Game Review: Slay the Spire

  Ean Lambert

Slay the Spire is a Rougelike, Deck builder game about the player attempting to overcome obstacles in order to reach the top of the tower, known as the Spire, and slay the Spire’s heart. You choose one of four characters to attempt the climb: the Ironclad – a war hardened man who hosts demonic power-, the Silent – a huntress who uses poison, her daggers, and her mobility to overcome enemies in her path-, the Defect- an ancient robot who harnesses the power of elemental orbs and exploites errors in his code to further his combat potential- and the Watcher- a monk which masters a variety of combat styles. The game makes you work for the story, and just lays little hints in text around the ever shifting halls of the Spire. For instance, there is an event which reveals one of the character’s final moments before entering the Spire.

There’s another event in which you are offered three cards which make enemy attacks deal only one damage  for a turn at the cost that each card can only be used once per combat. The beings who offer it to you refer to a being known as Neow. Neow is a whale who grants you a small head start at the start of each run. If you look into her backstory enough, you find that Neow has trapped the characters in the Spire, and  is constantly resurrecting them everytime they fall in combat. Speaking of combat, the combat is based on a card game type system. The player starts off with three energy, and depending on the card, it costs 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, or X. X cost cards take all of your remaining energy, and tend to do their effect as many times as the value of the energy consumed. Special effects can be placed on the battle by a relic, an item one finds in the spire. Relics, such as cursed key (gain one energy every turn in exchange for gaining curses when opening chests), can give you energy in exchange for a cost, or they can place another effect such as making the enemy take more damage on the first turn of battle.

There are also four types of battles: hallway fights (basic fights), Elite fights (hard fights), Super Elite fights (harder fights), and Boss Fights. Each type of fight has an enemy pool to pull from, and each enemy has unique attack patterns and mechanics, leading to highly strategic play which encourages the player to find exploits in the game. It accomplishes a great job of making the player feel strong, but still weak in the face of the Spire. I greatly enjoy the game and would recommend it to anyone who likes Rougelike Deckbuilders.