Shattered Heaven, the tried and true of a highly narrative fantasy card game

Shattered Heaven, the tried and true of a highly narrative fantasy card game

Shattered Heaven

Is there room in video game mono for another fantasy card game with roguelike elements? The genre is very popular with players, especially PC, either for the possibilities it offers in terms of gameplay, or for the presence of a strong randomness, which forces them to adapt their tactics from time to time. Creating and taking care of your deck, studying all the possible combinations, discovering the best and the worst, obtaining new cards that open up new strategies, even completely opposite to those practiced up to that moment, are just some of the pleasures that can be felt of in front of a well done deck builder.

So we tried Shattered Heaven with certain expectations in mind and it must be said that we were not disappointed.


Shattered Heaven has a strong narrative imprint, even in front of the bonfires What is clear from the start is that Shattered Heaven has a strong narrative imprint. The demo we got to play allowed us to try the first chapter, which talks about a world without a name in which factions fight for the few resources available and to break the curse that wants death to come for everyone at forty. . Three heroes must therefore take part in the so-called War of the Ascension to perform an ancient blood ritual, the only one to be able to get them out of the hell they are in.

It should be emphasized that in Shattered Heaven the story is not only the background to the action, but it is an integral part of it and is very present: the characters constantly talk to each other, communicate with the non-player characters, hence they obtain information on the mythology of the game, which helps to better understand and enrich the context in which they find themselves acting, as well as missions and advice, and make choices that determine the unfolding of certain events. Let's not go into too much detail, because we too could only try a portion of the whole, but know that you spend a lot of time reading (unless you become a fan of the skip button ... but it would be a shame) .

What we really care about is that you understand that storytelling is very present in every aspect of the game. It is also within the dungeons themselves which, although formed randomly, always offer small events to participate in and introduce new situations that make the plot evolve, including new characters. So the feeling of being part of a bigger story and not just playing cards is always very present and makes the progression much more interesting than that of other titles. Of course the main focus of the gameplay is on the cards, which represent the core of the action.

Game system

The dungeons are procedurally generated and divided into squares The game system seemed to us quite multifaceted. As mentioned, the dungeons are formed by boxes that can be empty, or contain events, support areas for the characters (for example the bonfires allow you to heal yourself and manage the decks of the heroes), loot or encounters with enemies. In the latter case our three heroes, Andora, a warrior devoted to attack, Magni, a knight specialized in defense, and Ishana, an excellent summoner to support the other two, are deployed in a similar way to what happens in Slay the Spire. Then the cards drawn from the deck must be played in turn to produce different effects, such as damaging opponents, increasing the party's defenses or summoning creatures. Each card has a suit and requires the expenditure of a certain number of action points to play. Usually the more points are needed, the more powerful the card's effects are. As genre wants, the cards can be crossed in several ways. For example, some cards become more powerful if you play after using a card of a certain suit, or others change effects depending on the character who uses them. In general there is a lot of variety and the fights seem to be well balanced.

The fights of the first chapter seemed to us very balanced The overall system offers a good variety of feasible tactics, even if it is always central to balance attack and defense. It remains to be seen how it will evolve over the long haul, i.e. whether it will hold up when the other chapters become available. The difficulty of his seems to have been studied with some attention: the first dungeons do not offer great challenges and allow, together with the initial hub area from which you start the adventure, to get carried away with the various game functions, which include also the use of skills, the assignment of points to develop new powers, the use of items in dungeons to get some help (for example removing penalties or allowing the disarming of traps), as well as the creation or purchase of objects. After a few sortie, however, things get complicated: the monsters you meet become stronger, the events become more insidious and you begin to die more often. Of course, a lot depends on how the deck is built and how the available resources are managed, but some defeats are inevitable. However the challenge seemed right to us and the hope is that it will remain so even when all the contents are there.

Dark fantasy

Stylistically a good job has been done From a technical point of view and stylistic, Shattered Heaven appears neat and well done. The 2D graphics are well designed and follow a unitary vision, which makes all the elements compact, even when very different from each other, creating a certain continuity. We are faced with a dark fantasy work in which dramatic tones dominate, as also underlined by the extremely evocative soundtrack, which can count on beautiful illustrations for the cards and well-designed environments, although not very many (at least in the demo). Characters and enemies also offer an interesting design, including deer whose heads are made up of legs, floating creatures with four arms, and various companionship. For the dialogue sequences, a visual novel solution was instead chosen, so with the characters placed in the foreground on the screen whose lines alternate in a box at the bottom of the screen. The general impression is very positive, but this is certainly not the right circumstance to make definitive judgments. For those you have to wait to try the final version, or at least the one that will be released in Early Access on Steam on October 13, 2022.

Shattered Heaven has really convinced us thanks to its deck building system and game dynamics a lot of tactics, which leave enough space for the player to develop his own style of play. We'll see if the finished version will be on the same level. Meanwhile, we have marked the release date in Early Access on Steam because we are very ready to do another round as soon as it becomes available.


Well-thought-out game system Important narrative part DOUBTS Balances will they hold up in later chapters? Have you noticed any errors?

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