Power Chord is a highly complex, strategic, roguelite, deck builder with rock’n’roll flair – The Game That Changed My Opinion on Deck builders.
As someone who has always been hesitant about deckbuilding and card-based combat games, I was pleasantly surprised by the unique gameplay of Power Chord – a game that has completely changed my perspective on this genre.
The premise of the game has you fighting upwards a Demon Tower with your band mates taking up key roles in the combat. You have vocalists acting as healers with their soothing voice, drummers tanking with their huge presence, bassists doing status effects and stuns, and lasty guitarists leading the way as DPS. The game has 4 levels each making you traverse a crisscrossing map, choosing between shops, gear, world events, battles and elite battles; All while making your way to the level boss at the end. Along the way you’ll be able to gain new cards for each band member, new gear for added abilities and even unlock more characters to replace in your band for future runs.
Having very little experience with deck builders I didn’t expect much from this game going in. I assumed it would just be a straight forward linear card combat game with deckbuilding opportunities here and there. What I got instead was a boatload of fun with a lot of re-playability partly due to the fact that each role in the band has at least 3 different potential characters that can be chosen allowing for a huge variation of teams and play styles. The game literally has me looking up all the potential cards and gears to strategize exactly how I wish to plan my runs and what cards I should be hoping for with alternatives incase I don’t find those in my current run.
With a great amount of variety and randomness also comes some steep difficulty. The game itself is pretty complex with its mechanics which may not be easy to stomach for those that probably do want a straight forward deckbuilding experience, however it isn’t simply the complexity that makes it difficult. The battles themselves get tougher and tougher the more you play, every type of mechanic that the player has access to, so do the enemies and while you are deck building to make sure you have the best band you could run into some very heavily built monsters with the perfect random combination to counter all your strategies. It will take quite a bit of strategizing and a little bit of luck to make it through this one, but for those that love a challenge the game is definitely satisfying from start to finish.
Graphics and Sound
Being a game about fighting demons as a rock band, you’d expect there to be a lot of musical variety. While the music is pretty nice and intense, it does get repetitive after a while, after listening to the same battle songs over and over (since you’re going to have multiple runs) I ended up just muting the entire game and listening to my own music in the background. A game that is expected to be played again and again in countless runs does need to take into account how it can stay fresh and easy on the ears and I believe this was a missed opportunity especially with the theme of the game.
I do very much enjoy the weighted poster-ized art style the game employs, coupled with 3d animations for each of the battles makes for a satisfying viewing experience. I also appreciate that the mixture of fonts and art does not make the cards or other abilities hard to read or understand, I commend the game for being able to pull off a stylistic approach without becoming too ambiguous in its communication of gameplay.
I would recommend this game to more seasoned veterans of the deck building genre. The game is HARD and UNFORGIVING! I find myself enjoying a challenge but I don’t think this is true for all gamers, try this if you masochistically enjoy tougher games or if you want a challenge after getting through more accessible deck building titles like slay the spire. DO NOT PICK THIS UP IF YOU ARENT FAMILIAR WITH DECKBUILDING!
On the difficulty note, perhaps the game could use some balancing or more card additions that ease the gameplay while still keeping the difficulty high due to randomness. I am definitely excited to see where this game goes with future updates and more band members added to the roster.
For now, I definitely think it is a great niche option for deckbuilding fans that love a challenge, and the strategy involved surely had me biting and coming around to look forward to trying more deck building games in the future.
All in all with its challenging gameplay, satisfying art style and mediocre variety in music I award Power Chord a rating of 7 / 10