The demo gives you a taste of what’s coming.

Demo for Yoko Taro’s card-based RPG Voice of Cards, The Isle Dragon Roars, is now available on Steam.

The demo was very enjoyable to play through. The demo is not a Slice of Voice of Cards’ campaign, but it’s set one day before the actual game.

Three members of the Ivory Order are peacekeepers, magicians and warriors assigned by a queen to find out who stole the castle’s treasure trove. The demo starts with JRPG conventions but the presentation is warm and engaging. A narrator who appears to be a D&D game master in his sleep realizes that he’s in for an extended night of D&D shenanigans.

Voice of Cards can be divided into combat and exploration. The tabletop is full of facedown cards, arranged in a hexagonal grid similar to a D&D Dungeon. Exploration takes place entirely on the tabletop. You can move around the cards to find more routes, monsters to defeat, treasure to unlock or characters to meet. There are shops for potions and armor, pharmacies, inns, and people to talk to when you enter a town. Despite being strictly card-based, each character feels alive thanks to vivid animations. For example, when an elderly woman asks for help from the Ivory Order to get her to a doctor, her card wobbling in the place to highlight her broken ankle.

Kimihiko Fujisaka’s colorful card art (of Drakengard fame and the recent Replicant remake), gives each character a unique personality. For example, a fisherman wearing a bob, or grandma with a knife that has a touch of cutthroat malice.

Voice of Cards draws cards from Magic: The Gathering, Hearthstone and other card games. However, it does some things differently. Every player has an attack and defense level. Every turn, you’ll produce a gem. This gem is kept in a small box at the side of battle. Special attacks that use elemental infusions, or other modifiers, will cost you a few gems. The problem is that unlike MtG and Hearthstone, these gems don’t completely replenish at the beginning of your next turn. This means your strategy must go further than the next attack. Some attacks require you to roll a die to determine the damage they do, which adds another layer to your strategy and luck.