MONSTER TRAIN / DEVELOPER: SHINY SHOE / PULISHER: GOOD SHEPHERD ENTERTAINMENT / PLATFORM: PC / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Similar to last year's sleeper hit, Slay the Spire, Monster Train is a roguelike deck-building game. Where the two games differ, however, is that here you’re the bad guys on the defence.
The story goes that hell has frozen over and you must protect the last burning pyre from heaven's forces and restore the inferno. Your train, consisting of four floors, moves through different areas, being bombarded by enemy visitors. Enemies usually come in on the ground floor and then attack and defend; if they survive, they move up to the next floor. Your cards consist of defenders and spells, with each defender having a capacity value, only allowing you to put a couple of defenders on each floor. At the fourth floor, they’ll battle your powerful pyre and, when that dies, it’s game over. As you progress, you’ll gain new cards, upgrade existing ones and gain artefacts that add special abilities. Like with all roguelikes, once you lose, all your deck is gone and you start from the beginning.
The game takes a while to get going, and having to repeat early levels can be a bit of a grind due to how long levels take and how straightforward it starts out. Once you get a few new cards and upgrades though, things slowly become a bit more interesting and tactical. There are over 200 different cards altogether and, although the artwork on the cards isn’t anything special, the characters themselves look decent, and they utilise a wide range of different mechanics that anyone who’s played collectible card games will be familiar with.
Other than the standard single player mode, there’s also an online multiplayer mode where you battle other players, a daily challenge with online leaderboard, and a mode that allows you to create your own challenge for others. It’s hard not to compare Monster Train with Slay the Spire, as they’re very similar set ups, but this too is a fun game that’s worth checking out.