For a long time, I actively avoided the Roguelike genre. Based on my limited understanding of how these games worked, the threat of losing all of your progress upon death had no appeal to me whatsoever.
Two aspects of the genre got me to change my tune. One, the advent of Rogue-lites made punishment less severe. Instead of losing everything when you die, your hero would gain permanent upgrades during each run, making successive runs a bit easier while also providing value to failed runs. Two, the Rogue-lite format has permeated beyond the dungeons of yesteryear. From action games, to turn-based strategy tiles, and even card games have caught the Rogue-lite bug. Having Rogue-lite elements incorporated into game genres I love has gone a long way towards me appreciating Rogue-lites and Roguelikes as a whole.
Here are some of my favourites!
Though I tend to be the type to ride from one hot new release to the next, 2020’s lineup was…subpar for me as a whole. Sure, there were a couple of games that made an impact on me, with one in particular that is likely to be crowned my personal Game of the Year. But for the most part, my year was defined by catching up on older games that slipped by me during their hey day. Here are some of the more notable titles I caught up on in 2020!
Over the past few months, I’ve made some serious strides towards slaying the spire. I’ve beaten the game with every class at least once. Still working on conquering the “secret” 4th level and unlocking the game’s true ending.
All four classes have their strengths and weaknesses. But which one is my favourite to play as? Let’s rank them!
4. The Silent
Silent and deadly in the right hands (sorry), The Silent has so many cool tools at her disposal. I love her poison mechanic and I love raining on my foes with daggers. Nevertheless, she was the one I struggled to beat the game with the most.
She can do so much on the offensive end, but her low health and defensive options feel a bit too all-or-nothing. I also feel like it’s really difficult to build an all-around hand with The Silent. Maybe I’m just a scrub, but it feels like focusing your efforts on one aspect of her toolkit works better than trying to have a bit of everything. Even so, she’s still a ton of fun to play and quite the power trip when you’ve got the right build.
3. The Watcher
The Watcher has some of my favourite cards in the entire game. The Alpha > Beta > Omega setup that eventually unlocks 50 damage every turn is mind-blowing! When the stars align, she’s an absolute wrecking ball. I managed to beat the game with The Watcher long before maxing out the character and unlocking all of her kit.
At the same time, she can also be the ultimate glass cannon if you get caught in the wrong stance. In her powered-up Wrath stance, she deals double damage at the cost of eating double damage. It’s critical to mastering her, but even great runs can literally disintegrate in one turn if you mess up the timing. She might be the character I’m most effective with, but I feel like I’m walking on eggshells throughout.
2. The Ironclad
Compared to the other characters, The Ironclad’s play style is a bit…vanilla. Though you don’t have to manage any extra layers of depth, there’s definitely an art to climbing the tower with The Ironclad.
What makes The Ironclad rank so high on my list is his raw damage output. Many of his cards hit hard at face value and can be absolutely devastating if you build the right deck to amplify his firepower. I also like a few of his key tools that allow him to block and attack at the same time. Great character to learn the game with or fight with to unlock the true ending!
1. The Defect
Every character in Slay the Spire is a joy to play. But if I’m forced in a position to only play one class, I’m going with my favourite: The Defect. This robot is designed around engine-building, where many of its powers come from managing orbs that grant a myriad of active and passive abilities. Though it takes some work to get The Defect going, it can be developed into an absolute unit. Best of all, its fundamental design allows for a ton of play style flexibility. If I’m going to truly slay the spire, I’m aiming to do it first with The Defect!
Even after devoting dozens of hours into Slay the Spire, learning The Watcher threw me for a loop. What makes her unique is the abilities she gains when changing stances. However, if you mismanage her stances, you can die in a blink.
Despite the complexity of the character, she’s the only one I’ve beaten the game with before hitting level 5. Is it because she’s that good? Or is it because I’ve just improved overall? Or did I just happen to get really lucky during one run? Whatever the case, here are some of my favourite cards in her arsenal!
The Defect is far from defective when it comes to battling in Slay the Spire. When pushed to the limit, this AI can be equal parts bulldozer and fortress. Reaching that limit by managing its unique orb mechanic is the true challenge.
Now that I’ve conquered the tower with The Defect, take a peek at some of my fave cards in its deck!
After completing Slay the Spire with The Ironclad, I turned my attention to The Silent. While The Silent is capable of melting her foes, it’s going to take more setup on the player’s part to create those devastating combinations. Though I’ve gotten to the final battle a few times, the climb to the top has been much tougher for me with The Silent than The Ironclad.
Now that I’ve finally climbed to the top with The Silent, thought I’d share some of my favourite cards from her deck!
In Third Person started with video games as its primary subject matter. However, it’s taken many subject matter detours over the years as my interests have evolved. There was a stretch of time where I wrote a lot about comic books. Board games were huge on the site for a while. I discovered over the years that it was more important for me to use this space to write about my interests – whatever they are – versus trying to box myself in. I’m not trying to make the next Kotaku, Gamespot, or IGN (though they all stray from gaming at times as well). For the sake of my happiness, I’d rather have the site evolve with me.
Most recently, streaming content has consumed the site to the point where it’s a daily conversation point. In case you haven’t been following my recent antics on Twitch, here’s the lowdown on why it’s having such a dramatic impact on my writing output.
Each character in Slay the Spire is controlled with a deck of cards that constitutes their attacks, defensive maneuvers, and other status effects. Though you unlock most of the cast in quick succession, I decided to focus my efforts on beating the game with the game’s starting character: The Ironclad.
Having finally climbed to the top with this masked swordsman, here are some of my favourite cards to use when playing as The Ironclad!
If at first you don’t succeed, try again, and again, and again…or quit?