Roguelikes nowadays have become an entire genre of its own. Spanning a wide-range of subgenres from deckbuilders to shooters to even city builders. And everyone has their own opinion about roguelikes, you either like them or hate them. However, the fact is the genre presents a tried and true foundation for an entertaining game loop. Which is also evident in this unique and adorable roguelike, Clonizer.
Clonizer is a roguelike deckbuilder mostly similar to Slay The Spire with the exception that it’s a hex-based tactics game. Instead of building up a single character, you’ll instead be summoning and controlling an army of cute clonees, accomplishing various objectives depending on the level. This adds a layer of depth to the roguelike formula such as movement and placement. But before I go further, I’d first like to point out that this is one of the most polished roguelike games that I have ever gotten to play. Which is an impressive feat on its own. But what makes this game even more amazing, is that it’s made by a very small three person team, Juicy Plume.
What Clonizer Is
Clonizer is a deckbuilding roguelike in the same vain as games such as Slay The Spire and Rogue Lords. You’ll start every run with a basic deck of cards and as you work through the levels, you’ll eventually earn cards and relics to customize your builds with. Almost every encounter that you can find on other deckbuilding roguelikes you can also find here. Shops, card upgrades, card removal, random encounters, combat encounters, boss level, etc.
Although, of course, the cards and the relics, despite being similar to other roguelikes, are pretty unique considering how they’re used in this one. The only real difference is that combat encounters are presented in a hex-based tactics gameplay.
What Clonizer Isn’t
If you’re thinking that this game is finally the Civilization VI roguelike that you’ve been waiting for, then no, it is not. Despite featuring hex grids and a turn-based tactics gameplay, the game is far from what you usually do in the civ games. And no, it also isn’t a deep tactical turn-based strategy like XCOM.
The demo only lets you play through the first chapter of the game. But despite the short playtime, it does a great job at showcasing what the game has to offer. Does a great job in fact, that I’m looking forward at getting my hands on the game.
Starting off with the visuals. So far, Clonizer does a great job at everything. The menus look absolutely gorgeous and the controls and navigation is pretty responsive. I absolutely appreciate games that put emphasis on the tiny details such as these.
The game features a soft and adorable art style. Filled with cute cards and characters that perfectly fits its sci-fi theme. I also think that they did a great job with the enemies. With some definitely looking alien and sometimes ugly but doesn’t breach the threshold of being horrid. Overall, every visual element blends really well with each other that I didn’t really notice anything that even remotely looked out of place.
Again, for the most part. Clonizer resembles card-based roguelikes like Slay The Spire than hex-based games like Civilization VI.
As with other card-based roguelikes, you’ll be going through a map of encounters. Most of the stuff from other card-based roguelikes are here, just with some changes to make it make sense in the game’s mechanics. The highlight of the game however, what makes it different, is its hex-based gameplay in combat encounters. A huge departure from what we’re used to in the card-based roguelike space.
Every combat level you’ll be spawning with a “Clonizer”. A space ship or device that produces “clonees”. Clonees are the backbone of your deck. Without them, you won’t be able to do anything. Actions that use cards in the game, that includes summoning clonees, costs energy. However, clonees, once summoned, have their own movement points.
Every level is subject to a specific objective in order to clear them and move to the next. Although the objectives has you collect different resources, it all boils down to “move your clonee to these hexes”. Because of this, I kinda wish that there was more variety to the objectives. But aside from that, you’ll also have to constantly defend your Clonizer from invading hordes of enemies as well as a constant threat from UFOs. The main method of protecting your Clonizer is by deploying shields. Similar to defense mechanics in other card-based roguelikes.
As for your clonees, you’ll be moving them around the map to clear enemies and complete objectives. There aren’t any other actions your clonees can do aside from move, as well as shoot if they’re equipped with a ranged weapon.
Speaking of equipments, your clonees can also be equipped with different types of gear. The most common that you’ll be seeing are: A sword the increases clonee health, a gun that lets clonees attack without taking retaliation damage, and a jetpack that increases movement. There are also consumable cards that directly buff your clonees like increased health or damage. There are also a few different types of clonees with varying play styles that modify the way you approach a level.
Lastly are buildings. Unlike strategy games where you build your base and stuff, Clonizer’s building mechanics are pretty simple. During levels there will be spots that allow for construction. During the demo, I was only able to have up to three building types per run. There are various building types with varying effects but you’ll always start with one that increases energy when built.
Clonizer is an awesome roguelike filled with adorable sci-fi themes and unique gameplay mechanics. The demo only consists of the first chapter of the game so it’s still unclear whether the late game will take players for a wild ride or if it will eventually become stale further down the line. But that’s all speculation for now. With what I’ve seen so far, the devs are definitely taking this game into the right direction, and I can’t wait to see where they go with it.