Monster Slayers is a fast paced deck building rouge like adventure game – try saying that fast three times over! The game brings a new twist to the generic card battling games by utilising the cards as basic forms of attack. Rather than playing from a gameboard, you progress through dungeons, fighting enemies along the way. Each encounter, whether it be the enemy type, enemy level or if you happen to encounter a shop or a healer, are all different thanks to the randomly generated dungeons you make your way through. These dungeons give the game a great replayability value, as every run through is unique, although you will get used to the ‘types’ of enemies you will encounter.
You begin by choosing from one of 6 different types of characters: Rogue, Ranger, Knight, Barbarian, Cleric or Wizard. Each character has a set of attributes unique to its class and they all feel fairly balanced. With none of them standing out as overpowered compared to the rest. Your choice here is determined by your playing style, although each one is as easy to use as the next. From here you move on to create a new hero, although as stated in the tutorial, these changes are nothing but cosmetic and you shouldn’t spend too much time here as the hero will be dead very soon. It’s a nice touch but one that seems wasted on this type of game, with the short nature of games you begin to use the generic named/character look everytime you play.
The game begins with a beautifully hand-drawn map area that shows 6 distinctly different zones. You can choose whatever zone you fancy then head off to slay some monsters, albeit not alone. At each cave entrance, you will be asked to choose from 2 special companions. Each will have a unique effect, so choose wisely. This friend can be utilised every few battles, depending on its own cooldown. Although not needed much in the early stages, companions become more and more necessary as the game progresses. The Dungeon map area is simple yet effective with areas becoming unlocked after each battle, it’s easy for you to navigate around the dungeon in the most fitting way, depending on your play style. With a boss hidden somewhere within the map, it’s possible to skip multiple enemy battles and progress onto the next level, but speed is definetly not the best way forward here.
In an attempt to gain power you must find loot. Each level is filled with cards, power-ups, and items that can upgrade your character, but only at specific points. Thanks to the permadeath feature your character is gone once he/she dies, any cards collected will be erased and you are back to square one. Although the game states it is a rogue like, your loot and special upgrades you gain through fame are all continued over to the next playthrough, making every attempt a little bit easier than the one before. This progression system adds a twist to the game, one that gives you a reason to keep playing, even when you can’t get beyond a certain dungeon or boss level. Your loot will be safely held in your starting chest, and at the beginning of each new game you can access it and equip yourself with stronger starting gear. Defeating the boss as soon as possible and moving on isn’t recommended, look for as much loot as you can get, ready to re-equip next time round.
The art style is simple yet attractive, relying on well-drawn characters and cards to draw your eye away from the limited, yet once again, very well drawn backdrops. This style works exceptionally well at making you focus on the battle and cards. Along with unusual baddies, a good soundtrack and some nice card effects, the game as a whole is a fast paced. One that can be picked up and played for a few hours without the need to worry about story or content. There is a save function if needed, although with the type of game it is I found it a little unnecessary until the much higher rounds.
Monster Slayers is available on Steam for £5.99, or £5.39 with 10% off until the 30th March.