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Mahokenshi has an interesting premise that builds great card-based game play (Image via Iceberg Interactive)

Mahokenshi review: A solid card game that could have offered much more

Mahokenshi is an exciting name for a game, not only because of what it offers but also because they constitute playable characters. It's a deck builder that aims to walk the path of other successful releases like Slay the Spire. However, it does attempt to create something new that will enable gamers to remember it for their abilities.

The card game genre has evolved a lot, especially for digital ones. Players can no longer play with one task, taking on human opponents. Combined with other elements like rogue-lites and more, these games offer something much more thrilling to play. Mahokenshi felt the same for certain parts of the game when I didn't realize how much time had flown in my playthrough.


But there are also areas where the game felt flat and rigorous. Some come from the game's design, while others are missing basic features.

Mahokenshi is a collection of bright ideas that could have been done better with more polish


Mahokenshi shines the brightest where it's supposed to - the card play and mechanics associated with it. However, it's quite evident that Game Source Studio developers missed certain important tricks. Their presence would have allowed me greater satisfaction traversing through the maps and slaying the enemies.


It all started with the first Mahokenshi and their pursuit to meet certain quests spread across different missions. This introduces us to the main story, which left mixed feelings in my mind.


Despite an exciting presentation, the story felt relatively flat at times (Image via Iceberg Interactive)

The game makes no effort to hide the Japanese influence, and at its center lies the main story, which takes you to the land of the rising sun. There is a strong influence of Japanese culture displayed throughout the game world. It also influences the main story, which has certain twists and thrills along the way.

However, the story's presentation makes it feel very lackluster, as the textbook-styled description misses the essence. I am not sure what could have been a better process, but the existing method felt dry in stages. It felt too straightforward, and more polish would have created better results.

There are main and side quests; you must play both to proceed smoothly. That's about it when it comes to the story, and the focus shifts to the strongest part of Mahokenshi - the gameplay.


The presence of multiple characters makes the gameplay lively and exciting (Image via Iceberg Interactive)

In Mahokenshi, you play as Japanese mystical warriors, and four characters are available. Each has a distinct style, which adds to its strengths and weaknesses. My favorite was Ayaka because of her offensive strength, and I found her suitable for my playstyle.

This is where the complex nature of the game shines through, as each character has their deck. While there are some overlapping cards, most of the decks contain cards that cater to the respective Mahokenshi. Just like you do in games like Slay the Spire, you will gain new cards that will be added to the deck.

You will also be gaining resources that can be used to upgrade the base value of the cards. This has to be a strategic decision since some upgrades are more valuable than others. I felt the number of resources given out was well-balanced, which is just the right amount.

Unlike other games of the same genre, the world of Mahokenshi is a hexagonal grid-based system, and you will have to traverse the map and its different terrain. I loved how movement in certain areas is more accessible than the rest, which costs more energy points.


Energy points are key for you as they decide the length you can travel in a turn and the number of action cards that can be played. You can add cards to your available energy pool, allowing more action per turn.

Some of the missing aspects of the story are overshadowed by gameplay mechanics, arguably the game's greatest strength. Additionally, the deck building makes it a lot of fun.

You will unlock more perks and abilities as you level up each character (Image via Iceberg Interactive)

As mentioned above, each character has a deck, and they are different in how they work. Every character follows a distinct playstyle that varies from one another. Whenever you complete any mission with one of the mythical characters, there will be choices to add more cards.

The cards you add will determine your style of play and how difficult or easy your progression will be. The correct distribution will ensure balance in your deck, and anything else could be problematic. While it might look very lucrative, it's best not to take all the attacking cards when given a choice.

Deckbuilding and card play is the game's shining light. If you're a beginner to this genre, things might initially seem overwhelming. It will be a truly memorable experience for veterans, as the available complexity makes it worth their time.

Performance and esthetics

The influence of medieval Japan is quite strong in every aspect of Mahokenshi, and it delivers on that front. Every main character feels unique, although the enemies could have been better designed. What I didn't expect was for every move to have different animations.


It creates a powerful level of immersiveness for me, a little thing that could also please you. Most card effects and associated animations are decent without going overboard. Mahokenshi isn't a resource-intensive game; I didn't expect any bugs or performance issues. The FPS counts and GPU performance stayed stable throughout, and most systems on the market should be able to run it.


Mahokenshi stands apart in terms of what it offers, despite certain areas where it could have done more. The simple absence of the ability to save in a mission could be a big issue for some. Few missions tend to stretch a lot, and players can lose progress.

I felt that much more could have been done with the story, which sometimes felt predictable and barebones. While the focus has certainly been on card play, the monotonous narrative prevents the game from standing out in the market.

Overall, it's a solid attempt that sticks to its core and delivers on many fronts. The misses, however, are noticeable and take away some of its shine. My expectations were met regarding core gameplay, card elements, and animations. The areas where it fell short could be rectified moving forward, but they remain a problem for the time being.

The detailed scorecard (image via Sportskeeda)

Reviewed On: PC (Review code provided by Iceberg Interactive)


Platform: Windows

Publisher: Game Source Studio, Iceberg Interactive

Developer: Game Source Studio

Release Date: January 24, 2023

Edited by
Srijan Sen
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