Chapter One: Introduction
I received a free copy of this game for review purposes — thanks Nyanco Channel!
Nyanco Card is a deck-building game inspired by the “Touhou Project” available on Steam. I’m not sure what possessed me to play this game. I didn’t like Nyanco Card when I played it two years ago, and surprise surprise — I still don’t like it. I completed the game in about two hours with save scumming. Losing battles in Nyanco Card results in permanent loss of progression. Without save-scumming, additional hours can be tacked onto gameplay to recover progress.
Chapter Two: Gameplay (2/5★)
Section One: Overview
Mistakingly entering the the “Gensokyo world”, Nyanco must collect “Touhou Badges” to be returned to her “original world”. To earn badges, Nyanco must win rounds of “Nyanco Card Battle” against select members of the local township. After collecting all nine Badges, she must win one last duel – or spend the rest of her life playing shitty card games.
Section Two: Combat
Each player’s “deck” is comprised of of five cards. The game is played on a three-by-three board, where the placement of cards is integral to winning. The goal is to control the most cards by the time the board is filled. Each card is assigned a “rank” on each of its edges. When a player places a card, they claim all neighboring cards with edges of lower rank.
For example, have a look at the following image;
My cards are shown in blue. I am placing Wedding Koishi adjacent to my opponent’s Keiki Haniyasushin (as indicated by the cursor). When their edges touch, I will capture my opponent’s card; the edge that will meet Keiki‘s has a value of “8”, which is higher than her “7”.
In the next image, you can see how both cards on the playing board are blue — indicating that I have successfully captured my opponent’s card, and that I’m in the lead!
Section Two: Balancing
To allow players to overcome stronger decks, “combos” can turn the tide of battle allowing a chain of cards to be captured with a single move! Combos are infuriating to play against until you learn how they work. On one turn, you may have total board control. . .
Then all of the sudden, “You Lose”.
If you lose in Nyanco Card, your opponent gets to take at least one of the cards you played with. Losing is devastating in the early to mid game. If you’re already having a hard time winning, every loss is agonizing. Losses can spiral into a forced reset of your playthrough.
Section Two: Exploration
Unless you’re a completionsist, exploration is futile. Although each opponent has at least one unique, obtainable card, all but a few have worthwhile cards to collect. Unless you’re playing with Nyanco’s starting deck, battling for anything but badges is a waste of time — and a risky endeavor, considering the penalty for defeat is losing cards
There’s only one opponent that’s worth battling outside of badges, and that’s “Dev Nyanco”. Her cards are among the most powerful in the game! But I don’t understand why Nyanco Channel didn’t distribute “Ultra Rare” cards throughout Gensokyo world. Instead of being dumped into a single opponent, they would have been better utilized as an incentive for exploration.
Chapter Three: Sexual Content (NA/5★)
Nyanco Card is not an adult game. Of course, I tried to change that — but I was unable to appropriately modify the game files. However, I still wanted to see Nyanco of Nyanco Channel naked, so I went ahead and lewded a screenshot of the game.
Look Nyanco Chan, you’re a lewd idol now!
On that topic, I’ve always wondered why Nyanco Channel sent me their games. At the time, I strictly wrote about adult games. I was always disappointed when they didn’t send any porn.
But you know what they say, “beggers can’t be choosers” eh?
Chapter Four: Story (2/5★)
Section One: Plot
While traveling between worlds, Nyanco finds herself stuck in “Gensokyo world”, a “parallel world” of characters from the “Touhou Project”. She must collect “magical cards” (interchangeably called “Touhou Badges”) to lift the world’s “magical barrier” and escape.
There appears to be some context to Nyanco’s predicament and supporting cast, but whatever happened prior to the events of Nyanco Card is beyond me. What’s context, who needs it?
Section Two: Character Development
There is no character development. Nobody learns anything, and no opponent evens so much as reacts to the “mysterious Cat girl”. Bizarrely, most interactions in the game are simply educational quips — not dialogue.
If I was a fan of Touhou Project, I don’t need to reminded who’s who or what they do. If Nyanco Channel really wanted to appeal to Touhou Project fans, they would have written dialogue! As a fan, I would want to see how my favorite characters reacted to Nyanco.
Informational blurbs are not a substitute for character interaction.
Chapter Five: Sound (4/5★)
Section One: Soundtrack
The music is alright. Nyanco Card doesn’t have more than a few pieces, but what it offers is pleasing to hear, even on repeat. I’m sure it’s all stock music but they’re all great picks!
Section Two: Sound Effects
I wish Nyanco Channel bothered to replace the default RPGMaker sound effects with something less over-used and more setting-appropriate.
Section Three: Voice Acting
Narrator Nyanco is super cute! I think her narration would be appropriate for a children’s book (as opposed to a fantasy dueling game), but her voice is nonetheless a delight.
Chapter Six: Visuals (2/5★)
Section One: User-interface
The English is awful. Paired with bad writing as a whole, it’s difficult to follow along dialogue.
Nyanco Channel did an alright job repurposing the RPGMaker engine for a deck-building game, but there are quite a bit of remaining, unused visual elements. It would have been nice if Nyanco Channel incorporated what they couldn’t hide as gameplay mechanics.
For example, what’s the point of showing Nyanco’s “level” if it has no affect on gameplay?
Nyanco Channel could have taken a page out of Bethesda’s games and incorporated a form of level-scaling, allowing the game to become progressively harder as the player wins matches.
It would certainly contribute to Nyanco Card‘s supposed “High Replay Value”.
Section Two: Graphics
The explorable world looks nice, but everything else looks awful. It’s pretty clear Nyanco Channel copy, pasted and rescaled existing sprites for just about everything. The regularity of clashing visual elements make it difficult to take this game seriously.
The following edit shows just a few examples of Nyanco Channel‘s visual inconsistency.
Chapter Seven: Verdict (2/5★)
Nyanco Card is a frustrating grind with confusing, uninspired writing. I think this game fails miserably as a worthwhile experience for “Touhou Project & Nyanco Channel Fans” alike.
Instead of writing dialogue, Nyanco Channel opted for cursory, educational blurbs. It doesn’t make sense; not only does the information have no relevance to the gameplay, why would Touhou fans want to be reminded about what they already know? What do Nyanco fans get out of a second-hand Touhou wikipedia? I hope fans of Touhou and Nyanco expect better from Nyanco Channel.
Chapter Eight: Recommendations
Don’t allow players to own less than five cards, even if they lose a battle.
Distribute “Ultra Rare” cards. Nyanco Dev should not be the sole source of the best cards in the game; it’s okay for someone to use only Ultra Rares, but they should otherwise be distributed throughout the game — perhaps, among booster packs, stores or optional fights.
Provide players with the opportunity to save before the final boss fight.
Write dialogue for Touhou characters; educational material should stay in the “Touhodex”.
Hire someone that actually understands English to write dialogue.
For the love of god, just try to use consistent sprites.
Do away with default RPG sounds that are played when navigating the user-interface.