Slay the Spire is considered to be one of the most influential indie games ever developed. With Slay the Spire’s mash of roguelike elements, deck-building concept, and intelligent enemies, aspiring players will always have something to root for.
If you’ve played Slay the Spire and you’re looking for games similar to it, we’ve compiled the best options for you.
Go All-In By Killing Monsters
Poker is a thrilling game that can put you to the edge. You might win big or lose even bigger in one game session. Nowadays, you can play dozens of free poker games without risking your money or sanity. So, why not push the limit and utilize poker rules while killing monsters? You can now do this with the help of Poker Quest – a roguelike game that benefits from a deck of cards’ randomness. Neat, right?
Watch Your Hands
Your hands will get dirty in Poker Quest due to monster-killing. However, understanding your Poker hands is a major prerequisite. The Knight of Spades, your first character, can use his attack by combining two cards. If the cards are paired, the attack will become stronger. For defense, the Knight can use his shield, activated by any two cards as well. The shield has a cooldown, however, so proper timing is needed.
Most cards that you draw are virtually useful for dishing out combos but you’re still at the mercy of RNG. Still, Poker Quest is generous enough to offer different alternatives to get you out of trouble. As the run gets deeper and more difficult, you need to be wary of using your resource alternatives to ensure your long-term survival.
Enemies in Poker Quest are tough cookies. Most of the time, you may need to rely on character skills to mitigate the danger caused by monsters. The Knight’s skill, for example, forces an enemy to discard all of its cards, nullifying the chance for counterattacks. In boss fights, this skill is highly essential.
A Streak of Resource Management
Poker Quest presents a subtle case of resource management amidst the roguelike fights. Basically, you’re presented with three major resources: energy, food, chips, and gems. Energy points are used for character skills, while food decreases as you trek all over the map. Chips, on the other hand, are important for buying upgrades, equipment, and items. And lastly, gems are used to draw extra cards and can also be traded.
This can be overwhelming to manage, especially if you just want to rush and kill monsters. But over the course of the run, you’d realize the level of fun these resources can bring. Poker Quest’s resource management aspect will force you to think strategically and set priorities.
Once the game is released on Steam, players will probably gain new chances to acquire more resources. Right now, in the Poker Quest Web version, you can encounter several events that yield various resources and items – like a special goblin Hold-Em event.
Surviving Your First Run
The difficulty curve of Poker Quest is slightly higher than Slay the Spire. You need to watch out for status-based attacks, such as Poison and Curse. These are cumulative debuffs that will siphon your health every turn. It’s wiser to eliminate the threat as soon as you can, rather than hold out for a cutting-edge combo.
You should straddle the pot when it comes to class skills. Mid-tier enemies and elite bosses can be derailed by a fine combination of skills and gem draws. Timing is important, as long as you can weather out the cost of extra damage from enemy attacks.
Once Poker Quest has new classes to join the fray, you can experiment for more combos and approaches. This will increase the survivability rate of every run. Now that’s something to look forward to!
The Awesome Factor
Poker Quest brings the best out of medieval RNG goodness. Every action that you make in the game is not wasted, as it creates an immediate reaction. One wrong move and your run might end up in defeat. The combination of danger and nearly limitless possibilities makes Poker Quest a real game that you will treasure for years. Plus, there might be more exciting Poker Quest content ahead, since the game is in active development!
Special Note on Poker Quest
Since Poker Quest is really interesting, we decided to dig deep and reach out to the game’s creator, Thomas Wolfley (aka Fragsworth). He is also the CEO of Playsaurus, the company behind the hit idle game, Clicker Heroes.
Have a minute? Check out our discussion with Fragsworth:
1) How many character classes will be available for players in the future?
Fragsworth: a lot more, some are being tested by people on discord already.
2) Once the game is released on Steam, will there be bonuses for players, like additional artwork and music?
3) Is it just intended to be a free game forever? How is the development team expecting to be sustained? (Is there something like a patreon in mind for ongoing development post-release?)
Fragsworth: It will be paid, one time purchase.
Based on Fragsworth’s answers, it’s safe to say that Poker Quest will offer more interesting features down the road.
Risk Management, Cards, and Pure Roguelike Intensity
It’s always exciting to see games where you take the position of the normal bad guys instead of the good ones. Such evil-centric games have the potential to carve niches easily, forever remembered by dedicated players. Monster Train is a fine example.
In Monster Train, you’re the master of a demonic train carrying an important relic known as the Pyre. The devilkind needs the Pyre to remove Hell’s frozen curse and restore its former glory. Your duty is to protect the Pyre from the onslaught of good forces who will stop at nothing to destroy it. If they succeed, Hell will remain frozen forever and you’ll lose the game.
Well, you will lose a lot, and then you get to start over again.
Hellish, Nightmarish Runs
Taking the deck-building and roguelike aspects of Slay the Spire, Monster Train has already cemented its position. However, Monster Train raised the bar by introducing new concepts such as floor-by-floor defense, ascending enemies, and tricky bosses.
The Boneshaker – the hellish train’s name – has three floors that you must defend. Situated at the last floor is the Pyre – convenient, watching, and always at risk. To prevent enemies from marching up, you need to play monster cards, set them into advantageous positions, and improve their abilities. You can also cast spells to support your monsters and delay the forces of Good.
Here’s the first challenge: a surviving enemy will climb up unless an effect prevents it from doing so. This is why you must use everything at your disposal to destroy enemies as quick as you can! If ever an enemy reaches the Pyre, it will attack continuously. The Pyre can defend itself (starts at 20 damage per shot), but you shouldn’t count on it all the time.
The second challenge is floor capacity. Each floor has a standard capacity, and your monsters consume slots. Bigger monsters consume more slots, while smaller monsters use fewer. Unlike Slay the Spire where you’re only limited by your energy points and other effects, Monster Train adds another layer to worry about. You better put your strategist’s hat on!
It’s normal to lose many runs at the beginning. But don’t fret – every losing run will yield something. You will gain experience points for the specific clans that you’ve used. The Hellborne is the first clan that you can use, followed by the Awakened, its close ally. By participating in many runs and killing enemies, you can unlock the other clans.
Monster Train is gritty and crunchy in many aspects. The card designs are neat, making you feel that you’re playing an actual physical card game. All the battles are eye candy, even if you’re losing. The monster animations change in a stop-motion feel every time they attack, get attacked, or move between floors. Sounds and music are also crisp, though you might be busy optimizing your deck and monster positioning to notice.
If you’re a tactics nut, Monster Train will strike closer to your heart. There are many things to consider, especially combos. This can be intimidating during your first run, since you need to track damage rates (DPS, specifically), armor, HP, and enemy behavior.
Outside battle, tactical play is even more important. The Boneshaker will pass through forking railroads – each bearing a different set of bonuses and opportunities to improve your game. Deck optimization is the real beast here, as you need to remove weaker cards to prioritize more powerful ones. Optimize too late and your run will suffer.
Tips to Keep Your Pyre Alive
Be sure to upgrade a few units and discard the weaker ones. Having two high-powered Train Stewards are better than having four weak ones. The same thing is applicable with spells.
Artifacts are not just your average magical relics – they are powerful! Whenever possible, take the routes that will lead you to free artifact boons.
You will get better after many, many runs. Monster Train is not designed to be won in the first run because other powerful cards are still locked. Once you’ve unlocked these cards, your potential for winning runs will drastically increase.
The Awesome Factor
Monster Train is guaranteed to consume long hours of your weekends (or even weekdays). No run is the same because of the possibilities that you might encounter. Monster Train is truly a Slay the Spire successor or perhaps an equal contender.
Beyond Simplicity is Pure Game Crunchiness
Slay the Spire brought a revolution of ideas to the roguelike deck-building genre. It covered all possible bases, from randomness to the element of player control. But if you’re eager to step back and see the roots of Slay the Spire, take a look at Dream Quest.
Get Past The Artwork
Dream Quest won’t bag awards in the visual department. In fact, Dream Quest’s visual style is the first barrier that you’d face even before killing your first enemy. The terrain pieces look like they were hastily made from Windows Paint. Individual card artwork is even worst, as if it’s uninspired, unrefined, and unappreciated. However, there’s a big reason why you must look past Dream Quest’s art style.
The game’s overall progression system is remarkable. It’s even deeper than Slay the Spire’s progress dynamic – to a certain degree. Every run, whether you were victorious or not, will give you the chance to earn an achievement. Dream Quest’s achievements are not just for display. They come with helpful perks such as extra hit points, extra gold, or even a new character class. With dozens of achievements to aim for, Dream Quest will keep you busy.
If you have an imaginative mind, you will get comfortable playing Dream Quest. The simple artwork will allow your mind to wonder during difficult fights. This will take a lot of practice but you will soon find the ‘zen spot’ of Dream Quest.
Grind It Out
Grinding is the soul of Dream Quest. Since the achievements will almost always give you something, you might be inclined to stretch your runs. Plus, your enemies really hit hard, especially if RNG favors them. Even regular ones are annoying, such as zombies that can auto-kill your character in less than 8 turns.
Boss fights will test your patience. Some bosses can play many cards per turn, all the while giving negative curses and strong debuffs. You need to make the right choices in optimizing your deck and picking what stuff to buy.
Overland exploration is a bit flexible though it can get repetitive. The main exit is blocked by the area boss, and there are a few odd shops with helpful items. Oases are also common, as well as healing areas marked by generic red crosses.
The Awesome Factor
Dream Quest is hard to love, especially if you’re going to compare it to Slay the Spire. But as you pick up Dream Quest’s eccentric nature, you’d soon realize how fun it can be!
Cardplay Permeates Everything
Klei Entertainment’s popularity skyrocketed when it released the roguelike game series Don’t Starve. The company followed up with Oxygen Not Included – a game under the same visual style but a different branch of gameplay. Now, Klei Entertainment thrilled many gamers with its deck-building roguelike masterpiece, Griftlands. The game is still on early access, though it’s already showing great promise.
Negotiation Through Cardplay
Griftlands show the story of Sal, a bounty hunter who intends to seek revenge against a crime boss who sold her to slavery. You will experience Sal’s tale in a futuristic backdrop with an obvious glint of cyberpunk. It’s easy to liken Griftlands to a card-based Shadowrun, minus the corporate dragons of course.
Getting your revenge in Griftlands is not as easy as hacking your way through mobs of enemies. You have to take it slow by visiting locations and triggering specific events. Negotiation plays an important role, and it affects how the plot will unfold before your eyes. There are minimal dialogue boxes, as negotiation is driven by cardplay. If you’re unsuccessful, other parties might resort to combat, bloodying you up and ending your run. Permadeath runs deep in Griftlands, so utmost care is needed if you want to progress immediately.
At times, you might think that luck is a major driving factor in the game. Well, that’s because it is! Some card effects are random and can make or break your negotiation dialogs. Aside from negotiation, building relationships in Griftlands is worthwhile because other characters will grow to like and hate you, depending on your actions. Buying drinks, for example, is a great way of earning new allies against Griftlands’ difficult combats.
Cards and Combat
Griftlands is similar to Slay the Spire in terms of combat. The cards are represented below the screen, making up your hand. At the middle of the screen is Sal and your other allies. This generates a ‘Final Fantasy’ feel with many cards thrown in. And like Slay the Spire, you’d know what your enemies will do.
Dishing out combos is satisfying, especially if you managed to foil the plan of your enemies. Keep in mind that building a successful deck will take time. You need to repeat a couple of runs to unlock cards and tons of passive bonuses. Winning a combat will grant you the opportunity to execute enemies or simply capture them. After all, being a murderhobo will always have consequences.
The Awesome Factor
Griftlands’ awesome factor is its phase. The game is currently on active development, and new features might be rolled out for roguelike deck-building lovers. It also presents a new concept which will let you realize how cardplay can drive nearly all aspects of a game.
Hand of Fate
Your Fortune Awaits
Roguelike games tend to be annoying – especially if you’ve lost your nth run. But if the game offers a fine blend of interesting mechanics, you might set aside your frustration and try again. Hand of Fate is one of the best examples around. It empowers the spirit of Slay the Spire and introduces some new features that will keep you interested for a long time.
The Cabin and The End of All Things
You start the game as a nameless, fate-entwined hero who must defeat a mysterious, antagonistic Dealer. The whole roguelike card-slinging shebang happens in the Cabin at the ‘End of the World.’ Aside from being the antagonist, the Dealer also narrates everything that will happen to your hero.
Aside from having a deck that you can customize, you can also move game pieces and discover events along the way. Some of these events are helpful, while most are dangerous. Every decision can affect the flow of your run, so you must be careful. You also need to watch over your supplies and resources. In a way, Hand of Fate will test your resource management skills.
Over time, your deck will become stronger as you acquire more cards. But it’s not just you who has a deck! The Dealer also plays with his own deck, and it’s loaded with supreme cosmic dangers meant to ruin your day. To make things even more challenging, the monsters in Hand of Fate are also getting better, perhaps scaling to match your prowess.
The Past Shapes The Future
Your past will reveal the path to your future. This may sound cliché, but it’s applicable with Hand of Fate. A good example is its random event system. Whenever you encounter a random event, your choice will affect the nature of other choices down the road. You will feel more involved – every win will give you a positive rush, and every defeat will be exhilarating.
In every area of the game, you might feel rushed to tackle the boss. Don’t be tempted! Rather, do your best to finish all possible encounters. Upon doing so, you can gain more rewards and boons that will help you fight strong bosses.
Besides, you need all the help that you can get if you wish to defeat the Dealer!
Reminder: Hand of Fate will play out more beautiful with a stronger, more capable system. Maybe you can try an upgrade with this powerful motherboard.
The Awesome Factor
While roguelike elements take a form of control away from players, Hand of Fate counters that through flexible deck-building mechanics. Decisions matter in Hand of Fate, and you need to think sharp – otherwise you’d lose often. Try Hand of Fate today and see how you can win intense encounters!
Playing games like Slay the Spire is an excellent way to keep your brain sharp. All of the choices that we’ve compiled have their fair share of strengths and weaknesses. Just pick one or a few games and start your roguelike deck-building journey today!