Our Rating – 8/10
The thing about deckbuilding games is, after a point of time, they invariably begin to feel the same. You know, similar deckbuilding and progression mechanics with little but the aesthetics to differentiate them. That’s why when Doors of Insanity didn’t really catch my eye at first. But I went into the game with an open mind, and thank God I did check it out, because it has plenty going around that sets it apart from the average deckbuilder.
Don’t get me wrong, from a broad perspective, it doesn’t feel very groundbreaking because on the surface it follows the standard deckbuilding tropes. But, it has enough personality, and a bunch of unique mechanics to keep it fresh even for the veterans of the genre. For instance, the dice rolling system. Often you’ll be provided with dice that you can in addition to your deck, to attack or defend yourself. Not only does this add another layer to the game’s card-based combat system, it brings about a whole slew of possibilities and combinations for different gameplay styles for you to try.
Talking about gameplay styles, one place where the game definitely needs to improve is, funnily enough, the cards themselves. This could be due to the Early Access nature of the game, but the range feels pretty limited right now. Not to mention that each run starts with more or less the same cards, which means that players can easily begin to get tired of them soon. But the game’s Purgatory system does try to improve upon it, transferring one card to your next run every time you fail, but apart from that, the rest of the deck remains essentially the same. Needless to say, a little more variety, both in the kind of cards and the starting lineup would go a long way.
But that doesn’t mean Doors of Insanity doesn’t bring anything great to the table. In fact, the game’s overall design is where it shines the most. The often absurd encounters, paired with the game’s rather unique art style and animations more than make up for the game’s shortcomings. It has a certain charm that you don’t really get to see in a lot of games from the genre. And if you’re savvy of meme culture, you’ll find plenty of stuff to appreciate as well. Like being carried off in a casket by a group of rather cheeky skeletons, I’m sure you all know which one I’m referring to.
Another great feature that Doors of Insanity offers the players is being able to level up between different runs. During a run, you can collect magic crystals that you can further choose to invest in cards and other equipment for subsequent runs, which means the more you play, the easier the game will feel. Additionally, you can also unlock permanent bonuses. This provides players with a whole lot of more options, people looking to just enjoy the game and progress can choose to spend on items, while the more discerning, hardcore fans can simply ignore the levelling up altogether, going for a more challenging experience.
Whether you want to focus on your stats or fashion, there’s plenty of room to play around when it comes to character customization. You have the equipment to put in almost every slot, from legs to helmets to chest armour, and all of it is reflected on the character. It can affect your playstyle as well, like in an RPG where you can go for a more defensive build than pure damage-based, considering the risk-reward tradeoff.
Like I said, on surface, Doors of Insanity seems like a fairly standard deckbuilder. But the solid foundation, coupled with the game’s quirky nature offers more than enough to warrant a playthrough. And while the game needs more variety, even now there are plenty of options to keep you coming back. It’s refreshing, doesn’t take itself too seriously, and has an impressive, albeit strange mixture of everything for players, both new and veterans to enjoy.