesn’t feel polished enough and can be dull and uninteresting to look at. For another, the monsters you fight during combat aren’t animated - the image of your foe simply stretches or moves around in a static way to simulate movement. It really dials down the excitement of a fight despite the real-time element.

There’s a lot to do in Requia Online - and I mean a LOT. You’ll have to spend hours and hours just to reveal portions of the World Map, and even more hours if you want to unlock more cards in your deck through Labor tasks. You can also craft cards using Resources, as well as customize your character’s attributes (not physical appearance, sadly). But while there are plenty of things to keep you preoccupied, it’s a little difficult to find the motivation to slog through everything if the visuals aren’t appealing.

What’s the verdict?

Requia Online is a bold entry into the genres it’s trying to combine, and I have to commend it for looking to do something new. It doesn’t feel difficult to scale the paywall, so the amount of content for a free-to-play game is impressive.

Still, precisely because it’s trying to insert itself in a mix of genres, that also means it’s competing against a lot of titles out there across a broader space. While I do understand that this can still have a fanbase - especially since it’s based on Requia novels - the lure of other, more visually appealing games out there is just too strong to resist.

But if you fancy giving it a go, you can download it on the App Store and on Google Play. There’s a handy list of official guides as well if things seem overwhelming since the beginner tutorial only ever really teaches you about the battles and not the other aspects of the game. The official forums also have guides on the multiplayer aspect of the game if you’re keen on duelling with friends.