Underhand Game Review: Be Your Own Cult Leader In This New Mobile Card Game

7
  • Android
  • iOS
  • Card
  • Real Time Strategy
underhand cult card game review iOS android strategy best free games
Underhand is a new mobile card game that places you as the leader of you own cult. Find out why we think the strategic game is worth checking out. iTunes

Mobile card games are among my favorites, so when I come across a good one, it can be a real treat. This week, while combing through some of the Apple app stores overlooked new game releases, I ran across Overhand. While there are a few kinks I’d like worked out, it’s become a bit of an obsession for me.

Underhand is a single-player card game in which you play as the leader of a mysterious cult. Your mission is to guide your faithful flock along the path of awakening the ancient gods, restoring the world to its natural state of chaos.

You begin the game with eight resource cards in your hand, each of which fall into one of 6 categories: Food, Money, Cultist, Prisoner, Suspicion or Ritual. Throughout the game, you’ll lose or gain more of these cards based on luck and choices you make.

You are also given a second deck of event cards that you will turn over one at a time. These event cards present you with a wide variety of choices to keep your cult thriving as you work towards the goal of awakening an ancient god. These cards fall into a couple of categories.

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Managing resources plays a key role in keep you cult thriving in Underhand. Photo: Player.One

 

Resource-Related Cards - Most cards in the deck are resource-related, meaning they either give, take away or offer the opportunity to trade one set of resources for another. These are pretty straightforward. Simply choose which resource your cult needs most. Cards that take resources are a bit more complex, in that there are consequences if you can’t fulfill the demand. For example, if you have no money when the tax collector comes, you’ll be given extra suspicion cards. Rack up too many of these and you’ll have the police on your case. On the other hand, if the gods demand a sacrifice and you have no cultists or prisoners to offer, you’ll have an extra “Wrath of the gods” card inserted into your deck that will penalize you later. Cards that allow you to trade resources are always optional and incur no rewards or penalties beyond the exchange of resources.

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Various events can be inserted into your deck depending on choices you make in Underhand. Photo: Player.One

“Insert” Cards - Some of the cards you encounter offer opportunities to insert others into the deck. In most cases, this is a good thing, as “insert” cards will move you along the path to awakening an ancient god. One of the first you’ll encounter is a God Event Chain card, with a picture of a god on it and several small diamonds at the bottom. The diamonds indicate how much progress you’ve made toward awakening that god. In some cases, inserting new progress cards into your deck won’t require anything from you. In others, you’ll have to make a costly sacrifice to move forward. If you are unable, the card is shuffled back into your events deck to revisit later. Each time you insert a new progress card into the deck, you move one step closer to awakening a god.

When all the event cards have been turned over, the discard pile is shuffled and you continue to handle events, inserting new progress cards into the deck whenever you can. If you manage to insert all the progress cards in the deck, the final one will awaken an ancient god and you will have won the round.

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With each new god you summon, you have the option to add blessing cards to the deck. Photo: Player.One

Summoning your first god is only the beginning. Each god you awaken (there are seven, currently) comes with a set of blessing cards that you can have shuffled into the deck for the next round of gameplay. Each awakened god brings new challenges. Additional event cards will lead you on new and more dangerous expeditions that make awakening all the divinities downright tricky. In some cases, making a “bad” decision actually opens the door to awakening a new god. For example, at one point you may need to sacrifice a cultist to feed your people. This inserts a “Red Dreams” card into your deck that will invite you to try it again, eventually putting you on the path to awakening the god Wiindigo.

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The are currently 7 different gods you can summon in Underhand. Photo: Player.One

Successfully completing each round requires careful management of resources and anticipation of needs. You need to establish a careful balance as running too low on food, money or cultists will add consequences to your deck if you can’t meet the demands of various event cards. Getting greedy has repercussions as well. If you have more than 15 cards in your hand, a Greed card will be inserted into your deck. These randomly remove five cards from your hand, often leaving you lean on a key resource.

Though I found the gameplay enjoyable overall, over time it does become a little stagnant and repetitive. The insertion of the new gods and extra events helps keep things novel, but because unlocking each god requires reshuffling the deck multiple times, the rounds can feel long and tedious, which may cause some players to abandon the game before awakening all the gods.

Despite these kinks in the gameplay, I did find Underhand unique compared to anything I’ve played on the app store. So far the game has been offered completely free of charge, with no ads or in-app purchases, which tells me this is more of a passion project than a monetary endeavor. The game includes some great artwork, funky music and intermittent radio news sound bites that add to the creepy ambiance of the game. These qualities, along with the strategic elements of the game, drew me in from the start.

If you enjoy single-player card games with strategic solitaire-like underpinnings, Underhand is worth checking out. It’s available now for free to download on the Apple App and Google Play stores.

 

REVIEW SUMMARY
Underhand Cult Card Game
7
Be Your Own Cult Leader In Underhand Mobile Card Game
Underhand is a new mobile card game that places you as the leader of you own cult.
  • -great artwork
  • -creepy/quirky music
  • -unique gameplay
  • -strategy
  • -no in-app purchases
  • -ad-free
  • -gameplay becomes stagnant/repetitive over time
  • -requires some trial and error over strict strategy.
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