Card Shark review via

Are you tired of following the rules? Playing well and letting each other’s talent decide your fate? Then you need to check out Card Shark. This is the new nugget from Nerial studio, which has already served us up with the excellent Reigns, a kingdom management game based on cards and “swipes”. But this time, instead of your hand wisely sliding to the right or left, you have to deviate from the beaten path. Through a strange concept, Card Shark throws us into 18th century France and teaches us the most cunning tricks to get gold from lovers of the ace, king, queen and both of them. army tone.

The test was performed on the PC. Card Shark will also be available on the Nintendo Switch on June 2, 2022.

Actually, editor Devolver Digital is a lover of maps. After publishing the excellent Inscryption in October 2021, he is back with a new project from the Nerial (Reigns) studio: Card Shark. A card game where the goal, the concept, is deception. We’re not talking about a strategy that can be activated or deactivated between two hands: all phases revolve around this principle, as is the scenario for that matter. The player consists here of an employee of the inn, deaf in addition, found a good day with the Count of Saint-Germain. Under his gentlemanliness, the man is an expert hand deceiver, able to strip anyone at the game table. An apprenticeship that can easily prove attractive.

Strong foundation

Because Card Shark appeals first of all thanks to its recipe, its concept. Nerial studio offers us here a good collection of cheats, both clever and completely wacky, with almost thirty techniques in all (for 8h-10h in lifespan). Each of them takes the form of a game stage, a kind of mini -game that usually has multiple stages. For example, serving wine to a guest, looking with his hand over his shoulder, showing your complicity on long cards in front using a table symbol. Yes, Card Shark doesn’t ask you to follow a game from A to Z. You are also more likely to help your friend cheat than to cheat yourself. Each “mission” is thus divided into three phases, in which the strategy laid down in the high part of the Count of Saint-Germain must be applied. The more rounds involved, the more the table gains will increase, as will the doubts of your opponents. Other cheating moves really require speed and accuracy, and even the slightest mistake – or thinking a bit too long – keeps the entire assembly alert. If he opens you up, the game ends immediately. However, it is possible to alleviate these suspicions using “perfect timing” movements.

The formula may seem simplistic, however the stages of playing Card Shark are actually an awesome efficiency. That’s because they mix speed, accuracy and calm, but most of all because they’re able to transcribe some situations surprisingly well. Like dragging a pack of cards with your thumb, for example. In this case, a move too much with the right stick can save you precious seconds. The same happens at times when you need to pour a glass of wine and mix the deck. With practice, Card Shark techniques can become natural and natural. Their complexity is so clearly reproduced here, that there is a good balance between necessity and accessibility, so that we almost believe we can deceive ourselves. Very few strategies – especially at the end of the adventure – will require an advanced understanding of the cards. In these few cases Nerial showed a slight lack of pedagogy, which can be frustrating (note that in a quick way, you can get the clues in the middle of the game and even win without having to play). Because understanding a deception well is having the guarantee of success. And the unforgettable was often very expensive in France in the 18th century.

Castle on the card

We’ve been talking about cheating, big money for a while, but what about the Card Shark structure? Because you’re not very good at cheating in space-time and teleporting yourself. After a brief introduction, you will be released on the streets of France with the Count. Many destinations will open their arms to you, from Versailles to Toulouse, even in Germany. Not all of them are mandatory to improve the scenario but each time reserve a new cheating technique. Each mission is divided into two distinct parts: training with your teacher, comfortably sitting in a horse -drawn carriage; then practice this technique on the field, facing other players. A structure needs to be more numerous but always challenged. Some games have nice surprises in store for you (after all, you’re not the only one who knows how to cheat) and a loss will always land. Sometimes it can be bankruptcy, imprisonment or worse: death. But even in this horrible case, you can get rid of it. Note that Card Shark offers “permadeath” at its highest difficulty: even permanent loss of your save and character if you accumulate too many mistakes.

Card Shark – First nest egg thanks to cheat (Gameplay)

Card Shark thus tries to bring to the player a sense of freedom but it does not act beyond that. Choosing your destination can be useful if a mission initially seems too complicated or you don’t have enough money to participate. But it does not go beyond the stage of “a little more”. This is the same observation for further map activities in France. Beyond the basic quests, it is possible to access a permanent game board to recover money if there is a problem (in this one, you choose the trick to perform from a choice of three techniques) and in your “cheater camp”. The latter allows you to find some familiar faces and help your community through donations. Unfortunately, this money is obviously of little use, other than bailing out your account in the event of bankruptcy. It’s too rare for changes to be of real interest. Overall, we’d love to see Card Shark offer more point’n’click “exploration” scenes to punctuate the overall, as sometimes happens during adventure.

A winning hand

Because yes, Card Shark isn’t perfect. You may find yourself without a penny in your pocket to repeat old tricks that you no longer thought of. Or curse sometimes for missing a step later in the game that forces you to start again, even if you swear you have an advantage. But nothing serious. Usually, Card Shark remains addictive, appealing, always manages to rekindle the player’s interest with its qualities – in part – and thanks to the natural curiosity challenged by its concept alone. Simply put, we always want to know more about the Count’s crazy methods. Especially since this search for theft in France is accompanied by an even greater mystery, about the King himself. All lined with burlesque and smooth dialogues, a soundtrack well in tune, not to mention the unique artistic direction that gives this trip a unique patina. Nerial’s studio didn’t play us, and took from his arm a unique and unique title.

Card Shark: The game of cards and cheating hurts the heart!Card Shark: The game of cards and cheating hurts the heart!


Strong points

  • A unique concept that catches the eye
  • More than “mini-games”
  • Techniques transcribed by talent
  • A successful artistic direction
  • Burlesque, humor and smooth writing
  • A game you won’t forget anytime soon

Weak points

  • A somewhat excessive structure
  • A slight lack of pedagogy

We waited on Card Shark impatiently and so much to say that we were not disappointed. At the same time clever, original, fun, effective, the game from Nerial studio offers here a unique adventure. It has to be said that the very concept of the title – to teach us about the thirty tricks of cheating cards – is the source of a natural curiosity, which you always want to know more about. But the makers of the Reigns still go on. Under the guise of simple mini-games to transcribe these clever and bizarre strategies, Card Shark surprises, approaching the proper handling of cards without making the whole insoluble. Actually, yes, there are a few times when Nerial lacks pedagogy, or the structure turns against the player with a lot of frustration. Nor would we say no to a less repeated pattern. But how can you remain indifferent to so much beauty? For us, at JV, it’s a big yes!

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