Slay the Spire has been available in Early Access for quite a while, but the game has finally been released in its full form - and stands out compared to pretty much anything else on the market. Roguelikes have been a giant part of the industry for a decade now too, but you don't really see these things combined in a mini-game - let alone in a full-fledged game. The game combines a bit of JRPG mechanics with it as well thanks to its turn-based nature and allows you to build new decks and learn as you go. If you find that a certain attack type is weak against one enemy type, you'll want to switch it up - but maybe find that your new attack setup isn't much more effective. Then you find that by combining various cards together, you get a more effective turn and wind up unlocking the mystery behind a certain enemy.


This kind of trial and error can be discouraging, but Slay the Spire encourages you by keeping the tone to the adventure quite light. You may battle an electric eel in one battle and then move on to a gigantic whale. Each has their own strengths and weaknesses. and part of the fun is finding which kinds of attack work best. You may want to combine an elemental attack with a buff card that allows you to deal double damage - even though that could be a single-use card, it might wind up turning the tide in your favor. This is especially handy if you've struggled with an enemy type before as you at least now have the means to win, or at least see victory within your grasp.

Your cards are separated into color codes and those essentially act as elemental attacks by default, with some also giving you buffs on your defense. You also have a healing card tab and then a tab that is meant to just deal out magic damage. There's a lot of variety with your card types and you can have dozens to choose from for a battle and experiment to your heart's content. The game's structure is opened up quite a bit and allows you to either go with a risky or safe route through the game. Each journey up the spire is different and not exactly randomized, but changed up to keep things fresh. You will find a different card, relics, and loadouts for each playthrough - even bosses can differ from path to path. It's rare that a card game has a lot of versatility, but something like this allows the game to not only stand out for fans of the genre, but also showcase a different feature that may appeal to RPG fans that aren't card game fans.


The game is available now via both Steam and the Humble Store, and doesn't have a launch discount - which is a bit odd, but with it being a Humble release, you can almost count on it being in a bundle at some point in the next year or so. The default price is $24.99, so it's definitely on the higher end of the card game spectrum in terms of pricing, but does appear to have a high-quality presentation and a lot of depth to the combat.

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