There are thousands of video games out there, but what’s worth playing? Today let’s talk about:
Slay the Spire is a fusion of a rogue-like and a deck building game that leans into the deck building side more than anything else. I didn’t think I liked this game very much when I first picked it up as I found it too difficult; and I’m the sort that loves a meaty challenge. But once I found a groove and learned how to play it, it’s a fun random sort of romp that has kept me entertained for months.
In Slay the Spire you play as a hero character off to fight a monster at the top of a tower. The plot is vague and rather ethereal, so feel free to ignore it. You start with a handful of cards that are all basic and as you play, you find new cards or other items that provide you with permanent effects. You make your way up the spire through branching paths: engaging in combat, buying or selling cards in shops, getting treasure, or just having weird occurrences question mark spaces. At the end of each of the three levels there is a boss, win and you get your health back and get to move on, run out of health at any point and it’s game over. Winning three levels earns you a shot at the final boss where you win… for now.
What’s cool is that everything is random. Bosses on each floor are pulled from several varieties and you never get the same game twice, yet you kind of know what types of cards you’ll get. Play as the silent, you’ll draw cards to poison enemies, play as the defect and you’ll be attacking with orbs to shock or freeze your foes. I enjoy the predictable randomness here and it is very well balanced.
Aside from the basic mode, there are two other modes. One where you can set your own run as you choose. You can play where you start with all the rare cards, or maybe you only draw two cards each round rather than three, but you get more energy to play more cards. The page of options is a mile long and you can add in as many as you choose.
What I love is the Daily Challenge. It’s a set of three helpful / harmful mods that the creators set with a preset hero. Players have 24 hours to score their best shot at the spire (aside from the boss) and they’re a lot of fun. I play one just about everyday while I’m on my stationary bike as Slay the Spire is a tactical game, and it’s not fast paced; you can take your time and plan your plays effectively without the pressure of waiting for another player to make their move.
1: Do NOT forget about defense. Your health will keep you alive so make sure you have enough of it so either plan to kill enemies off quickly or have enough block and some other way to kill them that keeps you on your feet.
2: Don’t add every card you pick up. They’ll probably be more helpful than your most basic cards, but every card you add to your deck means you have lower odds of drawing a specific card you really want. Of course, that can be helpful if your deck has a bunch of curse cards in it, but having an efficient deck can be lethal to enemies.
3: Some relics can REALLY change how the game is played and if you have a collection of them, they can work well together. There are too many to get into here, but since I like the power cards, I try to get the mummy hand so when I play a power card, a random card becomes free. If you have a bunch of power cards in your deck, that starts to stack up quickly. I’m also a fan of putting status effects on the enemy like poison as that goes around the defense / armor of your foes.
4: I sell off the more useless card as soon as I can, and that’s usually what I use my gold for. Try to hit at least two shops on every level if this is your strategy too; even if you don’t buy anything you’ll fight fewer monsters. Don’t worry too much about getting new cards in shops; you should be getting to pick one out of three each time you finish a combat for free anyway, so don’t sweat buying everything.