Dead Man's Draw Review (PC)

very good
key review info
  • Game: Dead Man's Draw
  • Platform: PC
  • Gamepad support: No
  • Reviewed on:
  • Written by:
  • Show system requirements
Dead Man's Draw review on PC

Card games aren't that numerous on Steam, as such types of experiences are usually unwanted by the mostly hardcore users of Valve's digital distribution service.

Stardock, however, decided to change that and brings its hit mobile experience, Dead Man's Draw, onto Steam for all PC users to enjoy.

The game, as its name suggests, carries a heavy pirate theme and introduces quite a few novel mechanics that can be used with a deck of cards, including various suits, each with different powers, and special challenges.

Can Dead Man's Draw make card games cool again or should it walk the plank? Let's find out.
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Choose your opponent ...
... and your special abilities
Dead Man's Draw puts players in the shoes of a pirate going on a series of tournaments against other individuals in a special game of cards.

Each player starts with an empty hand and gets to pick a series of cards from the draw pile. There are quite a few different suits with various symbols and powers. At first, however, you just have to focus on getting more points than your opponent. In most games, the card with the highest value in each suit gets counted towards your total, so it's not all about snagging the most cards, but those of the highest value.

You need to pay attention, however, as, when you draw two cards of the same suit in a single hand, you get busted and lose all the cards. As such, you must always consider the potential risk of getting another card from the deck.

Once you grow accustomed to the mechanic, the game introduces special powers for all the card suits. For example, the cannon cards allow you to discard one of your opponent's cards from his hand. The sword one allows you to steal one of his cards, while the chest and key cards can combine to give players double the amount of cards.

There are some cards with negative effects, like the Kraken, which forces players to draw two more cards. What's more, the effects are mandatory in most cases, as you can't choose to not execute them. The only case where they don't count is when you don't have any valid cards to steal, for example. The whole array of powers can seem a bit confusing at first but they're introduced slowly and you can easily figure out the best strategies and when to use them to their full power.



After a while, the game also throws in bonus skills for both the player and his foes. These include improvements for card abilities, such as the cannon destroying a whole suit of cards, or the oracle unveiling three upcoming cards, not just one.

There is a huge amount of tournaments inside Dead Man's Draw, most consisting of a series of battles against various opponents. While at first they mostly involve reaching the best scores, various other main objectives are introduced, such as reaching a score of 60 first, and other such things.

Enemies will put up a challenge and know when to use card combinations for the most damage against your score, as well as when to maximize their various skills. The lack of other difficulty modes also means that rookie players will have a tough time as they progress through the tournaments.

The stylized visuals are pretty good, as are the character portraits for each of the main pirates. The card effects are also pretty well done, but nothing out of the ordinary. In terms of sound, the core track will get a bit tedious if you're playing prolonged sessions, as will the repetitive sound effects.
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Use card powers ...
... but don't go bust
Conclusion

Dead Man's Draw is a fun and innovative card game that certainly deserves the attention of many players, especially those looking for a challenge. While it has very few downsides, one of the biggest is the lack of a multiplayer mode, at least a local one, which would've worked wonders for the whole experience.

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story 6
gameplay 9
concept 10
graphics 8
audio 7
multiplayer 0
final rating 8.5
Editor's review
very good
 

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