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Monster Train Review

February 10, 2023

Hell has frozen over and you are in charge of protecting the last lit pyre on a train, fighting against legions of monsters who are destined to put out the fire.

Monster Train adds a strategic layer to roguelike deckbuilding with three vertical playing fields you must defend at all costs. Each battle sees legions of enemies start on one floor and move up to damage your Pyre.


If you’re a fan of deck-building roguelikes like Slay the Spire, you’ll likely enjoy Monster Train. It’s a tactical spin on the genre that literally layers on new ideas.

In Monster Train, you take control of a train that is trying to reach the bottom floor of hell and reclaim its Pyre from the forces of heaven. You attack enemies, place units on the ground and upgrade them with spells.

As you defeat hordes of enemies, you’ll earn embers that can be used to purchase cards and buff your units. Each card has a cost and special properties, and you’ll need to pick the right one for your situation.

The game is procedurally generated, so each ‘run’ is unique, and you’ll encounter new challenges as you go along. This adds a sense of replayability to the experience, but there is a certain amount of luck involved in the gameplay.


The graphics in Monster Train are incredibly impressive. The animations are reminiscent of Darkest Dungeon and the combat is intense and exciting.

In this game, you control a train that travels to hell to destroy enemy pyres. You will collect cards that summon creatures or special moves to protect the train and prevent enemy attacks.

There are a lot of different cards, but you can only use two at a time. You can also upgrade these cards to make them stronger.

When you get good enough to defeat a monster, you will earn money that you can spend on buying cards or upgrading them. These cards can help you in a battle or give you more health and energy.

You can play against other people in a timed score attack mode, where you have to destroy all enemy trains before the timer runs out. This is a great way to test your skills against other players and learn new strategies.


The soundtrack in Monster Train is more than a pretty sight; it’s an immersive experience, particularly when you’re fighting larger foes. You get to hear a wide range of songs from classical to rock, with the right track matching the mood.

The best part is that the soundtrack can be played in the background while you work out your next moves. You can also select different settings to alter the music.

In a nutshell, the game plays out like any other deck building roguelike: you have three floors to defend, with each floor containing a certain number of enemies (represented by little gold pips). Then, there’s your Pyre which is the centerpiece of your deck, and must be protected to allow you to restart hell’s fires.

Shiny Shoe has done a stellar job of putting together an entertaining experience that’s a delight to play in short bursts, and will keep you coming back for more. It’s a definite winner in the deck-building roguelike space, and deserves to be considered among the top titles of its genre.


If you like roguelike deck building games, Monster Train will be hard to put down. It offers a lot of replayability and depth through gameplay mutators, buffs, challenges and leaderboards.

You start each run with a starter deck, which is based on your chosen faction and hero. After that, you can add new cards and relics to your deck as they are available.

A key part of the game’s depth and replayability is its unique battle system, which sees you playing on a train with four floors where monsters appear at the lowest floor and ascend to the top when they survive your attacks. You need to beat them all before they reach the top floor, which is home to a Pyre that needs to be protected at all times.

This is a very clever mechanic, and it makes for a fun game that rewards strategic thinking and careful placement of your demons. It also keeps things fresh by letting you choose from six clans, each with different mechanics and heroes.

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