Going to go ahead and get this out of the way at the beginning since this is becoming a trend… Once again the game we are talking about today does not fit into any of our current lists and thus a new list must be made. I was trying to keep these lists broad so that there wouldn’t be so many created but alas here we are. So with “Slay the Spire” we are creating the “rogue” list. Essentially this list will encompass any games with heavily randomized gameplay or procedurely generated levels creating unique play-throughs everytime you start the game. Two games from our horror list will be ported over to the rogue list as a starting point. “Monster Train” being placed in the number 1 slot and “Vambrace: Cold Steel” as number 2. Now with that we have that out of the way let us jump into the good stuff…
What is “Slay the Spire?”
Well as you probably know by now “Slay the Spire” is a rogue like game. With every play-through being randomized. The game play of “Slay the Spire” plays out as a trading card game. Your goal is to climb the spire fighting off monsters and setting off traps along the way. There are multiple paths up the spire leaving it up to the player to choose which path best suits them. Do you want to go up the path with countless monsters but lucrative treasures. Maybe go up the mysterious path full of traps and events both good and bad. Your decision on the best path will likely depend on your current situation. So what kind of situations might you be in while choosing a path? Well to explain that we will have to start at the beginning and discuss the typical game play loop.
At the start of a new run you will have to choose a hero. Each hero starts with a different deck of cards and will earn different card rewards as they progress. The cards available to each hero tend to work well together and help to develop unique play styles for each hero. Additionally each hero begins their run with a unique relic which suits the heroes play styles. Relics provide a passive modifier that will benefit the user such as “The player draws two additional cards every turn.”
Once you select your hero you are instantly presented with a tree of branching paths. At this point your decision is purely based on your hero and your preferred playstyle. Choose a path with lots of enemies and equally many rewards so that you can quickly build a strong deck with some useful relics backing it up. But risk having low health when you get to the later challenges. Or take the safe path but find yourself with a weaker deck of cards.
Probably should have already explained the health and battle system previously. Essentially battles with monsters are like a turned based rpg where you must choose your attacks to take down monsters. However rather than having a constant set of attack and skills, your abilities are determined by your hand of cards. Like most rpg’s if your hero runs out of health it is game over. Your health carries over between battles. You can recover health at camps which are frequently scarce and an important factor when determining your path up the spire.
A typical run will take 1-2 hours with most resulting in a game over. But all is not lost for even when you lose you unlock more items and cards that may randomly appear on future runs of the game. The sessions being quick and rewarding results in an addictive “one more run” mentality that makes the game very hard to put down once you t started. Which frankly is exactly what I want from a game. Something that is equally challenging and rewarding and easy to get so lost in that you forget the time.
The Win Condition
For the sake of the Gaming Conquest I only required a successful run to the top of the spire for the win condition. I understand a lot of people wouldn’t call this the “true ending” as there is tons of content that can be earned by finishing multiple runs but from am “any%” perspective, one victorious run is good enough.
I am a huge fan of this game. “Slay the Spire” gets everything right when it comes to making a rogue like and is easy to sink tons of hours into without it ever getting stale. It also helps that I am a pretty big fan of deck building and TCGs so “Slay the Spire” is certainly right up my alley. “Slay the Spire” easily takes the number one spot on the rogue list, surpassing “Monster Train.”
Platform: Xbox One. Time to Beat: 6 hours 26 minutes 33 seconds.
How to Play?
“Slay the Spire” is available on practically every modern platform including mobile phones. The game is currently on Xbox Game Pass. Additionally the game is frequently on sale on Steam.
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