Games of the Year

Shadowhand

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Shadowhand is a strategic RPG card game. Duel powerful enemies with unique solitaire-style turn-based combat. Equip your character strategically to sneak, slice and blast through foes! We follow the story of Lady Cornelia Darkmoor, a beguiling young aristocrat who masquerades as the notorious highwaywoman, Shadowhand. Fleeing a crime scene and forced to act under the cover of darkness, Shadowhand's mission to safeguard a woman she holds dear leads to a web of corruption, smuggling and blackmail.
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Game Discussion

Review by Anonymous
Review from Steam

Well haven't played solitaire or similar card games in a while, but Shadowhand was quite pleasant surprise. It did look pretty solid so decided to give it a try. 20 hours later and all gold stars on normal difficulty can say it was quite good time passer. There for sure is more challenge with some levels included as layout of packs and cards can really play ton how it will end, so RNG tends to play it's issues here, but characters skills, items do help quite much to deal with it, so Shadowhand doesn't become nuisance. Also one can have up to 10 special cards to play in hand to deal with tricky situations.
Levels are mainly two types, either solitary solitaire where one needs to get all of the cards from table, or maybe not? Keening on requirements for chapter to be filled among from many levels. And other being duels where card combo build up makes hits open for both sides and higher combos increase damage output radically. Some pocked items are included with good lot of different status effects and so on.
So what can say about Shadowhand, it has basic solitaire aspect, but it has very well mended to become RPG along with having several different ideas applied to make the solitaire part more interesting. Did highly enjoy this title and it gave good 20 hours or playtime among it's 22 chapter story.

Review from Steam

A really fun and challenging twist on a card-battler + solitaire + RPG mash-up.
Much deeper than this dev's other game "Ancient Enemy".
The story is a bit deeper and more developed, though don't expect a detailed quest-line or back-story. For a solitaire=based game, it's deeper than most.
More RPG elements than most similar games- with a skill tree, a huge variety of weapons and gear to choose from. Like to min/max? You may need to to beat the game in Very Hard Mode (I gave up on Very Hard- I hate min/maxxing.)
Art is good- not earth-shattering, but colorful, and crisp, with the protagonist changing appearance as you euqip different weapons and gear.Music is a bit loud, but appropriate for the game, and it can be turned down in the settings menu.
The game will most likely launch with an error the first time you play it- Full-screen does not work well, if at all. Change it to Borderless Windowed. If you change machines, you will likely need to change the settings on the new machine, as well as selecting your existing character- the game will restart as a new game. "Change Player" to find your existing character (make sure you have Cloud Saves enabled).
Like most solitaire-based card games, you will restart or replay hands a good bit. Expect to do so. 20.7 hours is what it took form e to complete the game in Normal difficulty, without trying to have all perfect 3-star hands. If you are a "perfect game" player, expect a fair number more, so you can restart or replay hands or chapters to perfect them.
Price? The $/hour is good, even at full price, IMHO. I got this on discount, as it goes on sale fairly regularly- bought it in a bundle not too long ago- I think it came out to 75% off. So, yeah. I am fine with the price I paid. Keep an eye on the price using SteamDB or isthereanydeal, or Wish List it to catch it at a deep discount if you are interested in casual games like this one.

Review from Steam

Solitaire with an RPG flair
Shadowhand is just that. You'll play as the character Lady Cornelia Darkmoor fleeing a crime scene and thus adventuring for a solution.
Gameplay
The game plays out in a series of chapters which the story is told through a mixture of visual novel elements, character sheet and inventory management while the main crux of the game is that of a semi-unique brand of Solitaire. It's kind of like what Puzzlequest is to Bejeweled but for Solitaire instead. You have cards 0-9 and you're able to remove cards from the field provided they are within 1 in either direction of the pulled card from the deck. There are other cards such as 'spares' that act as a sort of sort of 'hold' like you would hold a Tetris block and 'jokers' that behave as a sort of a wild card.
There's essentially two types of sequences outside of the visual novel. What I called 'exploration phases' and battles or duels.
During exploration phases, you are faced with clearing a certain number of cards using the deck and your own active abilities, abilities like removing a card you couldn't normally or shuffling cards on the field, knocking some off the board etc. These, among other items, weapons, gear and abilities can be bought and sold through the merchant during specific stages within chapters. Items or quest objectives are also done in these exploration phases.
Obtaining gold is done mostly in this exploration phase as well, combos end when you draw from deck. So it behooves you to keep your combo going, adding a multiplier to the gold extraction value.
There are also suits on the cards and special cards, some stages will ask that you remove certain types of suits to unlock new rows or stacks while other will ask you to, for instance, find a key to unlock a row or stack that is locked — find a lantern to light up darkened cards etc.
During combat phases, the game takes precedence over needing to clear cards off the field rather to instead deal damage to an opponent. This is done by charging weapons with cards.
RPG elements
Since this is not really an RPG and very little roleplaying is involved, the base stats are not something you'd intuit.
• Guile finds more joker and spares
• Willpower reduces the charge required for active abilities
• Insight starts with more cards facing up
• Finesse draws better cards out of the deck.
• Prosperity makes more gold appear under cards.
• Luck removes extra playable cards in your favor.
Some weapons or situations will award collecting specific suits or specific numbers. For instance, one sword auto-charges when an eight is collected. Other weapons have “types” like Sea or Land among others. Some enemies have resistance to these types. While some weapons say melee, the “Sailor's Cutlass” for example, is a sea type.
Duels have you take turns trying to collect cards to charge your weapons and active abilities. Duels also have no limit to the number of hands played, but exploration phases only have one.
The Gist
It's a nice, if not somewhat challenging experience due to the unique rules and scenarios it presents. The exploration and combat phases do have randomized cards but are otherwise very scripted as far as the objectives. I would still probably wait for a sale unless you're very interested in twists on Solitaire.
If you've found this review helpful, consider following my curation — Station Argus

Review from Steam

If you are like me and want a break every now and then from games that require you to dedicate your full attention, then this game is for you, it's very easy to understand and actually a good cards game, while watching a tv show or listening to a podcast, you will be able to multitask while playing.
like the tags say, it's a solitaire card battle game, you get to level up your character and equip it with gear, attribute points and boosts, opponents aren't easy, music is nice but I had to mute it most of the time so I can hear my shows.
I would get it on sale if I were you.

Review from Steam

I wish I could give it a "Meh" rating because it's not the most original idea out there (If you played GSN Tripeaks or Grand Harvest, you've already seen it all, except for maybe the RPG mechanics plus the fact that this game isn't a predatory money pit). I gave it a 'yes' merely for the fact that you can play at your own pace and not worry about 'running out of lives'.

Review from Steam

This is a great game if you like Solitaire-type gameplay.

Review from Steam

More casual than you might expect, but still fun.
The basic gameplay is very simple, kind of like Solitare, match cards that are one digit higher/lower or you have to pass your turn.
But they added some glitter to that basic gameplay. You have powers that charge up by matching X cards, you have passive abilities, and you have ability scores that give you %chance of beneficial effects.
You also have lots of equipment (mostly armor) and weapons to choose from, as well as 3-4 consumable item slots, but these are only used in combat.
The combat is the same gameplay, but you also have to kill a foe using your weapon(s), which charge up just like the powers. Each piece of equipment gives you a minor bonus and some of them synergize when used together. There's usually not much "choice" though, as you receive specific equipment at specific points as you progress through the game, and there are usually some clear top-picks.
The story is terrible. Written for soccer-moms and screaming GIRL-POWER with its female protagonist beating up all those nasty MALES. It's so pandering and offensive.
Re: the game's description, I wouldn't call it an RPG at all, and there's barely any strategy. There's zero "sneaking" except some gear gives you %chance to act first in combat, which hardly matters since you just take turns.
Summary, I had enough fun to keep playing it, so I guess I can vote it up, but it's pretty low-quality.

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