Card Shark

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Card Shark (Nintendo Switch) – Review

Developed by Nerial and published by Devolver Digital, Card Shark is an adventure game full of cunning, cheating, and showmanship. Your objective is to cheat your way to the top of the social ladder.

In Card Shark, you will learn the ways of cheating at card games to raise your social standing. You pour the table’s drinks are your teacher plays, getting a sneaky look at cards, relaying the information across to your teammate by wiping down a table in certain motions, partially filling glasses, or even in the way you perform the pour. You will come across many teaching moments to learn tricks to help you cheat from failed shuffles and card marking, and soon enough, you’ll play the role of a card shark – Just don’t get caught. Other gamblers will not be happy about being cheated.

The game is set in 18th century France, though you don’t get to explore much. What you do get, however, is beautiful artwork for the small villages and luxury mansions, almost like a watercolour painting full of vibrant colours. You will encounter a wide range of characters and stories that will start to bring a bit of conspiracy to the table, with people saying they are someone else, or motives discussed behind closed doors that you will only discover as you climb the social ranking.

Most of the time though, you will be looking at cards. The way each game plays out and what actions you can do for cheating, or playing honestly, has a gripping effect and Three-card Monte was my personal favourite to cheat at.

Card Shark has an impressive orchestral soundtrack throughout. It is an original score created by Andrea Boccadoro, and it is a great addition to the world of Card Shark, really hitting the 18th-century theme perfectly. The controls for Card Shark are easy to pick up and each mini-game will have different inputs to be performed. When you are learning a new cheating skill, you’ll have to successfully complete it several times before it will let you move on, but input prompts will always be displayed during games so no need for a picture-perfect memory.

Card Shark is a fun game to pick up and play if you need a distraction. They have done a good job of recreating how to cheat during high-tier card games, and while there is a story present, I found myself just wanting to jump ahead and keep playing and learning cheats. The existing artwork is nice to look at, but I wish there was a bit more to the levels as it was mostly empty with interactions. Positive marks toward the soundtrack though. It was a perfect match to the environment of the world, but I found the story overall to be a bit hard to keep focused on and struggled to keep track of what was happening.

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The Good

  • Fun learning card cheats
  • A lot of cheats to learn and master
  • The nice soundtrack suits the era setting
  • Nice artwork style for the backgrounds

The Bad

  • Mostly empty work for interactions
  • Could use story notes for the main key points.

Written by: Shane Walsh


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