SLAY THE SPIRE / DEVELOPER: MEGA CRIT / PUBLISHER: HUMBLE BUNDLE / PLATFORM: PC, PLAYSTATION 4, SWITCH (REVIEWED) / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
The concept for Slay the Spire is simple - you make your way through various floors of a tower until you get to the top. You're most likely to find a battle on each floor, but there could also be a shop, a camp or some kind of choice-based event. At the end of each Act there's a boss fight waiting for you.
Battles involve fighting one or more enemies using your deck of cards, consisting of defence, attacks, skills and powers. Skills / powers are similar - they give you options such as drawing more cards, applying status affects, or even temporarily increasing your stats. Each turn, you draw a hand of cards from your deck randomly, and then play them. Cards usually cost between zero and three points to play, and for the most part you only start with three...
During the battle, you telegraph your enemies moves before playing your cards. It'll tell you if they're attacking or not and, if so, how much damage they're going to deal, so you play your defensive cards accordingly. After each victory you can choose a new card to add to your deck - you can also purchase cards with the gold you earn, and upgrade them.
This is a roguelike, so once your health hits zero, it's game over. Like with any good roguelike, unlockables are introduced once you manage to get a certain amount of XP. Also as with most roguelikes, after a few dozen attempts, the early battles can feel a bit repetitive, and having to start from scratch after spending an hour or two perfecting your deck can get a little tiresome. However, having three different characters with their own unique decks helps it feel fresher each time.
The skill to games like this lies in the deck building. You need to work on having a balance of both attacking or defending, and not having too many high cost cards whilst at the same time not being overrun with low ones. Slay the Spire is an excellent strategy game that's both addictive and challenging. With its large compendium of cards and achievements, it will keep you busy for a long time to come.