In recent months, all fans of collectible card games are talking about Monster Train, the game that holds eighth place in sales in Steam, ahead of Fallout 76 and Halo: the Master Chief Collection. There, it has extremely positive feedback based on almost 5,000 reviews. Let me explain why the game is so cool.

Monster Train took all the best from Slay the Spire…

Taking the best from Slay the Spire is generally fashionable today, but in this case it really looks appropriate and does not irritate. That is, Monster Train is also a card “Roguelike”, where in addition to the actual duels there is movement on the map. There you decide whether to go left or right to buy improvements for fighters or for spells, collect artifacts or gold, delete two cards or maybe double some, and so on. However, in Slay the Spire, you can avoid some battles with particularly strong enemies, but in Monster Train – you can not.

And, of course, random events occur periodically with a choice of actions and rewards. As in Slay the Spire, in addition to the usual expedition, there are also special challenges where you compete with other people. At the same time, you can create your own challenge. As a result of all this, new maps and artifacts are opened (they need to be used in the next races and tests),ratings are compiled and so on.

…And also added a Dungeon Keeper there

The action of Monster Train takes place in hell, which froze after the “Paradise” heroes took out the Inferno. We play for the bad guys who are on the title “monster train” carry the last spark of Hellfire to revive the Inferno. Periodically, the train are attacked by “good” – all these boring positive angels and knights who attack in waves and steadily rise to get into the room with the flames and try to destroy it. And we need to protect it by putting our fighters in the way of the enemies, using spells, and so on. Although the Inferno is able to stand up for itself, it also deals damage to the attackers. After the battle, it is desirable to treat the flame or somehow pump it with artifacts, but this opportunity does not always come across.

This is also a step-by-step tactic.

Battles in Monster Train include not just one hero, but many fighters with their own characteristics and features, who  automatically attack each other after completing a turn. You must use the cards correctly to make them win.

In particular, you need to place your soldiers tactically, deciding who to send and to which floor. And if possible put them between floors. The weaker ones, who will be destroyed by the first attack, is naturally better hidden behind a well fed “tank”. In other situations, you should put forward a weak one – they will immediately cause great damage to the front attacking enemy or revive one of our other soldiers, at the same time strengthening them. And there are also cards that heal  fighters when moving them up or down.

There are many decks with different combination.

In addition to all other advantages, it is also important that in Monster Train there are not four heroes, like in Slay the Spire, but five different clans with “sharpened” maps for different tactics. Moreover, you must combine any two clans, upgrading them and opening new opportunities. As a result, the game turned out to be both really interesting and difficult – I had to spend several hours in it to at least once pass the race from the beginning to the final boss.

Randomness, of course, matters, but it can be adjusted by removing the cards from the “deck”.

Play or not to play? Of course, play!

As a result, the authors of Monster Train, seemingly copying other people ideas, managed to create a truly unique CCG, which looks like a breath of fresh air against the General background – although with a taste hell’s sulfur.

Positive: a unique combination of Collectible Card Game, tactics and ideas of Dungeon Keeper; many decks and their combinations; the game looks and sounds great; everything is translated even into Russian.

Cons: the balance in places Is still slightly worse than Slay the Spire.

Project details

  • Year: 2020
  • Developer: Steam