Card Crawl from Tinytouchtales has remained a go-to game on my device since it released in 2015. It managed to be a fairly straightforward card-battling dungeon crawler game without selling itself short on strategy or variety. In 2017 a follow-up called Card Thief arrived, and while it shared being a card-based dungeon crawler it was actually a very different beast from Card Crawl. Here you were doing more actual dungeon crawling as your goal was to forge a path through the cards laid out on the table in an effort to make it to the dungeon exit card.
The thing that really stood out about Card Thief is that there were always a lot of parameters in play. Stealth played a huge role so being aware of light source and shadow cards, or what direction a guard card’s attention is facing, was crucial. There was always a lot to be aware of and to keep track of, and the brilliant thing about Card Thief is that it let you draw out any path through the cards that you wanted without having to commit to making those moves, and when you did so it gave you a head’s up on how things would play out. I loved being able to plan ahead and tinker with different routes to see which one would work out the best.
Now this week we have sort of an amalgamation of Card Crawl and Card Thief with the brand new Card Crawl Adventure. This is a more straightforward “battling enemies and collecting items” game similar to Card Crawl, but with the path-drawing and planning aspects of Card Thief. And even with that description, it’s still somehow not too similar to either of those games and manages to be something truly unique. This is probably the most complex Tinytouchtales game yet, which means it’ll take a while to really warm up to the many different systems and situations in Card Crawl Adventure. That sort of thing can be a turnoff to some who are looking for a quick-hit mobile game, but it’s also a very rewarding game once you slowly come to terms with it.
Being that I’m still playing the original Card Crawl 7 years later, I look at this steeper learning curve in Card Crawl Adventure as a tiny investment in many years of future enjoyment. This one is totally free to play through in its entirety with the base character class, and there are multiple character classes available as IAP if you ever feel like you want to mix things up down the road. Somehow every Tinytouchtales game is rooted in similar concepts but feels completely unique from one another, with each offering up its own unique experience, and Card Crawl Adventure will be yet another permanent fixture from their catalogue on my iPhone.