Slay the Spire Mobile Review

It’s always a bit odd reviewing a game that’s been out for a while, let alone one you’ve already reviewed, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited about having a reason to jump back into Slay the Spire, and it finally coming to Android phones is just the best.

Slay the Spire is a deckbuilding roguelike, which is a genre that it didn’t entirely invent, but definitely popularised. Since the original release of the game, we’ve had the likes of Monster Train, Haxity, Iris and the Giant, Nowhere Prophet, and countless others come about. That’s not even including the ones coming out this year like Roguebook, or any others in the works that we’ve not heard of yet.

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Is this room trying to kill me?

Your role is to make your way through a mysterious dungeon by fighting off all manner of monsters and rapscallions. You’ll also have to survive the Spire itself, which is more than happy to throw traps, random events, gold-stealing goop, creepy gremlins, and cults at you. It isn’t a particularly nice place to be, but thankfully you’ve got access to four rather powerful heroes, each of whom has their own ways of dealing with the threats of the Spire. Each character has a handful of different builds to mess around with, and if you ever manage to build one out perfectly you’ll get to trounce everything in your path.

It’s unlikely you’re going to have an easy time of things though, because even the basic little worms in Slay the Spire are more than capable of just trashing you. It’s a challenging game that’ll have you coming back for more constantly because the satisfaction of winning is just that high.

The real question here though isn’t how good Slay the Spire as a game is or how satisfying it is to conquer, but how well it holds up on mobile, and to be honest, it’s a little mixed.

Get out your magnifying glass

While the game runs well aside from lengthy boot-up times, the controls can be a little fiddly, and frankly the text size is going to make it impossible to play for some people. I’ve had laser eye surgery, and it took me a little while to adjust to the text because it seems to be a scaled-down version of the normal text. That’s going to be fine for some people, but it’s a big accessibility red flag for people with eyesight problems, and it’s a little harsh to exclude them from this version.

On the control front, I found it to be a little frustrating in places. I’ve got something called an Essential Tremor (which is doctor-speak for, you’re hands are shaking but you seem fine), and while it affects games sometimes, it’s not something that I think about all that much. Here though, with the cards being so fiddly to select, I occasionally got myself killed by selecting the wrong card without realising. This is especially true as sometimes clicking a card does the seem thing as dragging it. It could well just be me, but I’d wager that other people will find this to be a bugbear, tremor or not.

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Summary
Aside from a few gripes, this is just as much Slay the Spire as any other version. What that means is that it's still a sublime game filled with some of the best deckbuilding roguelikery around, and it's no less satisfying to play despite being on my phone (although my trips to the toilet are about 50% longer now). However, the accessibility issues detract, and a lot of people are going to be unable to ignore them in order to play the game.
Good
  • Fantastic rogue-like action
  • Deck-building that you'll lose hours to
Bad
  • Tiny text
  • Controls can be difficult to manoeuvre on a phone
7
Written by
Jason can often be found writing guides or reviewing games that are meant to be hard. Other than that he occasionally roams around a gym and also spends a lot of time squidging his daughter's face.