Slay the Spire is considered one of the most influential indie games ever developed. With its mash of roguelike elements, deck-building concept, and intelligent enemies, players will never run out of things to do.
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 on 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 just that 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 all the 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 becomes stronger. For defense, the Knight can use his shield, activated by any two cards as well. However, the shield has a cooldown, so proper timing is needed.
Most cards 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 more difficult, you need to be wary of your resource alternatives to ensure your 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 essential.
A Streak of Resource Management
Poker Quest presents a subtle case of resource management amidst the roguelike mechanics. 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 are important for buying upgrades and equipment, while gems are used to draw extra cards and can be traded.
This gameplay can be overwhelming, especially if you just want to rush and kill monsters. But over the course of a run, you’d realize the level of challenging fun these resources can bring. Poker Quest’s resource management aspect will force you to think strategically.
Once the game is released on Steam, players will probably gain chances to acquire more resources. Right now, in the Poker Quest web version, you can enter several events that yield various resources and items.
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 devastating 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 the cost of extra damage from enemy attacks.
Once Poker Quest introduces new classes to join the fray, you can experiment for tactical approaches and 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 in defeat. The combination of danger and nearly limitless possibilities makes it a 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 in which you play the role of the bad guys. Such evil-centric games have the potential to carve niches and build a cult following. 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 forces of evil need 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.
Taking the deck-building and roguelike aspects of Slay the Spire, Monster Train has already cemented its position. However, it 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 very top is the Pyre. 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. That is why you must use everything at your disposal to destroy enemies as quickly as possible! If ever an enemy reaches the Pyre, it will attack continuously. The Pyre can defend itself, 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. The bigger the monsters, the more slots they consume. Unlike in 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 runs at the beginning. But don’t fret – every losing run will yield rewards and experience points for the specific clans you’ve used. The Hellborne is the first clan 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 like you’re playing a physical card game. All the battles are eye candy, even when 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 too busy optimizing your deck and monster positioning to notice.
If you’re a tactics nut, Monster Train will strike close to your heart. There are many things to consider, especially combos. It can be intimidating during your first run since you need to track damage rates, armor, health, 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 concept 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.
Monster Train is not designed to be completed 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 several hours of your weekends (or even weekdays). No run is the same because of the endless possibilities that you might encounter. This game 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 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. The terrain pieces look like they were hastily made on Windows Paint. Individual card artworks are even worse, appearing uninspired, unrefined, and unappreciated. However, there’s a big reason why you must look past the game’s art style.
Dream Quest’s overall progression system is remarkable. It’s even deeper than Slay the Spire’s progress dynamic – to a certain degree. Whether you are victorious or not, every run will give you the chance to earn an achievement. The game’s achievements are not just for display. They come with helpful perks such as extra hit points, extra gold, or even new character classes. With dozens of achievements to aim for, Dream Quest will keep you busy.
If you have an imaginative mind, you will get comfortable playing this game. The simple artwork will allow your mind to stay focused on tactics during brutal fights. It will take a lot of practice, but you will eventually find the ‘zen spot’ of Dream Quest.
Grind It Out
Grinding is the soul of Dream Quest. Since the achievements are so valuable, you might be inclined to stretch your runs. Plus, your enemies hit hard, especially if RNG favors them. Even regular ones are annoying, such as zombies that can auto-kill your character in less than eight 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 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 when compared to Slay the Spire. But as you pick up the game’s eccentric nature, you’ll 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, but it’s already showing great promise.
Negotiation Through Cardplay
Griftlands explores 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.
Getting your revenge 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. There are minimal dialogue boxes, as negotiations are 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 quickly.
At times, you might think that luck is a major driving factor in the game because it is! Some card effects are random and can make or break your negotiation dialogs. Aside from negotiating, building relationships is worthwhile because other characters will grow to like or hate you, depending on your actions. Buying drinks, for example, is a great way of earning new allies in combat.
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 are Sal and his allies. This visual setup generates a ‘Final Fantasy’ feel with cards thrown in. And like in Slay the Spire, you can anticipate what your enemies will do.
Dishing out combos is satisfying, especially if you manage 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 passive bonuses. Winning a battle allows you to execute or capture enemies. After all, being a murderhobo will always have consequences
The Awesome Factor
Griftlands’ awesome factor is its phase. The game is currently in active development, and new features might be rolled out for roguelike deck-building lovers. It also presents a new concept which lets 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 frustrations and try again. Hand of Fate is one of the few games that achieve this blend. It empowers the spirit of Slay the Spire and introduces some new features that will keep you interested.
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.’ The Dealer also narrates everything that will happen to your hero.
Aside from having a customizable deck, 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 has his own deck, and it’s loaded with cosmic dangers meant to ruin your day. To make things even more challenging, the monsters in Hand of Fate also get better gradually, perhaps scaling to match your prowess.
The Past Shapes The Future
Your past will reveal the path to your future. This line may sound cliché, but it’s applicable with Hand of Fate and the game’s random event system. Whenever you encounter a random event, your choice will affect the nature of other decisions down the road. You will feel more involved – every win will give you a positive rush, and every defeat will be exhilarating.
In every stage of the game, you might feel rushed to tackle the boss. Don’t be tempted! Instead, do your best to finish all possible encounters. Upon doing so, you can gain more rewards that will help you beat strong bosses. Besides, you will need all the help you can get if you wish to defeat the Dealer!
Reminder: Hand of Fate will run beautifully on a capable system. Maybe you can consider an upgrade with this powerful motherboard.
The Awesome Factor
While roguelike elements take some control away from players, Hand of Fate counters that through flexible deck-building mechanics. Decisions matter in this game, and you need to think sharp – otherwise, you’ll lose often. Try Hand of Fate today and see how you fare in intense encounters!
Brimming With Tactical Potential
The rogue deckbuilding genre has grown immensely after Slay the Spire made its mark. You can now find creative concepts such as deckbuilding with simulation, card-based RPGs, and even WW2-inspired titles. Still, some developers preferred to build around basic RPG foundations with an emphasis on story. If you want to play such a game, Gordian Quest is a true gem.
Gordian Quest is similar to Slay the Spire in terms of deck management and card usage. Before the game’s gritty story begins, you have to pick a hero. Your hero determines the cards that you can play every turn. Think of the cards as representations of your hero’s actions.
As you navigate the overland map, you will encounter various enemies. The combat system is delightful, combining Slay the Spire’s cardplay and Xcom’s tactical movement. Every card is crucial since it can support your hero or cause heavy damage. And if the odds are not in your favor, you can move heroes and allies to defensive positions.
Skill Checks? Don’t Forget Your Modifiers!
Another unique feature of Gordian Quest is the skill check system. In specific areas of the map, you can resolve situations using your attributes. The result is determined by a d20 die, similar to Dungeons & Dragons!
To improve your success rate, you can use the cards in your deck. The cards can act as modifiers to the roll, but you can’t use them in battles unless your party completes a long rest, so you need to weigh your options. Will you be willing to sacrifice a combat action to make an event successful? Even then, your luck will still depend on the roll!
The Awesome Factor
Even though Gordian Quest is still on early access, it offers a strong premise with tons of replayability. The combat system is also challenging because your foes are not weenies – they maximize all moves. Once all story acts are out (only one is currently available), the game will become more interesting!
Ascension: The Deckbuilding Game
Your Gateway to Deckbuilding
Ascension is a relic deckbuilding game that combines major aspects of Magic the Gathering and Slay the Spire. The artwork is gritty – you might feel that the card pieces are like vintage paintings with actual value. Each card holds enough crunchy details to make any duel worthwhile.
The card animations are also fun to watch since they heighten the game’s flavor. There are no large explosive actions, but the effects are impressive.
Aside from its remarkable visuals, Ascension’s main selling point is accessibility. You can play it anywhere – PC, iOS, or even Android devices. If you’re waiting for the bus, you can hop on a quick duel and experiment with deck combos.
Expansions Mean Extra Mileage
Unlike many popular deckbuilding games, Ascension eliminates the grind by offering you all cards from the get-go. If you want more cards, you can purchase the game’s expansions. These expansions are not like delayed sections of the game. Instead, they stand out with new content and collectible cards.
The Awesome Factor
Ascension is easy to learn but a bit hard to master. The duels will test your wits, so take your time analyzing the cards. You can consider Ascension as the older and grittier version of Slay the Spire!
Dungeoneering & Cardplay Combined
The strongest quality of Slay the Spire is its progressive, upward challenge. Ascending the spire is not an easy feat – it’s easy to lose with one wrong move or unlucky card draw. If you want a tamer yet still challenging game, check out Card Quest.Card Quest is the inverted version of Slay the Spire. Instead of ascending, you descend in dark, endless dungeons filled with monsters. Your enemies are relentless, and your cards are the only keys between life and death.
Loots, Classes, & Mysteries!
If you’re looking for a comprehensive story campaign, Card Quest comes a little short. However, the game makes up for that by letting you unlock fascinating mysteries. Choosing the right class to play means a big difference in clearing the game’s dungeons.
Aside from the baddies waiting for you, more than 20 big bosses will make matters worse. You need to use all of your class skills and combos to nuke out all the bosses as fast as possible.
Don’t worry – if you die, you can always try again and, perhaps, get deeper into the bowels of darkness.
The Awesome Factor
You will have a great time with Card Quest, especially if you love a continuous challenge. The game is also highly accessible – you can play it on PC, iOS, or Android.
Dice Your Enemies
Have you ever imagined what it’s like to play as a dice hacking its way to glory? With Dicey Dungeons, you can now partake in such an experience! The premise of the game is simple – you need to survive a violent survival game show loaded with tons of enemies.
Since Dicey Dungeons is a roguelike game, permadeath is absolute law. The game’s branching paths are endless, and you will die many times. However, every run improves your character in various ways, and you’ll eventually gain enough strength to clear many paths.
At The Mercy of The Die
As you win battles, you’ll get valuable pieces of equipment, effects, and abilities that boost your attack and defense. At every combat, you can use your current battle die to raise equipment stats. By leveling up, you’d have more dice to spend. You’re truly at the mercy of the die!
All of the game’s six classes have unique abilities that affect their dice rolls. By experimenting with these abilities, you can create amazing combos and inflict massive damage.
While there are no cards in Dicey Dungeons, the equipment pieces do a similar job as your loadout serves as your main deck. It’s important to optimize your equipment loadout and remove pieces that do not complement your build.
The Awesome Factor
Dicey Dungeons puts a new spin on the roguelike deckbuilding genre. Be prepared to lose hundreds of fun hours with this game!
Slay the Spire’s Bloodier Cousin
It’s not enough to just copy the pattern of Slay the Spire. To be competitive, developers must introduce a new dynamic that will impress players. Blood Card took this route by combining deckbuilding and horror elements into an entertaining, delicate mush.
Blood Card is bloody and deadly. Some players believe that its difficulty curve is higher than Slay the Spire. Every card affects your gameplay experience for better or worse, and you need to optimize your deck as soon as possible. Combos are satisfying to watch, especially if you’re planning to take revenge against the boss that killed you.
Death Has A Cameo
Death is a busy entity with dozens of appearances in many games – Blood Card included. In any battle, you can encounter Death and his scythe. He will swipe at you and your enemies, causing tremendous damage. His manifestation can work for or against you, depending on the circumstances.
Is it over after Death’s scythe-swinging act? No. Every turn, your character will receive damage until the inevitable happens. You have no choice but to finish the battle fast!
Another painful yet unique mechanic of Blood Card is the HP-deck size ratio. Simply put, your deck size reflects your HP. If you discard a card, you lose 1 HP. That can be a deal-breaker, especially at deeper levels. You’ll soon get the hang of it – perhaps after five runs or so.
The Awesome Factor
Blood Card is a difficult yet charming game. The artwork is colorful, albeit in a grotesque and pixelated way. If you want to play it, may the combos ever be in your favor!
Other Games Like Slay the Spire According to RPG Game Players
I’m an avid gamer, both in the digital and analog sphere.
For an analog spin for deck building RPGs the board game Clank will definitely scratch that itch. Each player uses traditional deck-building mechanics to hire lackeys, upgrade their equipment, and run around and steal from a dragon’s lair.
Not tense enough for a rogue-like connoisseur?
Every action generates noise, and the dragon will constantly be moving closer to the players. Players win by having the most loot after escaping the dungeon. You get nothing if the dragon finds you.
Thanks for reading my answer. Please feel free to reach out if you need any further clarification on the above.
Founder of GameCows
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!