Title: Monster Slayers
Developer: Nerdook Productions
Genre: Adventure, RPG, Deck Builder
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Audience: PEGI 12
Release Date: 05/04/2019
£13.49 £10.79 until May 5th – Rapid Reviews UK was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
What the Developers say
Monster Slayers is a rogue-like deck-building RPG adventure with an innovative card-based battle system that lets you customize a deck to suit your play style.https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch-download-software/Monster-Slayers-1534849.html#Overview
Create a hero to join the Monster Slayers Guild and choose your path through the perilous Northern Valley as you follow your quest to defeat the legendary Harbinger and become a true Monster Slayer.
• Battle undead goblins, lion outlaws, mighty dragons and other monstrous foes using a unique card-based combat system
• Strategically shape your deck as you acquire new cards
• Collect fame from each run to unlock new abilities
• Every playthrough is different: levels, enemy encounters and loot are randomly generated
• 12 different character classes: Rogue, Ranger, Knight, Barbarian, Cleric, Wizard, Assassin, Beastmaster, Apothecary, Brute, Monk, and Necromancer
• Recruit companions and make use of their special abilities
• Equip your hero with stat-boosting loot to improve the chances of victory.
Cards games are my jam. They can come in all shapes and sizes but, generally, a card game will interest me on at least some level. I used to play a couple of TCGs regularly on weekends, I’m always up for poker night, and more importantly, I’ve spent a fair amount of time with video games that revolve around cards.
Specifically, I’ve played 40+ hours of Slay the Spire’s early access release and have recently spent at least 10 hours hands-on with SteamWorld Quest, so I know my way around deck-building games, especially rogue-likes. When I saw Monster Slayers, then, I was intrigued whether it could improve on the formula, or if it was just a cheap knockoff.
At its core, Monster Slayers is a deck-building rogue-like with very similar mechanics to Slay the Spire. You start with a small deck of cards that you use to defeat monsters. Along your journey, you’re given opportunities to gain additional cards or upgrade and remove cards already in your deck.
Audio and Visual
Monster Slayers’ music is surprisingly epic in scale and grandeur. I wasn’t expecting the compelling battle themes that it features. There are also some voice-acting lines, which is always a nice touch for budget titles. Unfortunately, the visuals are an entirely different story. The user interface is quite primitive and cluttered, as it fights itself to display a tonne of information at once. The text and icons are difficult to understand in handheld mode, too, while the models and animations are fairly basic.
Gameplay and Replayability
Monster Slayers’ unnecessary clutter and convoluted systems make it challenging to get in to. They throw a lot at you from the start, and you have to figure things out as you go. It starts to hit its stride a few hours in, though.
You start with 8 playable classes, but your characters and decks will be very weak. You aren’t expected to make it very far in your first few runs. However, the primary objective is to collect Fame each run. Fame can be traded for permanent upgrades such as increased health, better stats, or a wider selection at shops.
As I mentioned before, the gameplay loop is very similar to Slay the Spire. You enter randomly generated dungeons, fight monsters, visit merchants, and make tough decisions about your deck. Monster Slayers does have some unique takes on the genre, though they aren’t all winners.
You’ll collect weapons and armour that are kept between runs and the Fame upgrade tree is a nice touch, too. You only draw 3 cards per turn, though, which only increases as you progress further into each run. I found this stifling, as it limited the options I could make each turn.
You’re going to need to put a few hours into Monster Slayers to get to a position where you can “win” a run. After that, there’s potentially endless replayability, especially as each class has different cards and playstyles. These are all fun at first, but I found that the gameplay loop had lost its lustre by about the 8-hour mark.
Despite a 20% sale that runs until 05/05/2019, Monster Slayers still has a fairly hefty “Switch Tax”. Currently, at £10.79 GBP, it’s almost twice the usual Steam price of £5.99. Until April 22nd, though, you can pick up Monster Slayers for just £1.79 on the Steam store. At that price, Monster Slayers is a steal, and I recommend it to anyone with even a passing interest. At £10+, however, it’s a much tougher sell on Switch.
Monster Slayers is rough around the edges and has the type of cluttered UI that you’d expect of a £5 game. Asking Switch customers for more than twice that is a tough pill to swallow. There’s undoubtedly replay value here, and I recommend it at its Steam price, but I think Switch-only customers should bide their time until Slay the Spire releases later this year.
Rapid Reviews UK Rating
You can purchase Monster Slayers on the Switch eShop at the following link: https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch-download-software/Monster-Slayers-1534849.html