Review: Monster Train (Steam)

Monster Train is a strategic roguelike deck-building game with a twist. Set on a train to hell, you’ll use tactical decision making to defend multiple vertical battlegrounds. With real-time competitive multiplayer and endless replayability, Monster Train is always on time.

Pros:

  • Cartoon graphics.
  • 1157mb Download size.
  • Steam achievements.
  • Steam trading cards.
  • Graphics-quality, resolution, display mode, and v-sync.
  • Basic tutorial tips pop up.
  • Game speed-normal/fast/ultra/super ultra.
  • Combat preview-on/off.
  • Scroll sensitivity slider.
  • Can rebind controls.
  • Card battler roguelike gameplay.
  • The game takes place on a tiered train, you start on the bottom floor and have to kill everyone before they reach the top and destroy your Pyre (core).
  • Each level of the train has a capacity limit.
  • Simple drag and drop controls.
  • Levels/enemies/rewards are all randomized.
  • As enemies are defeated a boss will appear and have special buffs or scenarios.
  • Win a game and get a choice of card rewards.
  • Merchant of magic-shop where you can reroll cards, costs, buy or upgrade cards.
  • Ember-this is what you use to play cards.
  • Beautiful art cards.
  • Pyre-as said is your core, you can’t place troops in the room but the Pyre does have health and attacks. Your Pyre health is actually the health for the whole run, you can heal it as you play.
  • Random encounters on the map screen.
  • Map-train track with encounters and events and battles.
  • Hover over any icon for a pop-up description.
  • Clans-2 initially but 5 total, this determines the type of cards you will get. You choose an allied clan to fight alongside.
  • Earn EXP for your chosen clan, level up, and unlock new cards.
  • Trials-adds an additional challenge to the next battle. It’s optional but winning with it on grants better rewards.
  • Champion-your main card/character and you can upgrade its stats and abilities.
  • Multiple choice upgrades, interactions, rewards, traveling.
  • Well laid out clan progress screen that shows cards and abilities you earned.
  • It can all be played with just a mouse.
  • Addictive.
  • So much fun to play.
  • Complete run history screen.
  • Daily challenge.
  • Online multiplayer-rush mode-timed battles race.
  • Challenge creator complete with share codes and score tables.
  • Online leaderboards for the daily challenge.
  • Daily challenges will have mutators and designated clans to play as.
  • Each floor has a capacity meter of blips. Cards have a number of blips that act like their size. As you upgrade cards their size grows and in turn the blips increase. For example, it’s possible to fill a level with just one card.
  • Can download your run stats and share them.
  • So much depth to stats and learning all the strats.
  • Logbook-shows unlocked cards, unlocked, and how to unlock further clans. All laid out easy to read and understand.

Cons:

  • Very basic tutorial.
  • A lot to take in initially.
  • The slight learning curve with how the game plays out.
  • Difficulty spikes.
  • No controller support.
  • Leaderboards for all other modes are hidden away.
  • RNG can be a bitch.
  • Early on the default hands absolutely suck.

  • 9/10
    Graphics - 9/10
  • 9/10
    Sound - 9/10
  • 9/10
    Accessibility - 9/10
  • 9/10
    Length - 9/10
  • 10/10
    Fun Factor - 10/10
9.2/10

Summary

Monster Train is one addictive son of a bitch. Within minutes you have the core concepts down thanks to its fluid gameplay and easy to read menu structure. Going for a more tiered take on all comers approach, Monster Train is a game that has you managing a deck of cards against an onslaught of enemies that enter the train at the ground level then after one round move up to the next level and hoping to make it to the top to attack the crystal (your life source). But first, you must choose your clan, your collection of cards, and then add a secondary clan to back them up. You only get 2 at first so that’s easy but over time you begin to unlock new clans by playing cards or killing enemies and the. You have a deeper strategy element as you work out which clan works best with another. I just cannot get over how easy and addictive the game is, even if you get your ass whooped constantly you will always be making progress for every kill or card played gets you one step closer to a new unlock like a clan or card. The logbook is laid out in such a way that you want to play the game more, you want to unlock all the cards and clans as to fill the book up, thinking about it it’s a masterclass of menu design as it makes you want to spend more time in the game before you even play the game. Finishing the game is not the end goal here as it just merely opens up another game mode, the goal here is to build powerful clans and dominate. Yes, RNG still plays a huge part but you can turn the odds in your favor by unlocking new cards, playing the map to your advantage. For me, this is the definite card roguelike game on the market today and that’s before you add in all the multiplayer! A masterclass of game design and progression, this is what addiction looks like.

Jim Smale

Gaming since the Atari 2600, I enjoy the weirdness in games counting Densha De Go and RC De Go as my favourite titles of all time. I prefer gaming of old where buying games from a shop was a thing, Being social in person was a thing. Join me as I attempt to adapt to this new digital age!

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