Hit It or Quit It, your map through the minefield that is Early Access. Today I’m taking a look at the Rogue-like deck building hybrid from Mega Crit Games, Slay the Spire. Is this Early Access title a burden on your wallet or could critical success be in the cards for Slay the Spire? You see that double pun? I’m winning at life.
If there’s two words that really get my hair standing on edge, it’s Rogue-like. I very much love the concept of going balls to the wall, risking everything and often losing just as much. On the other hand, the potential for huge rewards that surpass anything you’ve come across before makes that risk even more exciting. Well, exciting or incredibly frustrating to the point of repeating the same part of the same bloody game 10,000 times. Sorry, I’m still a little salty at how much EverSpace kicked my ass.
I’m relatively new to the Rogue-like space, having only started getting into the genre a year or two ago. One could say I’m still at the denial stage and have yet to accept that failure is just a part of the grind here and never has that been more true than the brutally rewarding, Slay the Spire.
Utilizing a very well crafted deck management system, Slay the Spire challenges players to climb the spire with increasingly difficult challenges and rewards. Unlike your typical deck construction system, Slay the Spires is dynamic and on the move. There’s no preparation prior to that first floor, you don’t construct a deck before you swing your first attack. It’s all done as you progress, unlocking new cards and upgrades with each passing floor. This mechanic, while seemingly simple on the surface, creates for a huge level of depth, variety and strategy that you will rarely see in a Rogue-like game. Hell, the card management mechanics top some of the best from that genre too.
The deck features couple together with a turn-based strategy combat system that is very approachable but also very challenging. It’s the perfect definition of the term, easy to play, hard to master. Each turn you draw cards, using energy to use each of the cards. Different energy costs, offensive and defensive abilities, buffs, heals, all the familiar faces are there. Once you run through your cards in a battle your discard pile is shuffled back as the main deck. This creates a constant flow of the cards in your deck in entirely random orders, rewarding those with the ability to adapt to any situation and create decks that don’t rely heavily on a couple of combo cards.
Progression is key, as with all Rogue-like games. As you move up the dynamically generated tower you face enemies, encounter decisions, loot treasure, fight epic battles and go up against deadly bosses. All of these events reward gold and new cards depending on your performance or the choices you make, as well as relics that offer huge perks and bonuses to aid with your progression.
Outside of the progression within each attempt, you can unlock additional characters, starter perks and new cards to collect on your travels with accumulated score combining all of your past efforts.
I’ve yet to get past the 50th floor but I’m far from done. The wonderfully unique combination of Rogue-like and deck management alongside the catchy visuals and audios cues has me well and truly addicted to the endless punishment dished out each and every attempt to Slay the Spire.