"Thank you for submitting your application for the position of Hell's Manager. We are pleased to offer you the job and extend a warm welcome to our team. As you may know, we have some overpopulation issues that we believe can be resolved with your help," starts Heretic's Fork. It doesn't really slow down from there.
Set to an absolutely thundering EDM soundtrack, it's a rare game in the hybrid of real-time tower defense and deckbuilding that feels just excellent in its balance and execution. In it, you draft and combine cards in your small deck in order to play them to add weapons to your tower and deployable minions to the field that will take down hordes of sinners attempting to escape hell. It's part deckbuilder, part wave defense, part bullet heaven, and really quite fun.
You do all this as a mid-level hell bureaucrat with access to the oddly retro computer system HERETIC'S FORK, while a your choice of demonic on-site manager provides powers and abilities to use in the game.
Endless waves of sinners will then try to get out of Hell, taking the form of all kinds of horrid monsters and bosses. As each wave finishes spawning you get to take a turn, drawing new cards and playing them. They can be stuff like adding damage to your towers, upgrading or replacing a tower, or giving yourself active abilities to use—among many normal deckbuilding tropes like drawing new cards or giving yourself more of the limited energy resource.
The clever, unique thing in Heretic's Fork is the interesting choice you make every time you draw a new hand: The resources you use to survive are also used to progress. Striking that balance is the key to play. Cards are combined with others of the same rarity for a new card of higher rarity, but the new card is random. Should you risk getting rid of two useful Rare blues for a shot at a more powerful Epic purple card? Can you afford to spend two of your limited six energy on that choice?
There's a free demo of Heretic's Fork on Steam for Next Fest, until June 26th. It's made by 9FingerGames and published by Ravenage Games.