Today we are highlighting a unique project in the Metroid community, Cardtroid! A Metroid fan called Ben has created a casual strategy card game based on the series, taking inspiration from a variety of mainline games. Cardtroid is still in development and we hope that spotlighting this fan game will allow it to reach a wider audience.
Hey, my name is Ben, but I often go by Deadweight. Admittedly, I’m a very recent Metroid fan, but the series has cemented itself as my absolute favourite in gaming, so much so that I am now developing a casual Metroid-themed card game, aptly named Cardtroid. As with many Metroid fans, my first adventure as Samus Aran was with Super Metroid in 2013. Very few games had given me that feeling of anxiety like when I first plummeted down Red Brinstar and had to scavenge the items necessary to make my way back to the Gunship, the only source of safety on the strange world of Zebes. Naturally, after finishing Super Metroid, I wanted to replicate that experience. I bought the Prime Trilogy as soon as it hit the Wii U eShop, but I must confess that I didn’t like the gameplay style much at first. However, I picked up Zero Mission shortly after, and its guns-blazing, easy to pick up style has easily made that game the entry I’ve gone back to most.
But I think there was one very distinct turning point that made Metroid special to me. After falling particularly ill, I was required to go to a hospital in another city for a week, away from family. Fearing the loneliness, I downloaded Metroid II minutes before leaving for the week ahead. I had seen a lot of fan love for that entry, and was feeling a little desperate. With nothing else to focus on, I fell in love with that game. The quiet, unsettling soundtrack accompanying the slow descent further into the depths of SR388 brought back that anxiety, but on a whole other level. I fell in love, and finished that adventure three times in that week.
Since then, I’ve played almost every entry in the series thus far. The Prime Trilogy eventually became my favourite style of Metroid, with a brilliantly crafted narrative that made the worlds feel more real than any others I had experienced. Interestingly, I finished Corruption hours before watching Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which has a freakishly similar final climax.
It’s safe to say that no other series in any medium had captured me so quickly in so little time, and it left me wanting to show some love for it in some way. Inspired by friends of mine making their own card games, I began thinking of possible designs and mechanics that would serve each characters’ individuality well, and allow them to upgrade. Originally, I was only planning on covering the Prime games, due to how much lore and material there was to work with, but I couldn’t resist representing even more of the series canon. Since the summer, I’ve been working on this project on and off, spending countless hours on researching even the most minor of enemies. I didn’t think I would ever know an Ing’s average intelligence (about that of a high-functioning shark), or that there are moths in the Great Temple (yes, those get their own card too), but that’s the fun for me. If anything, this project hasn’t made me sick of all things Metroid, but instead has made me appreciate it on a completely different level. And since I’ve attempted to make each card as faithful as possible, I hope that this brings others to appreciate the source material further too.
As for the game itself, it’s fairly casual, with two randomised decks trying to defeat every card in the other. You can have up to 5 cards between hand and field, and up to three on field. Drawing costs nothing, but you only have 5 actions to use on your turn, which includes placing cards on field, equipping items, and attacking. Items can only be equipped to a corresponding slot, e.g. the Wave Beam can only be attached to a Gun slot. Items increase attack levels of cards, to overcome levels of Energy on opposing cards, and each card on field can only attack once too, which adds a level of strategy. The number of items you receive on your turn is dependent on the Agility of cards on field, so even weak cards can have some use. I would be more than happy to receive feedback on Twitter via @Cardtroid, where I make routine posts on various mechanics and characters, as well as general updates. The ultimate goal would be to make this game public in the future, but I would like to assure that it is as perfect as I can possibly make it before then.
I came across Ben’s concept for a Metroid themed card game, and was intrigued to learn more about what it entailed. In recent years I have become interested in tabletop games when meeting up with friends. Some of my favourite card based games have been Sushi Go and Escape the Dark Castle. A tabletop game themed around my favourite video game franchise sounds like a dream come true, especially with so much lore in the Metroid franchise to draw from, there’s bound to be a large amount of content to inspire and build upon, so I truly hope that Cardtroid Ben can achieve this goal, and I look forward to the day that I can play it with my friends!