Tamarak Trail - Switch Review

"A promising structure that lacks meat on the bone."

Tamarak Trail - Switch Review
We're partnered with Skillshare, where you can do unlimited online courses that'll help you create art, make games, and even help you with school/university! Click here for a free 1 month trial.

Deck building roguelites are a saturated genre at this point, so it really takes something to stand out from the crowd. Tamarak Trail goes with the approach of removing cards and swapping them for dice. Yarrow Games' breakthrough title has some intriguing concepts; however, the campaign and the grind to unlock features do hold it back. It's time to roll the dice and see if we have a critical hit or will it fumble and land in dice jail with a critical miss.

The Good

Tamarak Trail’s dice mechanics allow you to change the face of the die by swapping different attacks or defensive manoeuvres around before combat. Some of these abilities only get useful after being bumped with another die, such as one of the starting attacks that applies three stack bleed effects per bump. Using abilities costs stamina, which recharges a small amount at the start of every turn. But be careful because stamina is also a health resource you have to manage that protects you from taking damage. 

Speaking of taking damage, the enemies you are fighting are mutated animals, including a pigeon with a hunting rifle. The enemy designs are just silly fun to encounter for the first few times before they quickly become stale and a chore to deal with.

Replacing cards with dice has its drawbacks, but it's a truly interesting design choice because it takes advantage of the physical properties of dice. You have the ability to use another die to bump it to a different result. This comes at the cost of using more stamina, though, so use it sparingly or gently to make use of the abilities that are only useful when bumped.


  • A fun take on the genre
  • Silly designs
  • Dice physics

The Bad

The signature dice mechanic of Tamarak Trail removes the deck building strategy of the genre; the choice adds randomness, which can lead to frustration and potentially even losing the first battle. The randomness can be mitigated with some dice faces that flip to another side, allowing for multiple uses of abilities on the same dice. However, you can run into a cycle of not rolling damage while the enemy recovers their stamina, mitigating the damage you've already done.

Roguelites are designed to be challenged again and again, so they have to keep players interested one way or another. Unfortunately, the campaign winds up feeling lacklustre, with a small variety of enemies and not many events aside from fights. If Yarrow Games adds more enemy types, additional events, and eases up on requirements to progress, it would actually be fun to keep trying to progress.

There's a real grind to unlocking permanent upgrades and characters; it feels very expensive to make any progress. The cheapest upgrade requires five of the upgrade currency, which you only receive from bosses, so if you struggle and don't even defeat one boss in a single run, it feels like wasted time.


  • Less control
  • Lack of variety
  • Extra grindy

Final Score: 6/10

Tamarak Trail has a unique take on the deck building roguelite genre; however, with the use of dice, you trade strategic choices for randomness. The campaign doesn't help keep you interested, and ultimately, it feels like a chore, especially when you come across the same enemies. Yarrow Games rolled the dice with Tamarak Trail and they ended up with a promising structure that lacks meat on the bone.

Thank you for checking out our Tamarak Trail Switch review, thank you to Versus Evil (via Plan of Attack) for providing the review code and thank you to our Patreon Backers for their ongoing support: