App Army Assemble: Tacape - "How does the latest roguelite card battler compare to its contemporaries?"

We ask the App Army

App Army Assemble: Tacape - "How does the latest roguelite card battler compare to its contemporaries?"
| Tacape

Tacape is a roguelite card battler that follows the story of two children, Lorena and Lucas. Lorena sets off to look for her brother while he tries to fight his way back to her. You play from both characters' perspectives and will need to battle against various mystical beasties along the way. Our App Army members are well-versed in the roguelite realm, so we handed the game over to them to get their thoughts.

Here's what they said:

Jason Rosner

Tacape is a roguelite card game. The App Store nowadays has a pretty big selection in just about every category, so I always like to see what makes a new entry unique. Tacape benefits from being a really good-looking game. The graphics have a nice hand-drawn storybook look to them, while the music and sounds complement the feel of this Brazilian folk story. There’s also a vast amount of cards that can be bought and upgraded. The main campaign is split into two different characters, a sister and her brother.

Lorena battles to find her little brother when he goes missing, while Lucas is trying to find a way back to his big sister. I liked this setup a lot as I felt it gave me some choice, and this familial story gave me a reason to keep playing to find out what happens in the end. This all comes together to make Tacape a rather fresh take on the genre. Gameplay like most card builders can get rather challenging, so an option for those seeking a more relaxed difficulty setting would be something I’d like to see implemented in future updates. I enjoyed my time with Tacape and it’s free to start so you can get a taste and see if it’s right for you.

Mark Abukoff

This is a good-looking rogue lite card battler with an interesting Brazilian folk story told from two sides. It has very appealing art and music and sounds. This reminded me a great deal of Slay the Spire, but I would have liked to have seen a map of some kind to feel like I’m making some progress on my journey. Missing that is not a deal breaker but it would make the game more appealing.

I did however enjoy the fact that the enemy cards are in rows and columns and some cards will only target particular rows or columns. Plus the fact that the enemies will sometimes shift position, and you sometimes have the ability to pull or anchor an enemy so that they can’t move. That adds nicely to the tactical experience. This isn’t a game-changing app, but in a crowded field, it’s a good one with lots of heart. I definitely recommend trying the demo and considering buying the full version.

Max Williams

Tacape feels like the result of people playing Slay The Spire and thinking (like most people do) "This is a brilliant game concept but it's really punishingly difficult. It would be great to play a similar game that was kinder to the player". Hence, Tacape. The core mechanic is the same, and why not? It's a great mechanic. You battle enemies by playing cards. At the start, you have a very basic deck but after each battle, you choose 1 of 3 new cards, which will improve your deck.

As well as that there is a slow career progression where you unlock extra cards that can now appear in that choice of 3 after a battle. As well as battle spaces there are campfires where you can recover health, or buff yourself or your cards, and shops where you can buy new cards and artefacts (permanent game-changer items which last the whole run). You have a choice of heroes, and each has its own style of playing and its own separate (mostly) deck of cards.

I've made it sound like more of a rip-off than it really is - it does introduce new mechanics, like enemies being divided into front-row and back-row, with cards which take that into account, and the general theme, of the protagonists being children having nightmares, is nice.

It feels quite unfinished at the moment - it crashed a lot for me, and there are quite a lot of less serious bugs in various places. I don't mind that too much, being a software developer myself I wouldn't judge anyone else's buggy software harshly! I'm sure they'll sort it all out in subsequent updates. One thing that did annoy me a bit was that the difficulty progression isn't really explained, and it took me a while to work out that I'd been automatically moved up the difficulty levels (it never gives you an option). Again though, I think they'll sort it out.

In summary, I really enjoyed it and will definitely carry on playing it, because, unlike Slay The Spire, it doesn't make me want to scream.

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Eduard Pandele

Tacape is a simple roguelike deck builder where you battle against a maximum of four enemies at a time, on a 2 x 2 grid. It has everything you expect from a game like Hand of Fate/Slay the Spire/Inscryption - except, that is, the basics. Maybe it's just my particular brand of Android, but this game was buggy as hell on my phone. Selecting the card you want from your hand was hit and miss. Dragging it over the enemy required surgical precision. Tap to select a card, and tap to select an enemy didn't work either.

The tutorial is a set of pages of text - more and more text that gets smaller and smaller, and you're supposed to read all that and learn to play as you would a boardgame, instead of by simply playing (and the tutorial is triggered over and over again, apparently randomly). The campaign consists of a map you can't see - you only see the current two nodes you can choose from, and the two nodes linked to each of them. So you can't plan your route more than one move ahead, as you do in all deck builders, which means you can't heal before a hard battle.

The battles are way too random, and your hand is very random too - I get you're supposed to die and start over and over, but the difficulty was jumping all over the place from mundane to frustrating. All in all, a very buggy game, it felt like I was playing a beta. Can't recommend this at this stage - and I'm a veteran MTG / Dominion / Slay the Spire / Monster Train player. Maybe it'll get better after a few patches, but now there's nothing to set it apart from the much better roguelike deck builders available.

The art isn't much to look at, and the UI is decidedly unfriendly (for example, to select a reward, you tap to zoom in on the card, read the text, pray there isn't a term you don't understand like "rooted" 'cause it's not explained anywhere, tap again to zoom out, then tap on a minuscule "take" button). Too bad, I liked the premise and the "let's build the simplest deck builder we can" idea.

Andrés Youlton

Tacape is a roguelite deck builder that reminds me of the many, many games of the genre already available on the AppStore, which tries to differentiate itself with a 2x2 battle grid, with cards that have different effects depending on where you play them, a concept that I really like. But aside from that, it’s a pretty bland game, very forgiving. I have some issues with the app itself, as the game feels pretty slow, and had a lot of misclicks. Long story short, this feels just like another game in an already saturated market, with not much to remember.

Swapnil Jadhav

I think the game is not complete. Graphically it looks super-rich but they are the only plus point in the game. The idea is good but the implementation is very bad. Very confusing UI. If they make the tutorial interactive, that will solve some issues. A lot of negative reviews for the game coz of its implementation. I think they should quickly release a new update.

Oksana Ryan

This was a good example of its genre. Although there’s not a lot to set it ahead of other similar games, it has a storyline that is unique and it is easy to play. The cards have numerous objectives, the graphics are colourful and there are plenty of enemies to defeat. On the whole, the game is enjoyable and kept me happy for short periods of time, which, sometimes, is exactly what I need, and for this reason, I’d recommend it.

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Stephen Gregson-Wood
Stephen Gregson-Wood
Stephen brings both a love of games and a very formal-sounding journalism qualification to the Pocket Gamer team.