Monster Train Requested/Winner of the January 2021 poll Review

Embrace the googly eyes and accept them into your life!

Monster Train Requested/Winner of the January 2021 poll Review

Introduction
We are going to look at the winner of the poll of January, Monster Train. Monster Train is a deck-building game with a twist as they say on Steam. What exactly is this twist? Maybe it is the train, I am not exactly sure but whatever the case is, I am having a lot of fun while playing this game. Just as in most of the other deck-building games your character can level up to unlock the use of new cards and relics. There are five groups that fight to save the pyre, the last light of hell that needs to be re-ignited. In this game, you do not choose one group but two, that could be the twist? One group will be your main-force with a strong champion to fight the winged ones. The second group will act as a backup to help your champion with units or spells.

Every group has unique and distinctive gameplay that makes Monster Train special, you will only start with two groups but you are able to unlock three other groups and there will be another group in an upcoming DLC. You fight in a train with multiple floors and you need to stop the winged ones from reaching the pyre, if the winged ones reach the pyre, they will try to destroy it. You will be able to choose multiple paths when following the tracks down into hell but all roads lead to a confrontation with Seraph. In each new run, he will use a different power to try and counter your deck. I had more fun with Monster Train than I did with Slay the Spire. The Last Divinity DLC  of Monster Train is slated to release in 2021 on March 25th.

What did I think of Monster Train before playing?
Because I played Slay the Spire, I was looking at another deck-building game and then I remembered a game that was requested three times!
Monster Train was requested by CJ, Roman, and Lendvai, I remember that the game was a deck-building game and I was curious if people would like this game to be reviewed.
I decided to put Monster Train in the poll of January to see what the outcome would be, it was touch and go but Monster Train won the poll!
I looked up some trailers and I encountered a magnificent thing that sold me immediately, googly eyes! Everyone has googly eyes!
The decision was made we are going to play Monster Train we want those googly eyes, I need the googly eyes in my life!

I rate Monster Train with an 8.5 before playing.
The game looks great and everybody has googly eyes. You can take two champions on the train to fight the winged ones.

Story
The Winged ones have destroyed Hell, but there is a small hope to restore hell to its former glory, a chosen champion will protect the boneshaker (the train) which carries the last of the pyre that can re-ignite hell.
With just a little spark a revolution begins against the winged ones. You will need to protect the boneshaker as it travels to the depths of hell to restore hell but Seraph will be tracking you to destroy the revolution. Can you stop Seraph and re-ignite hell?

 I rate the story of Monster Train with a 7.0
I like the intro that tells you the story and the fact that a deck-building game has a story is something that usually goes wrong.

Gameplay
Monster Train is a deck-building roguelike but the difficulty, in the beginning, is not too high but after every successful run, you will gain a new covenant rank that will increase the difficulty. There are many different combinations for you to try out with the different groups. To unlock the other three groups, you will need to achieve certain tasks, some combinations can be very good but other combinations might not be a good idea or fitting for your personal taste. The awoken group are formed of plants and have healing skills, the awoken are all about surviving as long as possible. The remnants have units that need to die to become stronger or burn out after several turns. Combining these two groups could work but it can also create problems. In Monster Train I had the idea that more builds are viable and that I need less luck to win than that I needed Slay the Spire. Along the road you will encounter shops, these shops can sell you upgrades for your spells or units. You might even come across a shop that sells artifacts but those are rare!

When you have chosen who your champion is going to be, you will be sent to the map, you can choose between two random artifacts to start your adventure with. The more levels up that you have with all the groups, the more artifacts will be available. New cards will also be unlocked when you level up, reaching level five is the most important step for every group. At level five you will unlock a second champion with different abilities. The umbra group is all about making morsels for your champion to eat but the second champion called primordium is all about being eaten himself to make his minions stronger! The stygian group is all about casting spells and making the winged ones weaker, they can also inflict frostbite, the frostbite occurs after each turn of a winged one. Every champion has three upgrade paths that can change how the champion works and how your run will work out. You will need to try and collect artifacts that synergize with the champion upgrade that you have chosen. You have a stygian champion that uses frostbite then you can use an artifact that doubles the frostbite dealt. Normally frostbite decays after time but with that artifact, it will not decrease.

When you start a battle you draw cards each turn, every card has a number that shows how many embers it will cost to use that card. You will start each turn with three embers but you can get more by collecting artifacts or using certain cards. After each major boss, you can choose from three artifacts. One will increase the ember, the other one will increase how many cards you will draw. Your units will also have yellow dots, these indicate how much space they will occupy. Every floor can hold up to five yellow dots but after each major boss, you can also choose to upgrade the floor slots. There are also some artifacts or cards that can increase your floor slots. There are three floors and one that contains the pyre. The pyre can also attack but if the pyre is broken you will get a game over screen. You need to pay close attention to keywords under your enemies or it might spell your demise. Some enemies can get buffs if you use a certain move or even gain armor!

I rate the gameplay of Monster Train with an 8.2
There are many viable builds and most of them can carry you to the end, even with weaker units if you use them wisely. There are many different combinations of groups and with the eye on the future of another group joining with even more updates to the game. Ranking up with successful runs feels fair but a little bit more difficult each time. With covenant rank 11 your units get dazed on the top floor, this makes it so that you need to plan your strategy before the enemies get there! Don’t even forget about the googly eyes.

Sound and graphics
The graphics are better than I had expected, there are many different units and they all feel unique. You can see that the developers put a lot of thought into creating the units. The arts that you see on the cards are also great, casting silence on the enemies does look weird. What is that on their head? A beehive? My only complaint is that there is no video after completing a run. Having a video intro but not an exit video feels odd to me.

The sound and sound effects are fun, it does sound weird though hearing an imp say, mama. Sometimes I hear the oddest thing like an enemy saying *omnomnomnom* when attacking. I am not sure what they are trying to say. Is that enemy eating something like a donut? It must be googly eyes that make them extra crazy.

I rate the sound and graphics of Monster Train with an 8.1
All I can say is *omnomnomnomnomnom* it makes me laugh every time.

What I did think after playing Monster Train?
I had a lot of fun playing Monster, a lot more than when I played Slay the Spire, Monster Train feels more balanced to me and less luck-based.
My favorite groups are the remnant and the awoken but the Stygian is a welcome addition too!
I love how the game handles how you unlock new artifacts and cards, I also had fewer artifacts pop up that were unnecessary to the combination of groups that I was playing in that run.
I did not have a lot of streaks because usually, I lose a run and then win a run, it also depends on the combination I am trying which is rarely the same.
My combination with umbra and remnant was a disaster, I thought dying morsels would help to get high damage with the card memento mori, though luckily I never got the card.
My wife also played this game and had a lot of fun, if you enjoy deck-building games this is one of the best card games currently out there, I mean it, don’t forget those googly eyes.

I rate Monster Train with an 8.8 after playing.
I am going to work hard to try and reach covenant rank 25, I am also looking forward to the upcoming DLC.

Personal rating.
I don’t have anything to add for the personal rating.

My personal rating for Monster Train is 9.1.

Pros
– Google eyes everywhere.
– Monster Train does not feel luck-based, you can win with any combination of cards.
– There are five different groups to choose from and you can combine them.
– Each new run feels refreshing, you will never encounter the same thing twice in a row.
– The sound effects are great but I am not sure what the enemies are saying.
– I loved the graphics and the art of the cards looks amazing.
– You can build up insane high damage if you play your cards right.
– Everyone loves the Dante card.

Cons
– If you are trying to make a certain build you might not get the card that you need but you can still win.
– You might have bad luck and get hard countered by Seraph, if you play your cards right you might still beat him.

This game is most likely one of the best roguelike deck building games out there at the moment, I am still going to try and get the covenant rank 25! I would recommend this game if you are looking for a great time with building a deck!
Thank you, CJ, Roman, and Lendvai for requesting this great indie gem, also great thanks to all the people that voted for Monster Train in the poll!
The final rating of Monster Train is …drumroll…

8.1

Let me know what you think about Monster Train in the comments.
I hope that you enjoyed reading this review, I hope to see you in the next review

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