Slay the Spire is an indie game from developer Mega Crit and published by Humble Bundle earlier this year for PC via Steam. Being a primarily console based gamer, I hadn’t heard of it. Recently the game came to PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch and thus caught my attention. If you like card games and quick thinking strategy, get ready for your new addiction with Slay the Spire.
Slay the Spire is at its core a deck-building card game but with roguelike elements in terms of progression. Each time you play, a map of the tower is randomly generated and players must choose a starting point. Depending on your character choice, there are three total, you will be assigned a base deck. As you progress you will gain new cards in various ways. Defeating enemies in battles will allow you to pick one from three random cards, the merchant sells them, and you can also acquire them and other items from random encounters on the map. This “build and customize as you progress” took some getting used to at first but really adds an extra element of strategy I thoroughly enjoy now.
Combat in Slay the Spire is turn based. Each round the player starts with a new hand of cards. Each card has an energy cost, your base energy per turn is 3 but this can be modified in various ways. Enemies have an icon over their head giving you an indication if they are going to block, attack (and for how much damage) or use a special ability. The player must then juggle use of their hand and resources to hopefully block the amount of incoming damage, attack, or use a power card. Slay the Spire uses a combination of math and card synergy that brings to mind Magic: The Gathering in terms of complex strategy.
Each of the three playable characters uses a different card pool and plays differently. Each have various playstyles and combos that the player can build upon. Each also start with a base relic that gives each a distinct playstyle. This feature just adds to the fact that every playthrough of Slay the Spire is different so it never gets old. It really doesn’t. I have been playing this game almost every day since I got it. I even purchased it on Steam so I could take it on the go with my laptop. There is even a daily challenge where you can compete with other players on the leaderboard.
Slay the Spire isn’t much graphically, and that is fine, it doesn’t need to be. However the art design is fantastic. From the enemies, characters, and even the card art, the overall effect is a style that is simple yet defining. This also allows Slay the Spire to be played on lower end laptops and hopefully it will be ported to mobile someday. Audio/Music is also rather basic but quirky enough. After a few long sessions you may be inclined to just put on some good “thinking music” in its place. Gameplay is the star in Slay the Spire.
Slay the Spire is one of those games that if someone enjoys card games, or strategy in general, they will enjoy if they got 15 minutes to demo it. Hopefully someone at Mega Crit makes that happen. More people need to get a chance to be sucked into this game. Slay the Spire is shaping up to be my favorite strategy game of the year. I see myself playing it for a long time to come. Pick it up yourself, you won’t be disappointed.