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Monster Train review | PC Gamer


Need to know

What is it? A roguelite deckbuilder on rails.
Expect to pay: $25/£19.49
Developer: Shiny Shoe
Publisher: Good Shepherd
Reviewed on: Windows 10, Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, Nvidia GTX 1060
Multiplayer? Eight-player online sharing the same seed
Link: themonstertrain.com

Hell is empty and all the devils are here, and by here I mean on this train, teaming up with monsters to fight angels across the frozen wasteland that used to be their home, until they reach Hell’s heart and relight it with the last Pyre-flame. Surprisingly, the game beneath that wild idea is a deckbuilder so similar to Slay the Spire that if I hadn’t seen the creators of both talking chummily on a livestream I’d have been a bit suspicious. 

Where Slay the Spire had relics that changed the nature of a run, Monster Train has artifacts that sometimes have basically the same abilities (the infamous Snecko Eye, which randomised spell costs, returns as “Volatile Gauge”). Slay the Spire had unlockable difficulty levels called ascensions, Monster Train calls them covenants. I found myself not minding the lack of originality, though. It feels like playing a sequel that builds on its predecessor’s ideas.

There are plenty of ways Monster Train is different. Instead of choosing a hero with their own deck of cards, you pick two monster clans, combining their decks like colours in Magic: The Gathering. (Some are strange, like the waxy undead Melting Remnant, while others are a bit mundane like the plant-themed Awoken). Each battle takes place over four levels of your train—three platforms where you summon monsters and a Pyre at the top that has to be protected. Packs of angels enter at the ground floor and any you don’t kill march up a level.

(Image credit: Good Shepherd Entertainment)

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