Intro: If you’ve read Stephen King’s “Dark Tower” book series (or seen the horrible movie) then you already know the general concept of a lone hero having to travel towards the top of a mysterious tower. Well in “Slay the Spire” you do just that, over and over again.
Gameplay: “Slay the Spire” is a rogue-like much like games such as “The Binding of Isaac” where you are expected to die, and after each death, the layout of the levels or “floors” as they’re called here are completely randomized with different enemies, items and events to trigger.
The primary gameplay/combat goes like this: you encounter one or more enemies, you then get a hand of cards that are either attacks, skills or powers, which can invoke status changes like changing the amount of damage you cause or weakening your enemies’ attacks.
As you defeat enemies, you can gain items such as: cards, which get added to your deck for you to use during combat; relics, which are special items that will give you special abilities or stats; or potions, which can restore health.
You can play as three different heroes (though a fourth playable character is available as a beta) who have their own decks you can craft multiple potential play styles. You battle through each floor of the Spire until you reach the boss of each act (there are three) before progressing.
You have a few different warrior classes to pick from: The Ironcad is the warrior type with the red deck that mostly focuses on buffing strength and high damage outputs; The Silent is the assassin with the green deck who specializes in poisons and low cost attacks; and finally you have The Defect who has the blue deck that features orbs that have different passive and active effects, like creating a frost that blocks damage and one that summons lighting to damage foes at the end of each turn.
Replayability: This game is extremely addictive, I find myself going back to it once I started to understand the mechanics of it almost every day after work and would just spend a few hours or the whole evening attempting to beat the game. And the game knows that this is the intended method of playing, as there’s multiple paths to go through that change each time you begin a new run, and it even has a daily challenge setting which gives you random modifiers and settings depending on the day which can make a run extremely unpredictable and unique.
Conclusion: I thoroughly enjoyed this game and think that it was among the best indie hits of 2019 alongside “Disco Elysium” and “The Untitled Goose Game”. It takes elements from popular game genres and delivers on an entertaining experience, even when faced with certain defeat. My only gripe with the game is that its RNG (random number generation) is ridiculously varied and you are very likely to get an unlucky play scenario when using it. Nevertheless, I strongly recommend this to anyone who enjoys online card games like “Hearthstone” or “Gwent” who want a positive single player experience.