A Game By Its Cover 2021: Short Rest

“Short Rest” by SweetHeart Squad (Sean S. LeBlanc, Michael Hetman & Ian Martin).

“A cute but deadly [deck-building] roguelike with unique spark. Carefully strategize as you make your way through the dragon’s dungeon, and save the village from calamity!”

In “Short Rest” the villagers, plagued by undead and monsters, have been waiting for a long time for some heroes to dry up the source of their misery. One day a group of daring adventurers – consisting of an onion knight, a tomato rogue, a priest cat as well as a mage dinosaur – gets lost in their area. They answer the inhabitants’ call for help and thus learn that they must strike down the Immortal Dragon. However, the malevolent creature cannot be attacked directly, as it has taken up residence at the end of a dungeon riddled with minions and traps. Therefore, three levels must first be successfully traversed before the final blow can be delivered.

In these catacombs you have to beat up hordes of different enemies. Sometimes you will be confronted by a family of anabolic rats, then again by a winged giant eye with a skeleton brought to life as a companion, or an enchanted mirror that makes wise use of your strengths and weaknesses. The individual battles are turn-based in design, with the figure at the front of the line always fighting the other on both sides. Each turn, you can either play the always available “Advance” card, which bounces a character against a monster and usually subtracts exactly one life point, or any other action card – including massive attacks, mighty spells, supporting or group formation-changing magic – from your own hand.

It is important to know that the order in battle can not be changed without the help of a card. This makes strategic planning ahead an extremely important aspect in “Short Rest”, as well as collecting and getting to know the action cards in order to build a proper deck with them. However, finding the exact cards that will ensure your victory always requires a bit of luck, as the consequences of the random events scattered around the dungeon can always be both a curse and a blessing. You find a treasure chest? Maybe it holds a powerful spell, or maybe the chest itself is a nasty creature attacking you from behind. Your squad is weakened from constant fighting and thirst? The well in the corner could provide you with healing or it could be poisoned.

You must constantly weigh your chances and sometimes make a sacrifice to succeed. For example, the temporary death of a hero or the burning of an action card can mean that from now on you can hold an additional card in your hand, which hurts in the short term but expands your tactical options in the long run. In addition, at bonfires that are always waiting for you before a new level, you can completely heal the four heroes by destroying one of your cards. These clever mechanics, combined with the diversity of actions and enemies, make “Short Rest” a jam game rich in content and variety, the likes of which you rarely get to experience. [PLAY]