This review of Nowhere Prophet was conducted using a copy of the game given to us by the game’s publisher. This does not affect our judgement of the game in any way and is explained for the purposes of transparency.
Released in July 2019 for Steam and July 2020 for PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch, published by No More Robots and developed by Sharkbomb Studios. Nowhere Prophet is a Roguelike Deckbuilding game with fantastic artwork and a brilliant sound track.
Introducing interesting mechanics to create a unique experience, Nowhere Prophet sets the player on the strange world of Soma. Decimated by an event called the ‘Crash,’ leaving vast wastelands dotted with large industrial cities and several small havens from the dangers that lurk everywhere.
You are a prophet, contacted by a falling star, to undergo a journey to The Crypt. You gather your followers and lead them on your pilgrimage across the dangerous wastes of Soma, a broken world and a shadow of its former self. Engaging with beasts, men and machines to complete your journey, gathering equipment, food and raising the hope of your followers.
While the cardbuilding genre isn’t a particularly new one, Nowhere Prophet introduces new mechanics into the deckbuilding genre, mainly wounds and Karma.
If a card is defeated in combat, it will be removed from the battle and become wounded, reducing its cost when next played. But, if it is defeated while wounded, it will be permanently destroyed. Wounds can be healed at certain camps and settlements, but your cards healed are random, meaning your favourite card may not be healed at all.
This leads on to the next mechanic, Karma. When a card lands the final hit on the enemy leader, they gain Karma. If they are wounded, they are healed, meaning you can risk a wounded card in order to heal it. This also means there is the possibility that it will be permanently destroyed. When a card has Karma, however, they are buffed, increasing their stats.
Nowhere Prophet creates an intriguing blend of Technology and Eastern Religion, with the world consisting of bands of other religious groups, seeming to praise technology. This melding is reflected heavily in the music, it being a blend of synth and North Indian classical music. Honestly, Lightfrequency, the artists behind the music, have done an amazing job.
Having played this on Nintendo Switch, I must admit that the controls can be awkward from time to time. You have to use the joystick to move a cursor in battle, which has led to some misclicks happening. Though this is not really the fault of the developers, I feel like this would be avoided completely if I were to play on PC, for example.
There is also the huge difficulty spike at the end, in the final battle. The first time I reached the final boss, they had managed to buff a unit with over 30 attack and 20 health. Which wouldn’t be too much of an issue if the card didn’t have the ‘Robust’ trait.
‘Robust’ means that when a card is defeated, it is not removed from battle, it simply moves back one column. So to remove this card, I had to defeat this insane robot multiple times, which would result in the defeat of my card every time.
Also, on their turn, they can just move it back to the first column to restart the process. Maybe I got unlucky and was unprepared on my first run, but all I could think is, how can ANYONE beat that?
Overall, Nowhere Prophet is worth picking up for fans of the deckbuilding genre or even those new to the genre. Adding unique elements, an interesting setting and story and great music to back it up, Nowhere Prophet is a fun game. The minor issues are overshadowed by the rest of the game and I am going to playing Nowhere Prophet for some time.