By Chris Picone, 05 December 2022
I've played a lot of deckbuilders over the year; I love the genre and the only downfall normally is that in the indie sphere the focus is so strongly on the gameplay that the graphics are often neglected. Not so for Deepest Chamber, which combines some very nice graphics with roguelike elements while still delivering a strong gameplay experience with innovative mechanics.
Deepest Chamber provides you with a branching run, although more balance is needed - often, one branch will smash you into a bunch of elite combats while another branch will feature a string of events and rest points, and there's not enough cross-over between branches to alleviate the issue. Combat's the main point of this game. As expected, you're pitted against one or several monsters and use cards to battle them. There are instantly more layers here than I expected; you have three characters and a shared deck - but if one of your characters are killed, you no longer have access to their cards. You attack as expected, either slashing or slinging fireballs and so on, and the normal sort of card synergy found in this sort of game features; however, there's another layer: One of Deepest Chamber's core mechanics is "boosting." Boosting occurs by playing the cards on either side of a card, and can incur some serious bonuses so often you will have to weigh up the best move for right now versus the benefits of setting up a boosted play. Blocking is a little trickier than in most games as it involves setting up a defence and then taunting the enemy into attacking at the right moments. Combat is seriously challenging, and mostly well-balanced although I think some tweaking is still occurring. At the end of the combat you win some coins and items that can be used during the run (if you're lucky enough to find a shop) and relics and red candles that can be used to upgrade your metagame for future runs, although this is another section that I do think needs some more balancing.
So, my first impression? This is a very promising deckbuilder. Other developers would probably push it out in its current state; after all, it's a complete game that looks great and everything does work - but not Balcony Softworks. They've taken on community feedback and extended the early access period to finish tweaking and add the final bits of polish that will take it from being a decent game to an incredible experience. The mechanics are interesting and fun if a little unintuitive so I don't know if I'd recommend this one to players new to the genre but if you're a fan of deckbuilders, either buy or wishlist it now and keep an eye on those updates because I expect the finished product will be amazing.