You can imagine an action game that requires a clever thumbs up for something like Call of Duty or FIFA. Those that demand mastering shoulder buttons, curved thumbs and muscle memory.
Ard Shark lives up to expectations about an 18th-century thug who is working his way through French society with an eye on wealth and status. If this seems like an unexpected premise for a game, wait until you realize it’s a nerve-wracking, thumb-sweating piece of theater.
Playing as a servant befriended by a wealthy guild-climbing rookie, you form a partnership with the goal of spoofing your way to the king’s table. You might look over an opponent’s shoulder to assess their card and then indicate to your partner the strength of his hand. Or maybe you can mark a card as you shuffle them in such a way that your friend gets a favorable draw. Or offer a false deck that gives you an unfair advantage.
It is all held under the eyes of other players, who would not be pleased to be duped for their money. Thus you must use joysticks and long combinations of buttons to deduce tricks flawlessly. This is where this dice start to happen because there are about 30 cheats in Card Sharp that you learn in succession. Your memory will be seriously tested while dredging the combos needed to deceive your target while executing in a brief window of opportunity. may fail and at most you may lose some cash. At least, well, you’ll have to find that stressful test yourself.
Dressed in an elegant cartoon style with catchy staccato animation and underpinned by a period soundtrack, Card Shark weaves an intriguing back story into gambling and deception. Everything is not as it seems and you begin to suspect that there is little respect among thieves.
Of course, we should deduct points for the ugliness of the title – Card Sharp is the perfect name for a thug who excels at skilful plucking with a deck in his hand. But maybe that’s another trick the game pulls off as effortlessly as a genius griffer—making you overlook something that’s right in front of your face.