Deck ‘Em! – Review
Follow Genre: Card game
Developer: Frosty Pop
Publisher: Frosty Pop
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

Deck ‘Em! – Review

Site Score
Good: Simple and fun card game mechanics
Bad: No upgrades or progression
User Score
(1 votes)
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Card games are seemingly getting more popular by the day, and this is something developers are picking up on too. Frosty Pop is more known to make mobile games but the company started porting those to PC a while ago. Today we’re taking a look at Deck ‘Em!, a more recent addition to their Steam lineup. This solitaire-style boxing game is as casual as it can get, though that doesn’t mean it’s easy. And more importantly, it’s a lot of fun!


There’s not much here in terms of plot. You get a few lines from boxing commentator Howard during the tutorial, explaining that you are a rookie fighter on the professional circuit. You’re up against the champion and nobody has any faith you will win, but maybe all you need to do is last twelve rounds and that’ll be enough to go down in the history books. From there, it’s straight into the game itself.


Deck ‘Em! looks really good for what is essentially a mobile app reworked for the PC. The cartoon-style graphics are charming and give personality to the very simple mechanics. There’s not a lot of variety at first glance: you’re working with a very limited amount of cards and the screen doesn’t change much overall. But there are a lot of little details which make the game feel dynamic. Examples include Howard reacting to your rounds or the card representing your boxer changing depending on how much damage you take. Combined with the extremely saturated colors that pop off the screen and the surprisingly smooth animations, the game definitely brings some visual interest to the table.


The sound design is very simple in this game too. There’s a very minimalistic background track that plays throughout your matches. It does loop, but since every match takes five minutes to play, and this game is designed to be enjoyed in very small bursts, it’s not as annoying as it sounds. You got some nice sound effects too as the cards are being laid down, the crowd cheers for you, and the bell signifies the end of each round. It’s nothing groundbreaking, but it all ties together pretty well.


Deck ‘Em! is a card game based on boxing that has very plain mechanics and takes both tactical insight and luck to win. Every match in the game takes about five minutes to play, which makes it perfect for casual gamers or to play while listening to a podcast. Where the goal of other games is to win, in Deck ‘Em! you only need to survive. During each round, the champion draws four cards and lays them on the table. You can use these in any order you want but they must all be played to proceed.

The Champ cards are the ones you have to look out for since they will damage you. A number on the top left of the card will tell you exactly how many hit points they have (hit points here mean their health but also how much damage they do). Your own boxer only has a limited amount of health too and first aid cards are rare, so keeping an eye on how much damage you’re taking is important. Sometimes you get punch cards which you can use to knock some of the hit points of the Champ down. Usually, it’s not enough to get rid of them completely, but it does come in handy. There’s also a special Uppercut card that will redirect said Champ back to their deck. That means it can come back to bite you in the ass later, but at least you won’t have to worry about it for the moment.

The most important cards in the game are blocks. Again, Deck ‘Em! is about surviving. Block cards have two numbers on them. The one at the top shows exactly how much damage they block. If that number is higher than the Champ you’re going up against, that means you take no damage. If it’s lower, you just take less damage. Still better than nothing though! What complicates matters is that block cards run out of stamina. The first time you can use them freely, but after that they will only block damage from Champs that have the same amount or fewer hit points than the previous Champ you blocked. This is when the order of the cards you play and when to use your own punches can become important.

To make deciding a little bit easier, you have two more empty spaces at the bottom of the screen (next to where your boxer and your currently activated block card sit). In the corner square, you can temporarily hold onto one additional block card or maybe a first aid card you don’t want to use just yet. In the punch square, you can keep a punch card you haven’t used yet. All in all, the mechanics are extremely simple but maybe that’s what makes Deck ‘Em! so addictive as you’ll need some practice to get the hang of smart plays. And once you do, it’s fun to see how many matches in a row you can win. The game has no upgrades and no meaningful progression. The only reward you get from your matches is money which counts towards an online leaderboard.


If anything, Deck ‘Em! proves that a game doesn’t have to be complicated or long to be a lot of fun. You can easily sink hours into this title without getting bored, and since it’s laughably cheap, that definitely feels like a good deal. Now if only we could earn money as easily in real-life boxing matches…

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Deck 'Em! - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

Games are my escape and writing is my passion.

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