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Slay the Spire – Review

Written by xericfarmer

Slay the Spire - Review

Slay the Spire is the first and so far only game created by studio Megacrit. The game was in early access until released in January 2019.

Slay the Spire Review

I learned about the game from a close friend of mine who bought the game in early access. I liked the game a lot, and I decided to buy the game in early access as well. I have only bought two games this way before, so that shows I really liked to Slay the Spire.

I have played the game for 175 hours according to my Steam profile. I took a long break from playing the game, but I have started to play it more recently.

What Is Slay the Spire?

Slay the Spire Is Deck Based Rogue-Lite Game

First, the game is a rogue-lite because each run is randomized. You can take different routes, fight different enemies and bosses, find different cards, and find different rewards.

Also when you die the run ends and you have to start over from the beginning. Slay the Spire is a somewhat shorter game. Most runs take less than an hour.

Slay the Spire Cards

Slay the Spire is deck-based game because there are cards. Surprise! To explain more, you collect cards that you use in combat for various reasons.

Some cards are used to attack, some are used to defend, and some cards are used to buff to your character.

How Is Slay the Spire a Turn-Based Game?

During each fight, you have a turn to use your cards. While it is still your turn, nothing will happen unless you play a card. After you end your turn, the enemies you are fighting get a turn.

Slay the Spire Combat

I like this system as Slay the Spire is a game I can enjoy while watching videos or doing other things on my computer at the same time. There never is any urgency to taking your turn and playing cards.

Don’t let that fool you into thinking this game is easy though!

Gameplay Review

About the Characters in the Game

There are three different characters in the game. The Ironclad, the Silent, and the Defect. The Ironclad is mainly an offensive based character. I tend to play the Ironclad the most.

Each character has their own deck of cards, and they get different cards as rewards from battles as well. There are common white cards every character can use, though.

Slay the Spire Character

Each character has enough variety that it does feel quite a different playing as them. You really do need to learn the differences of each character to beat the game as all three of them.

Overall I like the characters in the game. It would be nice to maybe have more choices, but the three work well.

About the Cards in the Game

The cards resemble other cards in digital card collecting games.  There are five categories of cards in the game. The cards in Slay the Spire consist of attacks, Skills, Powers, Curses, and Status cards.

Making a good deck requires an understanding of how attacks, skills, and power cards work together and understanding the play style of each character. It took a lot of trial and error before I found a deck that beat a final boss for the first time.

Slay the Spire Encounters

You also need to learn when to upgrade cards. You can a one time upgrade to most cards in Slay the Spire. These upgrades make the cards slightly better in some way.

This slight change sometimes is a big deal for some card. Understanding upgrades is part of understanding the strategy of the game.

I like the cards in the game. Sometimes I don’t understand the best way to use each card, but that is something I can learn more with time.

About Relics

In addition to cards, you also collect relics. Each relic gives you a small bonus in some way. Most of the time, one relic alone doesn’t change very much. But if you collect certain relics in a group, you will see big changes in how you play the game.

Collecting relics is fun. There are so many in the game. Sometimes it feels frustrating to want a relics for s specific deck and not find it.

The game forces you to be fluid in what decks you make and sometimes you need to change based on a strong relic you find.

Other Collectibles

There are also potions you can find and use in the game. These potions provide a one time bonus that lasts for a single encounter. Most potions are meant to make a single fight easier.

A common theme in the game is the things you find provide small bonuses, and it is how they add up together that determines how strong you are.

You can also find coins and spend them in stores and some encounters. The store is very similar to most stores in rogue-lite games. It has a random assortment of cards, potions, and relics you can buy.

You can also pay to remove one card from your deck.

There is not much to say about this system. These features are stables of all rogue-lite games, and I would expect to see something like this in all of them.

About the Map

Each area of the game has a map. You control what points you want to visit and where to start on each map. There will be multiple paths you can take. The map will have fights, question mark spots, stores, and rest sites.

Most of the time, you will be fighting an enemy. There are standard battles and elite boss fight. Elite boss fights have better rewards but are noticeably harder. You need to be careful not to fight too many elites on a single level, or you will probably die.

Slay the Spire Map

Question mark spots are where things get interesting. Sometimes you will fight a battle here as well, but most of the time, you will face a unique encounter.

Every encounter has choices you can make, and these encounters affect your character in many ways. In pretty much every encounter, the game will tell what happens if you pick a certain option.

These encounters are fun, but after playing the game for hundreds of hours, at this point, I have seen every possible encounter.

Boss Fights

Each floor ends with a boss fight. There are multiple bosses you can fight each floor. The game does have a true boss at the end, but you need to unlock this boss. Boss fights tend to be very hard, and in most runs, I die during a boss fight.

The bosses often have interesting mechanics not seen in normal fights. The bosses to me sometimes feel unfair. But often the game will punish you hard if you don’t have a clear plan or deck idea but a certain point.

Slay the Spire Difficulty

Slay the Spire is a very unforgiving game. I lose so often I don’t even think too much about it anymore. I die and then right away start a new run.

I am not a person who has experience playing deck-based games. I normally don’t like this genre of games. What was interesting to me about Slay the Spire was not the deck mechanics but the rogue-lite elements of the game.

To be good at this game, you need to understand the cards and how to build a deck very well. I know there are some people who can play this game and win more often at harder difficulty levels than I am playing.

But even then sometimes I think this game can be a bit too hard.

If you are like me and have not played deck-based games often, my advice is to stick with the game and to be patient. Over time you will slowly get better at playing it.

Slay the Spire Presentation Review

The Game Doesn’t Look Too Good

Despite being one of my favorite games Slay the Spire is not going to wow anybody with how it looks. In fact, I would say this game’s animations and appearance are sometimes comically bad.

But everything looks good enough that I know what I am doing without any issues. So I am willing to give the game a pass here. The cards and relics look nice. The characters don’t look too good, though.

The Game Sounds Good

I like the music in Slay the Spire. The sound effects are nice, and I like how they sound. I often play Slay the Spire while watching online videos. So I turn the music off and set the sound to a low volume.

My Overall Presentation Thoughts

The game looks OK, and it sounds somewhat decent. I like the game because of fun it is to play more than how it looks or sounds.

Overall Slay the Spire is one of my favorite games on Steam. This is one of the few games I bought in early access. The game is not perfect, but it is very enjoyable to play.


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