Home Dice Android Game of the Week: Roll the Dice to Determine Your Destiny in Dicey Elementalist

Android Game of the Week: Roll the Dice to Determine Your Destiny in Dicey Elementalist

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Playing Sagrada made me want more board games. Unfortunately, as we discussed last week, good board games on mobile are pretty rare. However, there’s a lot more to offer if you expand your definition of what constitutes a board game to include dice and card games. There are tons of these on mobile, some of which are quite good. Dicey Elementalist is one of those great choices for Android.

Drawing inspiration from classic sword and sorcery role-playing games, Dicey Elementalist blends deck-building, randomness, and rogue-lite dungeon crawling to create an experience that stinks of Dungeons & Dragons with some notable tweaks to enhance the experience of small mobile game sessions.

It’s a great deck builder, it’s free with ads and in-app purchases, and it’s a strong contender for our list of the best Android card games.

Dicey’s Elementalist setup is stereotypical sword and sorcery nonsense that equates to a war between demons and “elementalists”, who are more or less elemental-based wizards. To fight the good fight in this war, you pick a character class – like The Fearless, The Stealthy, or The Chanter – that’s vaguely reminiscent of tried-and-true TTRPG classes like Barbarian, Rogue, Bard, and more.

It’s not a one-to-one comparison, but these character classes, combined with the smoky tavern that serves as your base, the hand-drawn maps, and the savage and goofy monster designs, create a setting that gives off a positive flavor.

Dicey’s Elementalist setup is stereotypical sword and sorcery nonsense that equates to a war between demons and “elementalists”.

The mechanics of the game itself are very simple, with one-click touch controls for every function at your disposal. After choosing a character, you’re dropped into your first dungeon, where you tap in different directions to fight monsters, play occasional mini-games, trade with merchants, and eventually take on the dungeon boss.

This is where the real meat of the game happens, with each character having different abilities that affect how they play. As you move through the rooms, you’ll have to fight all sorts of baddies to progress. Combat is dictated by the six cards you have in your deck, in addition to the dice that determine which cards you can roll (think of your dice as mana). On your turn during combat, you may roll as many cards from your hand as possible by rolling and re-rolling your dice up to three times.

A collection of three Dicey Elementalist images.  One is the level up screen with rewards, another is the battle, and the last one is the stage victory screen.

(Image credit: Android Central)

Luck elements in battle are mitigated by how you can choose to hold selected dice rather than re-roll them. For example, you might have a card that allows you to gain six armor, but you must have two pairs of identical dice to roll it. Or maybe you have a meaty fire spell card, but you need three dice to land on the fire symbol.

Your first roll might only give you two shots, but then you can choose to hold those two fire dice and only re-roll the remaining three dice in hopes that one of them will be fire, thus giving you enough literal firepower to cast your most powerful spell.

This is the most basic version of how combat could play out, but as you unlock more characters and start learning their unique special abilities, you’ll soon discover new ways to take on the fight. top it in those fierce one-on-one duels.

The fun gameplay is backed by a great soundtrack that evokes the medieval setting, hand-drawn characters, and a progression-based leveling system.

And make no mistake, Dicey Elementalist is one of those games that expects you to lose. Once you start a given run, you need to conquer four dungeons to complete that run successfully. The trick is that once you start a run, your character’s health doesn’t magically restore after a given round of combat.

Instead, you’ll need to craft and bring potions with you, get lucky and find a trader in dungeons, build a deck that allows you to heal, and a few other clever strategies to increase your chances of survival. Some enemies are pretty tough, but they tend to spawn in the same areas of the dungeon over and over again, so you’re meant to learn their moves and come back after failing with a better strategy to beat them.

A collection of three Dicey Elementalist images.  The first is a dice mini-game, the second is the Sing in a dungeon against a large ogre, and the last is the leveling skill tree.

(Image credit: Android Central)

The fun gameplay is backed by a great soundtrack that evokes the medieval setting, hand-drawn characters and enemies, and an upgrade system tied to your overall progress. The more you earn, the more you can improve your abilities and buy new characters or equipment.

There are a few downsides to Dicey Elementalist though. The biggest is the ads, which are damn annoying. Ads appear quite frequently, mostly when you die, encounter a magic reward sprite that lets you spin a wheel for prizes, before a boss, and after races. The worst thing about advertisements is that they are long and sometimes won’t close automatically when done. If you put your phone down to wait for the 60 seconds to run, you’ll still have to come back and manually exit the ad. I even had a few ads that crashed the game on me!

It’s annoying enough that now I avoid reward sprites and take paths that allow me to bypass them. The rewards they give just aren’t worth the 30-60 seconds of pain.

A collection of three Dicey Elementalist images.  The first is the in-game store with additional characters to purchase, the second is The Stealthy's character sheet, and the third is the Potion Crafting Shop.

(Image credit: Android Central)

The other downside is that only one character, The Fearless, is available when you start playing. You can then unlock The Stealthy using the in-game currency (which you can get quite a bit of just by playing), but the other four characters can only be unlocked by paying real money, with costs ranging from 1 and $2. This definitely hurts replayability for players who don’t want to spend money on the game.

That being said, these downsides aren’t game-breakers for me, but they do impact what might otherwise be a near-perfect experience. Ads and paid characters aside, Dicey Elementalist is a well-made game that manages to scratch the itch of playing a tabletop RPG without having a live group of friends to do it with.

I have no doubt that fans of dice and card games like Slay the Spire will find much to enjoy here and since it’s free I highly recommend you at least give it a try and see how you like it.