Slay the Spire, a deck-building, roguelike dungeon crawler, is perhaps one of the best games to have come out in recent years. It is a deck-building game in the sense that the construction of a deck of attack and skill cards is the main focus of gameplay. However, unlike other deck-building games like Hearthstone or Magic: The Gathering, you pick one of three characters with a super basic deck and a unique card pool. As a roguelike dungeon crawler, you’ll work your way through procedurally and randomly generated levels, play turn-based gameplay, and experience permadeath, where dying means you’ll have to start from the beginning. You’ll fight increasingly difficult monsters to acquire a randomized selection of new cards that slowly build and improve your deck.
Each of the available characters have multiple play styles you can try to build your deck around. For example, the Silent can pick up attacks that stacks a poison effect on enemies which will damage them each turn for how much they are poisoned, but its card pool also allows you to create a deck built around creating a ton of free, zero-cost attack cards to continuously attack your enemies with.
When playing Slay the Spire, it feels great when you find all of the right cards for the deck/play style that you were hoping for. But you aren’t always so lucky, and the challenge of Slay the Spire is how you adapt your strategy based on what cards are actually offered to you, and what events are coming up on your run. And while it can be frustrating to build toward a specific deck and simply never find the right card you need to make it really work, a perk of these runs is that they’re short, and so it’s not too hard to brush off a loss and try again.
Outside of cards, you can also find Potions that give you temporary boosts. However, the most exciting finds are the Relics. They can be found in chests and from beating bosses or special elite enemies, and they offer permanent, and often significant, advantages. Some are as simple as a permanent attack boost, while others will do things like transform almost every card in your deck. The more you have, the crazier things get. I love the fact that many of these Relics have drawbacks to go along with their perk, which adds to your pile of difficult decisions. For example, there are Relics that increase the amount of mana you have to play cards at the cost of not being able to heal or gain gold.
Slay the Spire takes some of the best parts of deck-building games, roguelikes, and dungeon crawlers and mixes them into a new and extremely satisfying game. It encourages experimentation, risk taking, adaptability, and will challenge you immensely as you navigate your way through floor after floor of entertaining fights.
Daniel Kim, Grade 11
Oakwood High School