Oaken is a turned based tactics card game developed by Laki Studios.  It was published by Goblinz Publishing, and Surefire Games.   Oaken was released on July 20, 2023, on Steam.  You can purchase it on the Steam Storefront. On behalf of the Handheld Gaming Community, I would like to thank the publishers for the review code.


Party Members Oaken

In the game Oaken you are tasked with exploring the Oak and defeating the creatures who would cause it harm.   This game really ticks all the boxes in terms of genre.  It is a turned based tactical rpg.  You collect cards that contain allies or special attacks, so it is a card battler as well.  Finally, when you fail and get the dreaded game over, none of your level progress is lost.   Your character keeps the levels they gather and is ready for the next run.   That puts it under the “roguelike” category.


When you open the game Oaken and start playing for the first time, they will put you into a prologue, that is essentially a tutorial.  It takes you through many of the basic concepts that you will be using when you play the regular game.   If you find yourself coming back to the game after an extended time away, you can always play the prologue again. 

The Lady

You play as “The Lady”.   You can direct her around the battlefield one space at a time.   At the end of every turn, you can determine which way you face.   This does matter as it does in other tactics games.  You have certain attacks that can only target enemies in your line of sight.  Also, it matters when it comes to when enemies attack.   If you are not facing them you may not get a counterattack. Another way the direction matters is what direction your enemies are facing.  If you are in their line of sight and attack them, you will take damage.   If you hit them from behind or otherwise out of their line of sight you will take no damage or significantly less damage.  The one thing I wish is that if your character does enough damage to kill the enemy, they wouldn’t counterattack.

battlefield 1 Oaken

Each level has a primary objective.  This objective must be met in order to complete the level.   There is also bonus objective.   This will just reward you by giving you more lumi dust to upgrade your units. You get more experience points as well.   I like that the objectives are always in the upper left-hand corner.  They are always updated to reflect your progress.  


battlefield 2 Oaken

Coming from the Nintendo Switch I am always pleasantly surprised when a good looking game is locked in at 60 fps.  Oaken’s artstyle is really nice.   You play as a plant person, and all of the graphics look very bright and colorful.  


The background music and sound effects are very solid in Oaken.   The music doesn’t vary all that much, but given each play session won’t be very long, it works out.  


The Story Oaken

Oaken doesn’t have much in the way of a story.  They present you with the basic premise, that something is wrong with The Oak, and you are exploring it to try and find the problem and fix it.    Luckily the mechanics of the game more than compensate for a lacking story. 


Levels Oaken

I think that at a cost of $19.99, you will get a lot of play time with Oaken.   It is one of the games that I have started to play, and can’t put down.  Especially if you really enjoy tactical games.


I had a really good time with Oaken. The game did do a good job preparing me for the challenges it was going to present me. The graphics are bright and colorful. It is a game that you can pick up if you have a lunch break, and probably finish a few levels. Parts of the game reminded me of other card battle games like Hearthstone, and Steam Quest. Other parts of the game reminded me of some of my favorite tactics games like Triangle Strategy. If this sounds like a game you would like to play, you can purchase it on the Steam Store for $19.99. It is also available on other platforms. On behalf of the Handheld Gaming Community I would like to thank the publishers for the review code.

Oaken is a great tactical card-based RPG by Laki Studios. You won't find a more bright and beautiful game. The game is wonderful for playing in short bursts. Oaken isn't rated for Steam Deck but I have played it with no issues.
  • Good game for playing in short bursts
  • Graphics are bright and colorful
  • Runs flawless on Steam Deck
  • Story is very basic
Gameplay - 8.5
Graphics/Performance - 9
Sound - 8
Story - 7.5
Value - 8.5
Written by
My interest in handheld gaming started when I was in high school. I was obsessed with getting a Game Gear. I was so excited to have a relatively high quality gaming experience (for the time) with me wherever I went! As I became an adult, handheld gaming always maintained an important part in my life. I was thrilled to take my handheld gaming to the next level when I got a Playstation Vita, and later a Nintendo Switch. My go-to genres are arcade racers, and RPGs. While I don’t really like games like Minecraft, the Dragon Quest Builders series compelled me so much. I spent over 200 hours between the two entries.

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