Nowhere Prophet is a deck-building rogue-lite with an over-arching story. The battle gameplay loop feels similar to Slay the Spire.

But as you journey through Soma, you can see influences of games like The Banner Saga and The Oregon Trail. All of the decisions you make have an important bearing on whether or not you succeed on your mission. Will you make it to the end and discover the voice guiding you, or become another corpse on your journey?

Name: Nowhere Prophet
Developer: Sharkbomb Studios
Publisher: No More Robots
Genre: Card Game, Rogue-Lite
Price: $24.99
Availability: Nintendo Switch, PC, Xbox, PS4

Concept

Players assume the role of a newly minted desert prophet, chosen to lead a caravan of followers across the desert. The caravan progression system borrows from the multiple path choices presented in games like Slay the Spire. But Nowhere Prophet adds an extra layer with meaningful choices beyond just adding new cards to your deck.

Points of interest on the map can be trading posts, campsites, and known combat points. Some points of interest can help the prophet secure new, elite followers. Markets also provide access to new followers, equipment, and Leader abilities. New equipment can grant new abilities as well.

Each time the prophet levels up, players can choose one of five cards to add to their deck. You can choose three of the cards to turn, and one to keep. Leveling up also increases the prophet’s maximum health and focus points. Focus points are used to prune the Leader deck of any negative cards.

Luxury items are used to increase hope and grant a unique combat ability for a single round. They also offer a powerful way to turn difficult fights in your favor, if you share often with your caravan.

Nowhere Prophet Review – Gameplay

Nowhere Prophet review

Cards have an attack value, health, and special modifiers like taunt, stealth, and more. Followers can be deployed in fights, but you risk losing them. Each removal from the battlefield results in wounded status.

Followers can take two wounds before they are completely destroyed. Leader cards are abilities that help turn the tides of battle. New leader cards can be gained by dismantling equipment cards, adding an extra layer of strategy to the deck building portion of the game.

The Follower who deals the killing blow to end a combat encounter will receive a blessing. Blessed followers immediately heal their wounds and gain +1/+0 while blessed. Receiving a wound ends the blessing. Ending battles with wounded allies can help clear sustained wounds if you’re tactical about it.

At the end of each battle, the Caravan gains experience and a variety of loot based on the destination chosen on the map. This loot may include new followers, items with buffs and abilities, or resources to help the caravan survive. Keeping wounded followers alive means you can’t rely on one powerful unit or combo of units as a continued Hail Mary.

Decisions Matter

Nowhere Prophet review

As you make decisions that affect the fate of your caravan, you increase or weaken their beliefs in three areas. Believer, Scholar, and Altruist can grant unique approaches to how you meet challenges later on. Every decision you make grants some points in each of these three areas.

How you build your deck in the early encounters affects how far you can progress. After a short trek on the map, you’ll encounter a boss fight. Boss fights have unique conditions defined by the buff icon below their portrait. These conditions can be challenging to overcome if you’re not prepared.

Graphics & Audio

The biggest weak point in Nowhere Prophet is its graphical presentation. While the lore of the world feels very rich, the card designs lack appeal. The game’s map feels very basic with how much you interact with it. There are also no special animations or anything for any of the characters. It’s a basic deck-building card game.

Music is very EDM. The battle music is frantic and fast-paced. It’s serviceable for the world of Soma, but not the greatest soundtrack you’ll hear. Check out some of the tunes on Bandcamp to see if you enjoy it.


Nowhere Prophet Review – Switch Port

While the interface is clearly designed for a mouse, the developers have done an admirable job of making the game playable with a controller. The deck-building interface follows the format established by Hearthstone. Some of the text is small in handheld mode, but all cards have a zoom mode by pressing ‘X’.

I’ve played around ten different expeditions since getting the game and I haven’t experienced any crashes or game-breaking bugs. It’s also worth noting that load times are pretty short compared to some games.

Conclusion

Nowhere Prophet is a great mix of strategy management games with card-based combat. The progression and unique journey in Nowhere Prophet makes each run full of unique choices that subtlely change the way you play. There are enough deck sub-types to make multiple playthroughs just as compelling as your first.

Rating


TL/DR

Nowhere Prophet is a fun deck-building game with a post-apocalyptic world to explore. Unlock new deck archetypes with each successful expedition.

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