Runespell: Overture

Runespell: Overture

Runespell: Overture

Hocus poker.

If you were ever unfortunate enough to get yourself addicted to online poker, Runespell: Overture might be a pretty clever means of rehabilitation. It could be methadone to poker's heroin, in fact: providing structure for your card games, while dialling down the real money expenditure. Maybe the NHS should publish it.

Runespell takes that structure from the familiar world of fantasy stereotypes. Like Puzzle Quest, it's a simplified slice of RPG with something else where the fighting should be. In this case, that something else is playing cards. You make poker hands to pummel your enemies into submission, clubbing them with clubs, acing them with aces, and then hitting them with a bunch of fives.

Runespell keeps things simple and casual. Your hooded character moves through a compact world map, going from node to node and fighting monsters. In towns, he can pick up quests ("Hey, go and fight some monsters"), buy stuff at shops ("Hey, this will be useful when you fight monsters-), and chat to the locals ("Hey, you look like you might be good at fighting monsters"). It's pretty - Runespell's small world is drawn in rich purples and golds, and the battle screen features particle effects and some surprisingly intricate 3D models at the top - but it isn't very involving.

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