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Slay the Spire

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Slay the Spire Game Poster Image
Card game/adventure hybrid brings the best of both worlds.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Other than the typical “good vs. evil” fantasy theme, there’s very little overall story. Players are simply exploring the tower, fighting creatures, and collecting loot to progress as far as possible.

Positive Role Models & Representations

While the player is an archetypical fantasy hero, there’s not much character development. Instead, it’s basically just an avatar representing the “good guys.” There’s even less background or development on the other side of the battlefield, as enemies are just minions of the greater evil.

Ease of Play

Gameplay is straightforward and easy to pick up and play, with simple mechanics and cards that plainly explain their functions. Effectively managing your deck of available cards, though, requires a fair amount of strategy and planning. Also, the difficulty curve starts to sweep up as players continue to ascend the spire, running into more powerful and larger numbers of enemies.

Violence

Players are constantly battling against enemy creatures in turn-based battles, using a variety of weapons, skills, and magic spells. All the attacks are shown as flashy effects, with no blood ever shown and defeated enemies simply disappearing from the screen.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some of the game’s images, cards, and events occasionally reference both smoking and drinking alcohol.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Slay the Spire is a turn-based adventure game available for download on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch, as well as Windows, Mac, and Linux-based computers. The game combines elements of dungeon crawling with those of a card battling game. Players move along a series of different paths, fighting against enemy minions and bosses by using abilities from a constantly evolving and customized deck of cards. Although combat's constant, attacks are represented with flashy effects and cartoonish animations, with no blood or gore shown onscreen. The game’s mechanics are simple to learn, but require strategic thinking and planning to be effective, especially as the game progresses. Some cards have references to smoking and drinking alcohol.

User Reviews

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What's it about?

In SLAY THE SPIRE, your fate and fortune lie in the luck of the draw. Choose your warrior, choose your path, and take on the challenge of the Spire, a towering structure full of monsters, magic, adventure, and most importantly, treasure. Starting with a deck of basic abilities, you’ll expand and develop your skills dynamically by earning new cards, upgrading your current cards, and otherwise managing your arsenal as you ascend the Spire. You'll explore your surroundings and discover special events and powerful artifacts which can alter your fate … for a price. With more than 250 cards and 150 items at your disposal, will you have what it takes to Slay the Spire? 

Is it any good?

The big risk that comes with mixing different tastes together is that you’re just as likely to wind up with a complete mess as you are to have the next big thing. Thankfully, Slay the Spire, a unique hybrid of a rogue-like dungeon crawler and a collectible card game, is the most successful blending of flavors since chocolate and peanut butter. The game leans much more heavily into its card game elements, which is a perfect fit for the turn-based battles. While the early part of the game is little more than a constant mix of basic strikes and blocks, it’s not long before new cards added to the deck open up a slew of unique opportunities for devastating combos. And while there’s a certain element of chance involved, successfully progressing higher up the Spire requires a level of strategy and forethought that makes victory feel like a true accomplishment rather than just the luck of the draw.

While the adventure elements in Slay the Spire aren’t quite as much of a focus as the card gaming, they do add enough twists and quirks to the gameplay to keep things interesting. Potions, items, and artifacts feel right at home here. And when you run into a chance event, you might need to thing long and hard before deciding if that strength boost is worth losing half your max HP. Choose wisely and you can make it to new heights in the Spire. Choose poorly and you’re back on the ground floor starting fresh. Of course, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as the game is procedurally generated, meaning each adventure is a brand-new course than the one before, which will keep you coming back for more exploration and more treasure. It's that engaging gameplay that makes Slay the Spire a game that's packs in loads of fun and is a must have for card game fans.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in games. Is the impact of the violence in Slay the Spire affected by the lack of blood or gore shown in the game? Is the impact lessened by the fact that "combat" is conducted between cards instead of characters? How can things like art style, genre, and other factors affect the way that violence is presented in games? What might make violence more or less acceptable to younger audiences? 

  • What are some ways that certain games that can help kids with their reading skills and how can they teach to follow instructions?

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