Slay The Spire is a fairly popular game originally released in its early testing days to the public to better interact with the gaming community on Steam and to get much needed feedback to better the programming and game play. It is one of the few games that really succeeded through this method and has grown considerably since it’s expansion onto consoles.
What is the Game?
It is a dungeon run game based on deck building. Unlike games like YuGiOh or Magic, your deck changes each time you play. With four characters at present, each character has their own play style and accessible cards to build with. When you start each run you have twelve basic cards mostly consisting of strike and defend cards. Within a few floors you will begin gaining new cards, getting rid of the basic cards and creating a theme for your run.
Once you have gotten through all 50 floors of the game, if you have collected the right items, you will be able to “Slay The Spire” as it were. An incredibly difficult fight against the Spire itself that causes immense damage no matter what you do. If you can slay the spire than you have my admiration, as it is a difficult match not often won.
The game randomizes each run through seeds, which can be replayed if you save the codes. Due to this, each time you play the game is different as you will face different bosses, elites and have access to different relics and cards. To make the game more difficult there is ascension. Ascension adds more difficulties, harder bosses, less healing, less access to rare cards and relics as well as increasing the damage every enemy can cause. Each ascension level makes the game more difficult, and there is 20 levels of ascension.
Now Let’s Talk Characters.
Ironclad is a “knight” like character who has an innate item that allows 6HP healing after fighting enemies. The build styles with this character are often either strength builds or high defensive turned offensive. The cards availible often play off each other to allow building of specialized decks. The most common not spammed run (there has been an issue with a certain relic and card combination that is essentially a legal cheat) is the Body Slam deck. This deck build turns block into attack which means not only are you not taking damage, you are inflicting high amounts of damage to your enemy. It runs on a low cost margin with most cards needed to be 1 or 0 in cost, allowing momentum to build through both your turn and your combat.
Silent is our poison character. With two main builds used there is a “shiv deck” which consists of running at nearly 0 cost cards to inflict consistent chip damage. The other popular style is poison. Poison causes damage each turn equal to the amount of poison but will reduce by one at the end of the turn. With the right cards this can be a very effective way to get through the run. This character is the most difficult to work with as the wrong draw can end your run very quickly, which also makes it very rewarding to complete the run with The Silent.
Defect is an interesting character that requires using “orbs”. Positions where attack, energy and block orbs can be used and rotated through by playing cards that create new orbs. Through a combination of cards that increase the value of each orb and supplementary cards and relics that play off the orbs provoked during the combat, it can be quite thrilling to watch it all come together to take down an enemy. For example, as common deck build is a Blizzard deck. Similar to the idea of a Body Slam deck, you build up your defence through the orb “frost” and turn all of your summoned frost orbs into fuel for the blizzard ( a card that deals three times the amount of frost orbs summoned through combat as a damage amount).
The last present character is the watcher. A similar concept to Defect, but executed in “stances”. As your character is put into different stances you gain energy, worsen or lessen the attack you will receive and with the power of Mantra the character can reach Divinity, a state where you are supplied with more energy and higher attack power.
Are There Issues With The Game?
Through the games beta testing period there were patches that causes so much lag that it was unplayable, but those issues have been fixed. The developers have been doing weekly patches and updates on the game since it was launched and have remained incredibly communicative to the community around the game.
It isn’t the easiest game to start playing as it is likely that the first few runs will be lost quickly. It takes time to learn all the cards and how they interact with each character. With a cost of around $34.00 some people might feel discouraged to continue playing after so many losses and feel that they’ve wasted their money. I would say if you are willing to invest the time into really learning the game and experimenting with different builds and characters this isn’t an issue at all.
After a few weeks of playing some people find the lack of boss variety to be an issue as there is only 9 total bosses in the game. They have added more elites through patches, and we hope to see more bosses and enemies in the future.
My Experience With The Game
Overall the game has been my absolute favourite for the past few years and I would recommend it to anyone. I’ve personally played somewhere in the range of 1800-2100 hours of this game (steam stopped tracking during a portion of testing between patches) and still enjoy it. I originally purchased the game when there was only two characters and no Spire floor to really finish the run. It is such a fun game to play and as it isn’t played in real time, you can get up and do the laundry or grab your coffee without worrying an enemy is going to take you out while you’re away (I’m looking at you Dark Souls). I haven’t unlocked every trophy yet, which when you consider the amount of hours I’ve played is insane. The constant changing of the game keeps it fresh and I hope its creators continue to update it.
If you have played the game, let me know in the comments below! And don’t forget to tell me your favourite character to play as!