Slay the Spire is now a video game classic, and it is well-deserving of its status and acclaim. You might think that Slay the Spire is overhyped, but keep in mind that it’s basically responsible for creating the genre of roguelike deckbuilding games. If you’re like me and think that Slay the Spire is every bit as great as people say, it’s safe to say you want more games like it to play. Thankfully, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve put together this list of the five best games like Slay the Spire to scratch that roguelike deckbuilding itch.
Let’s get started!
What is a Roguelike Deckbuilder, Anyway?
If you don’t know already, Slay the Spire indeed falls into the roguelike game genre.
We’ll begin by going over the basics that these games have in common to better highlight the unique things each game brings to the table. Roguelike games are a “run-and-done” deal — there are no extra lives or save points. When you die, you die. That said, each run usually unlocks new rewards you can use for future playthroughs.
Deckbuilders, as the name suggests, revolve around collecting virtual cards to create your deck. With each card addition, you’ll uncover unique playstyles and synergies. Fine-tuning your deck by adding, removing, and upgrading cards is crucial, and there are countless strategies to master based on your chosen class and cards.
In a roguelike deckbuilder, you begin by choosing a character/class that determines your starting deck. From there, you progress along a map (usually with branching paths you can take), encountering enemies, items, and unique events or bonuses. You engage in combat using your deck, with your turns usually limited by how many cards you can play in a turn. As you continue through the game, you can refine your deck to defeat bosses and ultimately win the run.
All the games included on this list follow this basic format, but if you think that makes them all the same, you’re mistaken.
5 Games Like Slay the Spire
With that in mind, let’s get right into our list of the best games like Slay the Spire!
Let’s start off by talking about Monster Train. One of the most beloved followers in Slay the Spire’s footsteps, Monster Train offers a very different, but equally unique setting. You know the idiom, when Hell freezes over? Well, that straight up happened. Now you’re on a literal train to Hell trying to keep the last infernal flames from going out, all while fighting the forces of Heaven to reclaim your abode of the damned.
The premise is engaging and the art style is a prime example of why a game doesn’t need to fry the average computer’s graphics card to look really good. But what about the gameplay and mechanics? The primary mechanic that sets Monster Train apart is that you fight on multiple levels at once, literally. At any given time, you’re fighting in multiple train cars. It’s almost like Slay the Spire had a child with 3D chess. Monster Train also boasts the now common element of unlocking permanent upgrades after each run. It also has a competitive multiplayer!
All in all, Monster Train is well worth checking out. Though if you aren’t like me, and for some strange reason are averse to siding with the forces of Hell, then maybe not.
Perhaps my personal favorite on this list, Roguebook replaces the dark and surreal style of Slay the Spire with a colorful fairytale theme, complete with enchanted forests and magic tomes. This all works great in Roguebook’s favor, as the twist of the game is that you’re trapped in a fantasy adventurer’s magic book and trying to get out. This isn’t just a fun premise — it’s well-implemented in the gameplay. You have two primary resources in the game, those being various types of ink and paintbrushes, which you use to draw the map on the pages of the book.
Roguebook takes place over three acts, each on a different hex-grid map. Most of the hexes start out blank, and you use your ink and paintbrushes to fill them in as you go. Each map will start out with a direct line to the boss already filled in, so you don’t have to worry about accidentally locking yourself out. But all the other fun goodies on the map you will have to discover for yourself.
Like Slay the Spire, there are four playable characters, but you always play two at a time. Each character is fun and memorable, and has their own unique cards, abilities, and playstyles. The fun really kicks in when you start combining the four heroes. Since you play as two at once, you can come up with some really great — and really degenerate — combos.
Finally, the game also has a permanent upgrade system, as well as an unlockable set of challenging rules you can add on to your runs. This gives the game a lot of replayability.
Tainted Grail: Conquest
Our next game like Slay the Spire is Tainted Grail: Conquest. Did you ever wonder what the legend of King Arthur would be like if it was retold as a roguelike deckbuilder with design and tone inspiration taken from Elden Ring? If your answer was yes, then I’m surprised, impressed, and worried in equal measure.
In any case, that’s what you’re in for with Tainted Grail. You’re a soldier from King Arthur’s army who joined him on his quest to conquer the mystical island of Avalon. Sadly, your glorious conquest is met with magical resistance from the Avalonions, who corner King Arthur and Merlin into messing with forces beyond their comprehension, resulting in realty breaking apart and trapping your soul into a time-loop until you can fix it.
As far as gameplay goes, you wander around a dark mindscape full of wyrdness (as it is called) doing the usual roguelike deckbuilder things. As a soul, you are able to inhabit bodies, which is an in-game explanation for the nine classes you can choose from each run. Each class belongs to one of three factions, which determine bonus cards you have access to.
The really unique aspect of this game is that as you play, you recruit new people to live in your town, giving you access to new bonuses. These include a smith who can forge you runes, or a seamstress with needles for fingers who can stitch your body. So if you want a dark and trippy King Arthur reimagining that is also fairly cheap, pick up Tainted Grail: Conquest.
Neoverse is the next game on our list. This one is a fantasy/scifi hybrid where you are exploring a spatial/temporal multiverse. The game is pretty straightforward, and you don’t really get a map, so much as some choices on which enemy to encounter next.
The game also has a standard shop that you can access between fights to gain new cards and items. However, what really makes this game stand out is the skill system. You chose at the start between one of three possible characters to play. These are a high-tech ninja, a mystical summoner, and a paladin (or vampire, depending on you starting deck). Over the course of the run, you acquire skill points that you can put toward randomized skill trees. You can go for skill paths vertically, horizontally, or diagonally, which allows for a lot of character customization. Add on to that the fact each character starts with one of three different decks (or a player-submitted deck that rotates) and you can really fine tune your playstyle.
The caveat I feel the need to mention is that Neoverse is a fan-service game. You will play as one of three sexy female characters and unlock various outfits for them as you play (or buy the DLC), some more tasteful than others. Nothing is pornographic or anything, but if you are less inclined to save the multiverse in a bikini or a schoolteacher outfit, then maybe give this one a pass.
The final game like Slay the Spire on our list is Arcanium. We’re heading back to a more fairytale fantasy feel with this one. In Arcanium, you build a party from a wide selection of characters who are all animal people. Do you want to play a pyromancer fox, a goat smith, or (my personal favorite) a vampire bat dark knight? If yes, then this is the game for you.
In the world of Arcanium, you form a three-person (or fur-son, as the case may be) team to try and cleanse the land of corruption. You have three maps to chose from for each run (a forest, desert, and volcanic landscape), each with their own unique rewards/bonuses. Each of the characters is well-designed both flavorfully and mechanically, falling somewhere on the spectrum of DPS to support (be it healer or tank).
Fights are exceptionally unique because of the game’s zone system. Your team of three is divided into zones, each with one enemy. Your cards target certain zones (or combinations of zones), and you can use energy to swap characters around for better effects. This adds an element of tactical movement to the game that’s present even in the basic deckbuilding mechanics, with certain cards having different ranges or being able to move players or enemies.
All in all, Arcanium has a very strong aesthetic that it sticks to and executes exceptionally well. And if it is one that you enjoy, then I think you’ll really like this game.
Join the High Ground
And there you have five games like Slay the Spire — thanks for reading! There are many, many more out there, so the deckbuilding junkies like myself can easily get our next fix. But hopefully this guide will be a good starting point for the next step on your deckbuilding journey. Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for more content on Slay the Spire and your other favorite games!