A Fusion of Fun and Strategy: Cobalt Core Review

Cobalt Core by Rocket Rat Games and Brace Yourself Games is a delightful surprise, blending rogue-like, deckbuilding, and shmup elements into a unique gaming experience. As one of my favourite games of the year, it effortlessly combines deep yet accessible combat mechanics, engaging characters, and a mysterious plot, leaving me wondering why this genre hybrid wasn't explored sooner.

The heart of Cobalt Core lies in its ingenious crew and deckbuilding mechanics. Your crew composition directly influences the cards you add to your deck, determining the actions you can take in each turn. The well-balanced initial crew of 3 encourages adaptability as you unlock and integrate new characters, such as the quirky goat boy Isaac or the mysterious wizard Books.

Isaac's focus on summoning objects to the mid-row introduces a strategic layer, allowing you to deflect enemy attacks and deploy drones and missiles. The variety in crew abilities keeps the gameplay fresh and encourages experimentation, especially as unlocking characters is tied to defeating Zone bosses and uncovering lost memories.

The game's rogue-like nature introduces randomness through spaceports, offering opportunities to repair your ship, upgrade cards, or remove them from your deck. Optional challenging battles and random events enhance replayability, providing unique card choices and game-changing benefits through Artifacts. The latter can be character-specific or generic, catering to various playstyles and offering rewards for strategic decision-making.

Unlockable starting ships add another layer of complexity, requiring dedication and skill to acquire. The vibrant visuals and colour-coded cards, matching specific crew members, contribute to the game's cartoony aesthetic reminiscent of Star Fox but with its distinct flair.

Cobalt Core's musical score complements the gameplay, featuring dynamic tunes seamlessly fitting into the shmup atmosphere. Combining bright visuals, engaging characters, and energetic music creates an immersive and enjoyable gaming experience.

Cobalt Core earns a well-deserved 9/10 for its innovative gameplay, diverse mechanics, and high replay value. Learning was straightforward, and the game had a deep learning curve. The characters are hilarious and relatable. Sometimes, I would say something to see one of the characters telling me something. It's a must-play for fans of rogue-like, deckbuilder, and shmup genres, offering a refreshing take on hybrid gaming. I hope the developers would also consider a versus multiplayer mode.

Special thanks to Dare Drop for allowing me to check out the game.

Cobalt Core on Steam
A sci-fi roguelike deckbuilder with a deep new single-axis spin on tactics games! Dodge missiles, line up your cannons, and blast ’em out of the sky... Then get to the bottom of these time loops, before it’s too late!