|Platforms||PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 (Reviewed)|
|Release Date||February 17, 2022|
When the previous Voice of Cards game, The Isle Dragon Roars, was released in October 2021, I had a blast with it. Despite having a simplistic aesthetic and rudimentary combat, the game just worked for me. The groundwork they laid there has set them up to be able to produce these quickly. Now, only a few months later, Forsaken Maiden has launched and the emphasis on the story they’re telling is evident.
Spiritual Content: There are fantasy tropes, including giant monsters that consume entire islands unless the maidens are offered as sacrifices.
Violence: The game has implied violence in combat but shows no gore, save a scene when some characters appear to be covered in blood after a battle. It shades their clothing red but beyond that is nothing.
Sexual Content: While the first Voice of Cards game was drenched in sexualized art, Forsaken Maiden keeps all of the characters’ clothing respectable. One character is shown to be pregnant
Drugs and Alcohol: There are no drugs or alcohol.
Language/Crude Humor: I don’t recall any foul language.
The Forsaken Maiden follows the story of our silent protagonist and Laty, a young mute girl you found in a cave. On Omega Isle and its neighboring isles, the island’s maiden has taken on the role of protecting their respective homeland. Now, Omega Isle has no maiden and it’s clear to you Laty was supposed to take on that role.
Over the course of 10-15 hours you, Laty, and Lac, a magical puppet that accompanies the group, will travel from island to island, seeking help from the neighboring lands’ maidens to both help them and restore Laty as the maiden of Omega Isle.
Though only told by a single narrator, the story of Forsaken Maiden is a fun, engaging tale. The series’ simplified aesthetic has let the team focus on their storytelling and it shows. Each of the other islands has its own setting as well as a unique maiden with its own plights to fight beside and resolve. Between island visits, you’ll have to help Laty work through some of her own personal demons via a spirit dungeon where you’ll help her conquer some crippling character flaw. It all culminates in some epic battles, though, if I’m being honest, the story overstays its welcome a little. I would’ve been completely satisfied if the game wrapped up a chapter or two quicker.
Like Isle Dragon Roars, Forsaken Maiden has a pretty straightforward RPG gameplay system. You’ll fight battles, earn experience, and level up, gaining new abilities along the way. Abilities require gems you get each turn (or can be banked with certain abilities). This leads to a neat balancing act that will have you choosing abilities to complement the team, exploit elemental weaknesses, and enable your team to utilize their stronger abilities. It’s fun but there isn’t a lot of variety in the combat as the game wears on.
The world is a 2-D grid, with each spot being represented by a card. As you explore, the cards will turn face up to reveal the terrain. Every few steps, you’ll trigger a random encounter. That “random” encounter didn’t seem very random, though, as it seemed to trigger every 3-4 steps. While I enjoy both the game’s combat and exploration, the frequency of encounters felt far too high. Then again, that could’ve led to my other major problem with the game: late-game encounters felt virtually impossible.
The game’s difficulty felt fine but ramped up in a brutal way for the final encounter. I went in with an inventory full of healing items and, after several hours (yes, hours), I had to walk away with my head bowed in shame. It was both infuriating and disheartening in what would’ve otherwise been a game I really enjoyed.
I love the aesthetic of the Voice of Cards games. It’s brilliant in its simple nature. The hand-drawn art is gorgeous but the lack of flash keeps the focus on narrative and game mechanics. Forsaken Maiden has a fantastic soundtrack, too. I love the tabletop motif for combat, too.
Voice of Cards: The Forsaken Maiden is a simple, enjoyable JRPG with beautiful art, solid gameplay mechanics, and a wonderful story. While the random encounter rate is a little too high and the narrative gets bogged down, everyone who gives it a try will enjoy their time with Laty and the other maidens.
Review copy generously provided by Square Enix.
The Bottom Line
The Forsaken Maiden is a fun, basic JRPG that tells an great story but ultimately falters by overstaying its welcome.