Card Shark from Devolver Digital: Dare to Deceive

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We’ve been waiting to play Card Shark—from Nerial, the team behind the Reigns games, and Devolver Digital—ever since the 2020 announcement trailer. The game is finally here, we’re excited to  tell you what we think!

Card Shark is the story of a mute young servant who trips into the world of car tricks and sleight of hand while pouring wine for Comte de Saint-Germain, a seasoned cheat. You’ll learn a variety of cheating tactics as you travel through 18th century France visiting manors, inns, and cafés. Cheat your way to the top—or die trying!

18th Century France
Take a trip to 18th Century France to mingle with card sharks, magicians, and your unsuspecting victims.

If you’re completely unfamiliar with a deck of playing cards, you will need to learn the basics first, like the different suits and the court card rankings. The brief rundown at the start of the game will help with this.

Next, Card Shark gradually introduces a number of tricks based on real-life cheats that include peeking, false shuffling, and marking cards. The first simple cheat involves peeking at the opponent’s hand while pouring them a glass of wine, then signaling to Comte what they have in hand.

Deck Swap Trick
Several tricks are performed while pouring a glass of wine. Here, Comte slips you a deck to take back into the servant’s quarters, mark a card, and return.

There are lots of cheats to learn and signals to memorize. On top of this, you need to make sure you are pouring the perfect glass of wine (not too little or too much!) and acting quickly as to not raise suspicion. If your opponents discover your trickery, they could become irate, and someone may wind up dead.

For these reasons, Card Shark is a challenging game, even with 3 difficulty options to choose from. A good memory and a quick wit are the keys to success. Some players could become frustrated if they don’t have the patience to practice and learn advanced tricks. But if you’re patient and persistent, your efforts will pay off, and your victory will feel well-earned.

Challenge
Card Shark is a challenging game, even with 3 difficulty options to choose from.

Here at Nintendeal, we tested the Nintendo Switch port of Card Shark, and we found it a silky smooth fit for this console: fast load times, no frame drops, and you can easily suspend the software if you need a quick break from the game’s intensity.

Card Shark’s high-quality graphics and sound design are exactly what we have come to expect from Devolver Digital and friends. The developers were heavily inspired by works of art depicting 18th Century France, including Stanley Kubrick’s classic film Barry Lyndon. The art style and original soundtrack are charming and whimsical, a perfect contrast to the game’s dark subject matter.

Art Style
We love Card Shark’s art style with its vaulted ceilings, lovely landscapes, and intentional lighting. Each scene is like a charming diorama.

Speaking of dark subject matter, you should know (if you don’t already) that the card cheats depicted in Card Shark hail from real life. Tricksters have been learning, mastering, and cheating with these tactics for hundreds of years. If this game teaches you a trick or two, feel free to show off for your friends, but tread carefully if you plan to become a Card Shark yourself.

So is Card Shark a Nintendeal? Absolutely! We love this game—it’s everything we hoped it would be and more! Card Shark is especially well-suited (see what we did there?) for those who already appreciate playing cards, but anyone can learn the basics to pick up and play this game. If you’re still on the fence, we encourage you to download the free demo for Nintendo Switch. (We have a feeling you’ll be reeled in.)

Platform – Nintendo Switch eShop Download
Publisher – Devolver Digital
Developer – Nerial
Genre – Action, Adventure, Indie
Price – $19.99
Size – 1.3 GB

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