Slay the Spire – Game Review

A Review of Slay the Spire by Aditya Rao

https://store.steampowered.com/app/646570/Slay_the_Spire/

Introduction:
Slay the Spire is a concoction of a roguelike, card game, and turn-based fighting system all glued together by a beautiful fantasy esk artwork. I’ve spent around 15 hours in game and I’ve loved most of it, there were few lull periods between big, edge-of-your-seat combats which work to keep the game spontaneous and repayable.

The Gameplay:
The game does so much right, and barely anything wrong, which makes the game an all-around enjoyable experience. Slay the Spire is separated into 3 separate acts which progressively get harder and increase the difficulty of enemies drastically, I personally was only able to complete Acts 1, 2 and half of act 3, as the game can throw a variety of curveballs at you which make or break your game. This can make the game extremely frustrating, but it also makes each and every run unique. The amount of depth in Slay the Spire is amazing, the amount of individual cards and effects for each character is nothing short of impressive, however, this also makes creating a consistent deck quite frustrating, as sometimes you know you have the card you need in your deck, but you won’t get it, thereby potentially destroying your run. One thing that makes slay the Spire interesting in the moment when playing is its HP system, your HP doesn’t regenerate between combats and encounters unless you use a potion or find a rest stop in which you can either rest or smith (more on smith-ing later). This style of HP system requires you to subdue your cockiness early on, when you have lots of health to spare, in order to maintain your health for the later, much harder fights, which will inevitably devourer your HP. This HP system keeps you on the edge of your seat between acts (after the completion of an act you get a regen to full) and thus creates a lot of tension. This creation of Tension through the HP system is also combined with the tension created by the card casting mechanics, as you (generally) only have 3 energy out of 3 energy at the beginning of your turn (some cards and more) and cards can be as expensive as 3, thus making the right decision between attacking, or defense can take time to think about. However, all of these factors can (and often do) get overwhelming between accidentally glossing over factors, such as the enemies next move, the cost of cards, or your own HP because of the sheer number of cards you can have in your hand or something related. This overwhelming especially affects the potion system, as it is barely visible unless you directly check it, otherwise, you will most likely forget it exists, which lead to a lot of unnecessary deaths. Furthermore, the amount of potion slots is quite small for 1-time use items, and potions aren’t even that powerful! This makes the potion system feel very half-baked (even though there’s a wide variety of potions drops to get). The game can also get very tedious at times as the constant grind of fighting lower level enemies can get you really bored, especially early in the act. Lastly, the map system though interesting and fun, can be very binary, which is odd, since three or four starting point choices are given per map at the beginning of the act, but it happens because there are almost all ways one deceive route for you to go that would be the most efficient. When I say efficient, I mean, least amount of combats, the maximum amount of shops, mainly unknowns and most importantly, rests. Rests are super important because they are one of the only ways to regen HP, or to upgrade your cards to make them more powerful (and they are always safe). This makes the map system feel like it’s cheating itself at times and makes a worse user experience. Overall, this game is a great blend of strategy and chance

Performance and Visuals:
As I stated before, the game is beautiful, the art for almost every creature, monster and boss are amazing. There are a few creatures and bosses which either seem lazy or out of place, but for the most part, this game is worth buying for the art itself. Performance wise, it runs smoothly on my laptop (Asus GU501) which s not very difficult seeing as the game mainly consists of basic animations and minimal movement of the sprites. However, at times I did experience freezes, which did not result in a game crash which were only slightly annoying.

Other things:
Slay the Spire also has multiple game modes and settings:
Characters:

  1. The Ironclad – Heavy, damage dealing dude
  2. The Silent – My favorite, has a good amount of damage dealing cards but an excellent array of defense focused cards along with the blitzkrieg mentality of having more cards in your hand at once.
  3. The Defect – I haven’t played this class much, however, it seems very fun as it utilizes a whole new way of damage dealing, completely separate from the Silent of the Ironclad which utilizes orbs which deal different effects in addition to what you play using your cards.

Game Modes:

  1. Normal – just your normal game with the normal mechanics
  2. Challenge – generally has a different challenge every week for you to attempt to complete
  3. Custom – Here you can make the game as easy or as difficult as you want. There are multiple options to buff yourself (Green options) or handicap yourself (Red options) or just make the game different (blue options)

Conclusion:
In conclusion, Slay the Spire is a very fun and enjoyable experience between its roguelike elements and in-depth card system in an otherwise simplistic (relatively speaking) game. The game is almost infinitely replayable because of the amount of depth it has which is also mixed in with a literal luck of the draw chance system make the game unique on every playthrough. Though the game has its flaws, I don’t think many of them are too serious or deal breakers as I really had to look for any errors. The only main thing I feel as though could benefit the game the inclusion of a list of all the effects and the specifics of how they work (for new players mainly) so, for example, you know that poison takes effect at the begging of your turn. Another thing that would be useful is a break down of all the effects on a creature and how they are interacting (along with the effects n you) so that you can see the exact damage you’re doing and what you need to do (this feature may be in the game already, but even if it is, it needs to be more obvious or pointed out).

At $15.99, I think it’s worth picking up, preferably if it’s on a sale for anything around $11.99.

If I had to put a number to it (even though I hat the numbering system) I would give it an 7/10 (5/10 is an AVERAGE GAME, like Madden and other games, it is not Subpar), the only reason I don’t give this an 8 or higher is because of it being in early access, giving the game a lot of time to swing around. If there is anything new that I think warrants an update, it will be updated here with a new date.

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