I have always been fascinated by card games ever since I got my hands on a Yu-Gi-Oh deck back in elementary school. Unfortunately, as with most childhood wonders, my appreciation for them quickly waned and I ended up selling my card collection. However, had I known that only a few years later I’d become just as engrossed in the genre then perhaps I’d have held onto them. From trading card games to video games with card-based mechanics, everything within the genre seems to pique my interest. Fortunately, the ongoing Steam Next Fest is filled to the brim with incredible indies. One of these, the upcoming strategy game Mahokenshi, immediately caught my attention.
”Mahokenshi‘s lore is loosely based on medieval Japan during the golden age of the samurai.”
Mahokenshi takes place in a fantastical world in which magical samurai warriors seek to protect the floating Celestial Lands. These warriors are Mahokenshi, which literally translates from Japanese to ‘‘magic swordsmen’’. The game’s lore is loosely based on medieval Japan during the golden age of the samurai.
Initially, the gameplay is a combination between turned-based strategy and card-based mechanics. Every turn, the player has a certain amount of energy that they can use to move and play cards. Cards allow the player to take an action. It could be attacking an enemy, stacking defensive and strength-based bonuses or even gaining the ability to fly. Although energy recharges at the beginning of each turn, it is limited within a single turn. Therefore, players need to think strategically before making a move.
Furthermore, the full game will feature four houses that players can choose from. Each of them come with their own unique strengths and weaknesses. However, in the demo, only the fierce House of Ruby is playable. The elemental spirit of Ruby is fire, of course. Moreover, the elemental spirit of a house provides them with a unique deck of cards with specific bonuses. For example, House of Ruby’s cards focuses on strength at the expense of other traits. This definitely assists in defeating the horde of enemies coming after you. However, a lack of defensive cards means that death is right around the corner if you get attacked.
”Furthermore, the spectacular art adds a sense of immersive depth to this innovative title”
Furthermore, the spectacular art adds a sense of immersive depth to this innovative title. However, I found that what really cements this as an incredible indie is all the small added features. For example, the player can receive varying rewards depending on how they completed a specific quest. Additionally, the three playable levels in the demo have three different victory conditions. This not only adds immense replay value but allows players to approach each mission in the way that best suits them.
Small visual details also feed into the gameplay in a succinct and immersive way. For example, villages, dojos and other buildings that are scattered around can be used by the player to bolster their forces. For example, villages have markets that sell cards that the player can buy to strengthen their deck. Meanwhile, shrines can cleanse the player of poison that can deal a lot of damage at every turn if left unchecked.
“Mahokenshi has successfully created its own unique identity that will likely go on to inspire future titles in the genre.”
Overall, Mahokenshi mixes turned-based strategy and cards to add an extra layer of complexity to two genres that are already quite complex. It’s not the first game to combine these complementary genres. However, combined with the deep lore, stunning visuals and phenomenal attention to detail and immersion, Mahokenshi has successfully created its own unique identity that will likely go on to inspire future titles in the genre.
Be sure to head on over to Mahokenshi’s Steam store page to try the demo out for yourself. You can also wishlist it on Steam to be notified of any future updates.