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Sebastion Mauldin

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Phantom Rose 2 Sapphire Review

Reading Time: 5 minutes

I remember coming across Phantom Rose 2 at PaxWest. Upon first glance, it seemed to be a deckbuilding indie with some Persona flair. Then I got hands-on with it and discovered that it was a layered deckbuilding Roguelike game. Roguelikes are my kryptonite. I’ll try any type of game under the genre. That said how does Phantom Rose 2 stack up with others in the genre? Should this be in your video game backlog? 

Let’s dive into it.

Phantom Rose 2 Sapphire Review - Image 1
Phantom Rose 2 Sapphire Review – Image 1

The Narrative:

You play a young woman who awakes in a school without any recollection of who she is and how she got there. She is quickly thrust into the responsibility of ridding the school of the demons that have taken over the school. 

I loved the persona games, and I’m a huge fan of anime, so when I first saw this game this looked like a game that would have a story that was made for me. I’ll dive a bit deeper into the narrative later, but I will say that I was a bit disappointed by what was presented. 

Phantom Rose 2 Sapphire Review - Image 2
Phantom Rose 2 Sapphire Review – Image 2

The Gameplay:

In Phantom Rose 2 you are building your deck while exploring dungeons and fighting Demons. To battle, you use the cards in your deck to whittle your opponent’s health down to zero. To do this you have attack cards with certain attack points, shield cards that can add additional layers of defense for you, healing cards, and curse cards that do a variety of things. 

In each battle, there is a play area with blank spaces. That is where you lay down your cards. The enemy has cards in the play area that are displayed before each turn. You know what your enemy will do each turn, so you can plan around that knowledge to strategize. Strategy is the key to success because you have to decide what to do in each turn in battle, which rooms to explore, and how to manage the cards in your deck due to there being a limit to how many you can hold. 

Deckbuilding Roguelike is a genre that I haven’t experienced. I was skeptical going in, but now I’m certain I would play a Roguelike game in any genre. Even though it’s not the same, Phantom Rose 2 gave me throwback feelings of playing Yu-Gi-Oh video games but combined that vibe with Roguelike elements. 

Phantom Rose 2 Sapphire Review - Image 3
Phantom Rose 2 Sapphire Review – Image 3

Additional Pros:

On the surface, Phantom Rose 2 artsyle reminds me a bit of Persona, especially with its characters and the monster that you fight. All the characters are designed in a sleek and colorful manner that really pops on the PC and Steam Deck. 

There’s a mage mode that offers more of a challenge with the combat since you have to juggle an Arcane Energy bar on top of the base combat. Having to be aware of your energy and how it affects your attack cards is another interesting twist in the game. 

Another aspect of the game that I loved was the non-existent load times. I tried to play this game on many types of PCs as well as the Steam Deck and the game remained zippy. The game perform extremely well on the Steam Deck. In fact, I can’t see myself playing this game if I can’t do it in a handheld fashion.

Phantom Rose 2 Sapphire Review - Image 4
Phantom Rose 2 Sapphire Review – Image 4

Cons/Flaws:

One aspect that I didn’t enjoy about the game is that you have to play it with a mouse. Even on the Steam Deck, you have to use the touchpad to play despite, the fact that this game was given a Platinum grade of compatibility. You can play the game well using the touchpad on the Deck, but it’s an adjustment if you are used to controllers. 

The narrative is an aspect that unfortunately felt forgettable. I didn’t connect with any of the game’s characters, nor did any of the major story beats feel impactful. I get that you’re not playing this game primarily for its story, but having that connection would have added more meaning to the addicting gameplay. 

Phantom Rose 2 Sapphire Review - Image 5
Phantom Rose 2 Sapphire Review – Image 5

Overall/Should you Play Phantom Rose 2 Sapphire:

There’s a lot to unpack here because this game isn’t for everyone. To enjoy this experience you have to like Roguelike, card builders be ok with games with anime-like flavor. If all those elements sound up your alley then you should play, Phantom Rose 2: Sapphire. It has an addicting gameplay loop, The deckbuilding aspect feels like well-worn territory, but the cards and the fact that you can see what cards your opponent will play are two elements that add spice to the turn-based gameplay. While it isn’t perfect Phantom Rose 2 is a fun Rougelike cardbuilder that has more going for it than against it. 

Where Should Phantom Rose 2 Sapphire fit in your video game backlog:

Here at the ProNerd Report and on the Single Player Experience Podcast, we practice the 10 games backlog rule. In this practice, you log down 10 games, those games are gonna be your video game backlog. To be as productive as you possibly can be, we recommend that you only play three games at one time. One single player narrative game, one game that’s gonna be your chill and relaxed game, and another game that’s going to be your palate cleanser game, which is a game that you play when you’re not in the mood for your other narrative. When you complete or get tired of one game, it leaves the backlog list. Then you decide which new game is added to the list, and which game on the list advances to your active three games.

Phantom Rose 2 – If you enjoy games with an anime-style flair and rougelike gameplay then you should have Phantom Rose in your video game backlog. If those aspects don’t appeal to you and you don’t like deckbuilding turn-based games then you should skip out on this one.

Link to The Game: Phantom Rose 2 Sapphire

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Reviewed on PC/Steam Deck

Disclaimer: Review code provided by PR/publisher.

Sebastion Mauldin

Phantom Rose 2 Sapphire Review

TYPE OF GAME

Indie Game, Strategy, Roguelike, Deckbuilder

LIKED

The addicting Gameplay, The Artstyle, The Deckbuilding Turn-based Combat

DISLIKED

The Narrative, Lack of Face Button Controls On Steam Deck

DEVELOPER

makaroll

PLATFORMS

PC

RELEASE DATE

Oct 30, 2023

Overall Rating:

7/10