I love co-op games, but I don’t think I’ve ever gotten the chance to play a co-op card battler. That’s a bit of a surprise, because the roguelike deckbuilding/card battling genre seems to have exploded in the last few years. I guess a game like Battle Bands was an inevitability—and I didn’t expect a card battler to take the form of a music competition, but I dig it.
Battle Bands is a roguelike deckbuilding card battler where you and a team of three others form a band to battle it out against other teams of players, or against the AI while touring across a roguelike overworld. Each band consists of a guitarist, keyboardist, bassist, and drummer—but don’t worry if you don’t have any musical prowess: you don’t actually play the instruments in Battle Bands. Instead, you play cards, and when cards are combined with other cards from your team, you generate hype to outscore your opponent as you swap turns trying to outperform each other.
Each position you can play in Battle Bands represents a different deck. That means if you choose to mainly play as the Drummer, for instance, you’ll get used to playing with the unique cards in that deck. The more you play, the more experience you gain for each deck, too—and that means more cards you unlock to help your band outplay your rivals.
While Battle Bands can be played solo, it’s so much better to play with a group of friends. You can either team up against other bands in the Royale mode, if you’re into player versus player or take your band on the roguelike road as you travel from venue to venue, dealing with events, and battling it out with awesomely designed rival AI bands.
Battle Bands is an Early Access game, and that means it’s still in active development. According to its Steam Early Access Game information box, it’ll be in development for the next six to twelve months. In that time, developer Aerie Digital will be working on balance, and more customization options. But right now, the game has all core features implemented—it definitely doesn’t play like a game that’s in early development.
Battle Bands looks like it’s shaping up to be a fun game to play with friends—so make a band, get on the bus, and start touring. You can take part in this Early Access release—or what the developers are dubbing “Season 1: Opening Act.” Each season will include a set of cosmetics and enable you to get in-game currency to unlock more customization options. There are also microtransactions if you want to pony up real dough for some in-game items. I’ll l be keeping an eye on Battle Bands as it makes its way through Early Access.
Battle Bands is available now through Early Access on Steam.
A Steam key was provided to us for this preview.