Roguebook (Nintendo Switch) review: Few cards short of a deck

Abrakam Entertainment S.A.
Abrakam Entertainment S.A. /

Title: Roguebook
Developer: Abrakam SA
Publisher: Nacon
Platforms: Nintendo Switch (reviewed on), PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Release Date: April 21, 2022

There’s no denying the fact that card-based rougelike video games are a huge trend over the last two years. The pandemic basically created the perfect storm to get people looking for a way to enjoy card games when they have no one to play with.

Because of this, there are a lot of copycats out there. Card-based rougelikes are remarkably easy to make and so it’s a tempting realm to get into. Because of this a lot of good games get lost in the shuffle and are easily discarded. But learning which games to hold and which to fold on is a great way to get a great game in your hand. Unfortunately, Roguebook is a bad hand almost all the way through.

I promise I’m out of card puns.

Now, I’m not trying to be a mean here, but let’s actually look at the game and call a spade a spade. (Okay, THAT was my last one) If you’re a fan of card-based rouge-likes you’ve absolutely played Roguebook. The primary difference is the “roguebook” mentioned in the title.

Rougebook-Map /

Your character finds themselves in a book where they have to use ink to reveal their way and along the way they get into battles. The battles are card-based fights almost 100% taken from Slay the Spire. The art style is very similar and the abilities are the same. Nothing new is added to this. A real disappointment considering Richard Garfield, the creator of Magic: The Gathering worked on this.

But here’s the thing. Rougebook takes a lot of elements from successful games but not the things that make them fun. Your character is one of the most boring protagonists I’ve ever encountered and I couldn’t tell you their story because the intro had no closed captions so…someone like me with hearing problems just gave it a shrug. And Closed Captioning is not an option in this game which is startling for a game in 2022.

Speaking of accessibility, I hope you have vision like Deathstroke because I played this game on a 45″ TV and me and the wife both had to get up and go next to the screen to try to read what the cards do. I’m not kidding. Take a look at this screen.

Rougebook-Cardtext /

This is how the text looks on the cards and there ain’t a thing you can do about it. I played for about 30 minutes and I had to take a break because my eyes bled so much that I was turning pale.

There’s genuinely no excuse for this. The game literally took the exact card battling system from Slay the Spire, so all they had to do was put new art and names on the cards. The lack of accessibility should’ve been so transparent.

It takes 10 minutes to see the problems. For example, check this battle footage and watch the way the game twitches in between every choice. The animation stutters.

Battles don’t take a long time but with this low quality on the Switch, check out how long the wait is between the map and the battle itself. You know, that thing Pokemon does in about 1-2 seconds? Take a look and imagine this before and after every enemy encounter.

All in all, Roguebook tries to do everything that makes a fun card game but it falls apart like a deck of cards the second you start playing. The only real innovative thing here is the book aspect where you use ink to find your way across the map but even that part is so exceptionally boring that it maybe earns it a single point for the idea of it itself. Seriously, if you want a game like Slay the Spire, just play Slay the Spire again cause this is an absolute bust. (Sucker, I had one more pun in me)

Roguebook (Nintendo Switch) Score: 4

Roguebok is a card-based roguelike that takes many elements from successful games like it but fails in its execution with them. Muddled sound, blurry graphics, stuttering animation, illegible text, no accessibility options and an overly boring story makes this a game I’d probably just avoid completely.

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.