Slay the Spire is a card game that blends a few classic formula genres to craft a game that is both familiar and unique. PC gamers have been able to play the game for a while, but it’s recently become available on the Nintendo Switch where I’ve been able to review it.
The single player deck builder is well known now and can even be found as mini games in larger titles like The Witcher that uses it’s version “Gwent” very well. Slay the Spire takes it’s inspiration from that genre but turns it on it’s head in the most bizarre way, it incorperates a roguelike dungeon crawler but not in the way that “Magic the Gathering” or even “Heartstone” to an extent deliver their RPG elements.
You start with one of three characters, then begin with a really basic starter deck that you need to expand as you work your way up the “Spire”. The higher up you go the more difficult and strange the monsters become and the same can be said for the cards that you collect along the way. Being a “roguelike” you’ll run the game through a few times to build that deck and each time is a unique journey.
Most of the cards are basic damage dealers but you’ll come across some that are just so irreverent you’ll wonder if they were lifted out of an unknown version of “Cards Against Humanity” or lifted from the pages of a medievil “Monty Python” sketch. At times the game can be truely funny and it kept me playing even though I found it to be graphically lacking.
Aside from building your cards for battle you will also find potions that give you different boosts and relics that often come after beating bosses that offer more permanent effects. Some of them have side effects that hinder your performance in other areas so it adds a nice touch of “magic has a cost” to the decisions you’ll make in the game.
Slay the Spire is a well executed deck building game that’s gameplay makes up for it’s visuals. You’ll become a better player the more times you make mistakes as you learn from failed attempts at the spire. At times it can be challenging and it’s equally rewarding with some truely laugh out loud moments. It’s also built for portability on the Nintendo Switch.