[Nintendo Switch] Castle Morihisa Review
Castle Morihisa from Thermite Games and Smokingbear Studio is a roguelike strategic deckbuilder in which you’ll wield the power of the Fallen Heroes to go on an adventure. Check our Castle Morihisa.
Castle Morihisa from Thermite Games and Smokingbear Studio is a roguelike strategic deckbuilder in which you’ll wield the power of the Fallen Heroes to go on an adventure. It features a very appealing art style and an addictive gameplay loop that will keep you busy for a while. After General Tokugawa of the shogunate issued the Laws for Military Houses to his vassals, none of the emissaries sent to Morihisa Castle managed to return. Needing a spy to infiltrate Morihisa Castle to find out what is really going on so that it can report back to the shogunate, you are selected for this perilous task.
There are four characters you can play during your journey through Castle Morihisa: Monk, Samurai, Onmyoji, and Ninja. The Ninja will be locked at first, requiring that you complete an adventure at least once before you can gain access to its speed and abilities. The Monk was given up by its family at birth so that it could study and uphold Buddhism. The Samurai is a master swordsman who will stop at nothing to complete its task. The Onmyoji can observe the celestial sky for information, divine the future and past, seek answers from Yin and Yang, and expel evil. The Ninja is part of the Kage Clan, where it has trained since childhood, using the shadows to take down enemies before they even know what is going on.
Each of the four characters will have different stats to consider, as well as separate Talent Trees, where you’ll be able to slowly but surely unlock new abilities, boosts, and skills that will make subsequent runs a little bit easier. For example, the Samurai can have the Rain of Flowers Talent, which makes it possible for it to deal 2 points of damage to all enemies if it has any Sakura at the start of the turn. For the Ninja, you could unlock the Spot Weakness Talent so that it can inflict all enemies with one stack of Weaken, which will make those units take an extra point of damage per attack received. There is also a General Talent Tree that applies its effects to all characters. For example, with the Rising Valor Talent, your character will gain an extra action point when an opponent is defeated.
Once you’ve selected your character and picked which Fallen Hero you’ll draw power from, you will start your adventure. Fallen Heroes can grant you a skill you can use in battle, adding an interesting extra layer of variety to each run. Select Oda Nobunaga, and you can call upon its might to deal 5-30 points of damage to a random enemy. Call upon Shibata Katsuie, and you can deal 10 points of damage to a random enemy. Should this attack defeat said enemy, then your character will recover 2 HP.
On the upper left corner of the screen, you’ll have your character’s hit points. If it ever reaches 0, then it’s game over. You will start your quest with a simple deck of cards, abilities you can use during battles to try and defeat the enemies you will find on your path. At first, these will include basic cards to attack and to gain extra armor to protect your character, but as you progress through the game, you’ll be able to unlock more powerful and varied cards, as well as upgrade some of them to boost their power.
You’ll explore a map that will offer you different action nodes to take on. You’ll need to choose wisely because you never know how many enemies you’ll find in battle, and skipping on resting when given the option could end up being deadly. You will find regular battles, elite battles, camps where you can rest to recover some of your health or upgrade your cards, loot nodes where you can receive artifacts and maybe even a quest scroll with an additional objective to complete, nodes with a question mark that can present a random situation to you, and even boss battles.
For battles, you will need to defeat enemies by playing cards from your hand. To play a card, you’ll need to spend the required action points, which are shown in the upper left corner of each card. Your max action points total is 10. If a card has an X instead of a number, that means using it will consume all of your remaining action points. Any attacks that your character receives will first lower its armor before lowering its HP. This is why it’s important to balance attacking with boosting your armor.
To speed things up, during your opponent’s turn, the game will let you know what action it will take by displaying an icon on top of it so that you know what’s coming and can start to plan your next turn accordingly. When your turn ends, any cards you didn’t play are placed in the graveyard. Once your next turn begins, your action points will be replenished, and you’ll draw new cards to play from your hand – this is set to 5 as the default value but can change depending on any changes that affect it.
Defeating enemies and collecting treasure will reward you with coins, which you can use at the shop to purchase additional cards. You can pay to refresh the shop’s inventory if you don’t find anything that you want. You can even pay to remove a card from your deck in case you want to go for a leaner and more precise strategy for your run. There’s also the option of trading your points for Talent Points so that you can unlock new nodes on the individual and general Talent Trees to increase your odds of success.
Your deck of cards must be varied if you want to survive your journey to Castle Morihisa. While most cards will be cycled through your deck when in battle, some of the more powerful cards will have a special condition to them. You’ll notice them because they’ll have the word Void written on them. What this means is that once any of said cards are played, they will be placed in the Void, which will prevent you from playing them again until your next battle. This is the game’s way of balancing things out so that you can’t just buy your way towards victory. Some cards will be marked as Consumable, which means that once played, said card will be permanently removed from your deck.
Castle Morihisa has an in-game achievements system so that you can work on completing additional objectives as you play. There are, of course, four of them related to completing the adventure with each of the four different character types. Along with those, you can unlock additional achievements by boosting a character’s max HP to 80, playing 10 cards on the same turn, spending 1,500 coins in a single adventure, winning a battle with only 1 HP remaining, defeating a boss using retaliate, or gaining 500 armor, to name some examples.
Roguelike strategic deckbuilder Castle Morihisa has a very appealing art style and an addictive gameplay loop that will keep you busy for hours. With three characters to choose from and one extra character to unlock, each with different cards, stats, and strategies to use, there’s plenty to explore in this one. The randomly generated nature of this roguelike is not going to be for everyone, but if you give the game a chance – and learn from your mistakes as you go – you’ll find yourself playing for hours and hours as you try to defeat everything on your path to survive and find what is really going on at Castle Morihisa. The game is out on Nintendo Switch with a $14.99 price.
This Castle Morihisa review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Thermite Games.