Neoverse Trinity Edition Review
Reviewed on Nintendo SwitchAlso available on Sony PlayStation 4, Microsoft Xbox One and PC
Neoverse Trinity Edition makes its way to the Nintendo Switch, developed by Tinogames Inc. and Published by SK Telecom. It’s a deck-building game with roguelite elements similar to Slay the Spire. Fight your way through the Neoverse to bring peace back across time and space.
As explained in the starting screen, humans became so technologically advanced and curious they discovered the multiverse. After making this discovery, they found a way to fuse the multiverse into one Neoverse that stretches and melds realities and time into one singular essence. It sounds lofty but think of it as the food chain where now every animal becomes predator and prey simultaneously. It’s a fancy concept to excuse the fact that the enemies you’ll be fighting can be anything from robots, to giant bugs, to orcs and other fantasy characters. All genres and concepts meld into one place; it’s a little silly, but it works.
You take on the role of one of three heroines. Agent Naya, a futuristic gun and sword-toting ninja that uses toxic damage to hurt her enemies over time. Paladine Claire uses a large shield (that reflects damage)and heavy staff along with vampiric health-stealing abilities. Summoner Helena can summon one of three Guardians to her aid: a Lion, Griffin, or Dragon each with varied abilities. There may only be three characters, but as you progress, they become customizable with cosmetic items (some with boons) and unlockable costumes requiring challenging feats to unlock.
There’s no real story to speak of other than the opening cutscene that shows the characters fighting through dimensions to regain a mysterious cube. Likely used to bring order back to the Neoverse and stop enemies from bleeding into other dimensions, or something like that. As someone who typically plays games for the story, it took me a while to get into this game because you’re thrown in with little to no tutorial or premise. But like most of these types of games, by simple trial and error (emphasis on error) you begin to pick up on what works and how to play well over time. Being a card game, if you slow down and read everything about each card, you’ll learn the basics quickly.
At first glance, Neoverse appears sensualized with oddly buxom characters for a strategy card game and I, by my incorrect assumption, believed that there would be no real strategy at all. On the contrary, the strategy in Neoverse is extremely deep and nuanced. You have to consider every move you’re doing or the enemies will wipe the floor with you, and since it’s a roguelite if you die you’ll have to start all over.
I do have to complain a bit about the hiddenness of the game's elements, as I had no idea it was a roguelite until I died the first time. However, that was self-inflicted because I do like to go into a review without doing previous research. There is a love/hate thing going on with not being told how the game works.
On the one hand, you won’t feel patronized as a gamer and being left to your own devices will lead to genuine and continual discoveries. On the other hand, certain aspects of the game went under my radar for far too long into my playthroughs. This comes from someone who meticulously attempts to figure out what makes a game tick, but I still missed a lot. A warning if you don’t investigate, you won’t understand half of the strategy to this game. Take the time to hover your cursor over every little word you don’t understand and learn what everything a card does before you play it. I apologise to seasoned strategy card game players because that’s probably rule number one but those who don’t play these types of games often, remember to read, read, and read.
A simple breakdown of the flow of the game is this. You have one character you use, and they will always have Attack and Defense cards in any deck to complete the most basic actions. Each turn you have 5/5 mana that you can use to play your cards. Typically your basic cards will have one mana cost, and more advanced cards will have higher costs, though it could be any cost between 0-5 mana. The idea is to build up armour with defence cards then attack your enemies while avoiding damage. That’s it in a nutshell because it gets much more complex from there, so let’s talk about cards a bit.
There are five categories of cards; Attack, Defense, Instant, Constant, and Hindrance, with three tiers of rarity; Normal, Rare, and Legendary. Attack and Defend cards are like the name says and offer a variety of means to attack enemies or defend yourself by adding armour points to your character. Instant cards have numerous different effects that can change your hand, give you specific cards, add buffs/debuffs, etc. Constant cards’ effects will remain intact the entire battle and typically have the highest mana cost, but most will be consumed (one use per battle). Hindrance cards have many different negative effects and essentially bar access from other cards in your deck by taking up space in your hand. Also, it costs mana to rid them from your hand and deck, so watch out for enemies who apply them. As you play, you build up new cards throughout each playthrough so each deck is either a little or wildly different from your last game. This makes the game fresh and enjoyable to keep on trying.
There are three modes to choose from: Adventure, Hunter, and Challenge mode. Adventure mode is technically the story mode with 15 back-to-back fights with every fifth battle being a Boss fight. You choose one of the three characters and then choose your preferred deck of theirs. There are four to choose from with each character, usually one with either an attack or defence focus, another utilizing their special abilities, a hybrid deck of the first two then finally a Daily Deck that is changed daily. Right at the beginning, you won’t have full access to each deck or character, but they will unlock shortly after some play. My favourite was Naya’s Toxic deck because it dealt damage over time which helps bypass the enemies armour.
In between rounds, you obtain rewards like cards, items and skill points, and gold that allows you to purchase any of the previous rewards yourself from the Data Store. The Data Store is a mid-game store you can buy anything you have enough money for. It incorporates a lot into the strategy of Adventure mode. Skill points give you access to randomly generated skills from a pool of skills. This is the most strategic part of the game as it helps you focus your build and become increasingly powerful.
Hunter mode is 20 rounds and is more like a “Quickplay” mode that offers a faster-paced challenge. Initially, you pick six cards at random to start Hunter mode, and all your Attack and Defense cards become Hunter’s Attack and Hunter’s Defence that are powered up. This balances the extra challenge and pace of Hunter mode. Finally, Challenge mode involves all the most difficult enemies and costs Trophies (which are the most difficult to get in-game currency) to start. Also, there’s a hidden way to extend the Adventure mode that I won’t divulge, but you’ll need to acquire and equip a mysterious item to access it.
Don’t let the look of the game fool you, ultimately Neoverse Trinity Edition is a solid roguelite card game that offers deep strategy. Be warned that nothing will be explained to you in any conventional way. It’ll be completely up to you to figure out how all the game systems work. There is an eloquence to having to figure things out on your own that lends itself to a continuous sense of discovery with some minimal frustrations. Take your time with it, and when the game begins to open up more, you’ll find plenty to enjoy in the Neoverse.