Monster Train owes a lot to Slay the Spire for popularizing the roguelike deck builder RPG, both at a high level and in some of its features and mechanics. But don’t dismiss Monster Train as a mere clone or derivative work like so many other games today attempting to capture the magic of deckbuilding. In Monster Train, your mind goes overdrive like a hell-ripping locomotive as you determine the most decadent and degenerate card and combo combinations. At first, the experience is an easy task that requires little effort, but subsequent runs and customization unlocks add considerable complexity to the mix, making Monster Train a game that melts hours, if not days, into a masterful moment. The action takes place in a three-story train, where enemies enter on the ground floor. If they get to the top, they kill your hit points. When your life points are gone, your race is over. The goal is simple: use a variety of monsters and spells to prevent them from stopping your train. Some bosses are the same every time, but they have a different mix of abilities and buddies that help keep things fresh. Different selectable factions form the basis of your decks and support each round, consisting of base cards and an evolving leader. While you can compare some of these at the base level to aggressive mage, healer, or melee archetypes, there’s a lot more going on here. Each faction plays quite differently, and you combine two different factions in each race to determine your pools of spells, monsters, and artifacts. These synergies lead to a ton of fun experiences, and each faction feels unique as well. From candle-lit creatures who have incredible power but wear out over time, to the umbrella race who feed on tiny bits of monsters that seem to have escaped the forges of Spirited Away, the choices are distinct and an explosion to whip up a curious alchemy. You can remove unwanted cards from your deck as well as add and edit new ones. Combining your cards with artifacts that have global lingering effects can make or break a race, such as an item that randomizes the cost of playing all of your cards, potentially allowing you to use your expensive options for free. Every little synergy you discover is a joy, and then putting together multiple concepts to tackle a high difficulty race is incredibly satisfying, stacking many layers of strategy on top of each other. However, races can start to feel too much of the same once you’ve learned about the different ways you can smash things stronger by stacking multi-hit effects or an armor cast. In mega difficulty modes, you’re forced to go after the most brutal and broken combos every time, and although the base bosses change a bit, the game can feel like you’re just playing against yourself- same and some randomization every time instead of everything. real enemy. Monster Train is a fun and addicting exercise that is well worth it, especially if you are a fan of roguelikes, card games, and deck-building dishes. Hours of entertainment await, often chained back to back like a crazy card combo.