Indies' Lies Preview friv game - Weak Card Roguelike So Far

Indies Lies has arrived in Early Access, a card battler with roguelike elements that promises an interesting combat system and no less exciting stories. After a couple of hours of playing, it turned out that these features are still at the level of promises, more details in the preview.

I love bagels. I happened to be one of the first to play the masterpiece Loop Hero, I blew Star Renegades to holes, and after such projects, the love for the genre only grows stronger. With enthusiasm, I discovered the next project, Indies' Lies, but with him everything is not so simple.

So, this card battler sent me to the fictional fantasy continent of Mekaa, which was embroiled in the wars of the gods. There are 9 characters to choose from, each with their own story; somehow they correlate with each other and should lead to the end of chaos.

The bad news is that I learned about the plot from the description on Steam - the game from a popular online games provider Friv2Online itself shows only a couple of short screensavers with cryptic phrases, the meaning of which can be correlated with the Dark Souls series, where nothing is usually clear, and the story is served with half hints. Indies Lies does not have a clear plot, an explanation of what is happening, and in general there is quite a bit of text in the game, which is puzzling. Looking ahead, I will say that I did not see the whole story further.

The clumsy Russian translation immediately catches your eye - the phrases do not look natural, and some words are cut off or distorted. Without a doubt, the fact of localization already at the stage of early access pleases, but it is worth working on it.

Since the story can't hold the attention, Indies Lies quickly moves on to the gameplay. Before card battles, they offer to choose one of three classes (classic magicians, warriors, shooters), each of which has 3 characters - in total we have 9 heroes, and this is more than good for a roguelike. Each fighter has a unique map and, in theory, their own storyline. In fairness, I note that there are dialogue inserts between the bosses, but they are of little use.

The gameplay combines two standard mechanics of the genre - a journey along the winding "paths", which are represented here by hexagonal platforms, and battles. On each map, you can go wherever you want, and not only battles await along the way, but also shops, altars, blacksmiths and other random events, and in the end all paths will lead to the boss.

Battles - card group. Wielding various cards that personify the attacking, defensive, restorative and other abilities of the heroes, we must use them wisely, keeping in mind the energy limit. If it is over, the enemy's move begins, and so on in a circle. If we win, then we pick up gold coins, activated items and other bonuses, and the loss will be thrown back to the very beginning. Strangely, no bonuses are awarded upon defeat, which is contrary to the rules of the roguelike.

At first, the hero travels alone, but with the defeated bosses, the heroes that are in the starter kit join him. Not to say that they help a lot - they have much fewer cards than the central character. But you can choose their location in the squad, which affects the battles and maps.

As for the difficulty of the battles, their balance needs to be tightened up - it's too easy at the beginning, and the increase in difficulty further is rather unfair. The bosses turned out to be easier than ordinary rivals - they hit quite painfully and often all over the group at once, and the shields are not so strong.

We were pleased with the light RPG elements, succinctly woven into the gameplay - there is a familiar pumping tree, on which unique points are spent, and at the blacksmith you can combine cards with relics, endowing them with special effects. There are a lot of cards, and for each character there is really a unique gameplay.

The picture with the music was also nice. Although there is only one track, it is quite atmospheric and calm (although at some points it would not hurt to mute it, for example, in rare dialogues), but cartoonish graphics with good detail are obviously a winning option.

Indies Lies pleasantly surprised in some moments, and frankly disappointed in others. The advantages I would include a wide pool of characters (and the passage for each of them is really different), tactical battles with maps, RPG elements and graphics.

And since this is early access, you need to be aware that all the minuses are fixable, and at this stage the project can be delayed for quite some time. Here are a couple of my personal recommendations based on what I saw:

Add interesting stories and a coherent plot. It is completely incomprehensible how the heroes are connected with each other, how their camps differ besides color and weapons, and what generally happens in the friv game world. There are tiny rudiments of the script, but so far the game looks like a testing ground for gameplay.
Balance the difficulty. There is an imbalance in the battles, and ordinary opponents turned out to be stronger than their bosses. They can lower their health and make their attacks more diverse (not only on the front row, but also on the middle, back), because so far they mainly hit the area.
Work on the text. Thank you for the Russian translation already at the start of early access, but we need to work on it: fix various errors, optimize the text size. Sometimes, by the way, Chinese characters leak out.
Add more interesting events to your adventures. Under random question marks, there are often boring mini-games for a couple of seconds, and during such a time you don’t even have time to understand what happened.
PS After writing the text, I discovered that the game has a mobile version - and there, surprisingly, there are plot inserts, and the translation is much better. I hope that the developers will bring to mind the PC version, because there is potential for this.