LifeisXbox’s Monster Train + The Last Divinity review | It’s been almost a year since the popular strategy and roguelike deck building game Monster Train by developer Shiny Shoe came out. Last month, a DLC called The Last Divinity was also released. We thought this would be the perfect time to take a look at the whole package. Personally, I have always been a big fan of card games, both online and offline, but Monster Train is unlike anything I’ve ever played before. And I mean that in the best way possible!
We played Monster Train + The Last Divinity for 7 hours on PC. This game is also available on Xbox.
What we liked!
- The road to hell | Hell has frozen over. Only you can protect the final burning pyre from the forces of heaven and restore the inferno. In order to protect this pyre, you’ll need to fight your way through various levels, which are called ‘rings of hell’ in the game. The 3rd and 6th rings are boss battles, and in the final ring, number 9, you’ll face the final boss. Thanks to the DLC, a new boss was added, by the way! The rings in between are just regular foes you need to defeat. In between every ring, you get to choose your own path, literally. Different routes offer different benefits, so it’s up to you to choose strategically. Will you upgrade cards, add a little magic, remove cards from your deck or restore the pyre’s health? These are just a few of the choices that you’ll find along the road. Every path has multiple benefits, so you’ll have to weigh them against each other.
- Gameplay | In every ring, you’ll have to fight off a certain amount of waves, and the final wave has some sort of boss monster that is a lot stronger. Every battle takes place on a train with four playfields stacked on top of each other. Enemies climb up a field after every turn. You can place your champion and units on the lowest three levels; the top field is preserved for your pyre. And you don’t want enemies to deal damage to that, of course! If the pyre is out of health, it’s game over, and you have to start your run all over again.
- Clans | The base game has five clans or decks: the Hellhorned, the Awoken, the Stygian Guard, the Umbra, and the Melting Remnant. Thanks to the The Last Divinity DLC, a fifth clan was added: the Wurmkin. During a run, you pick two clans, and each has its own strength. Every clan can also level up, and you can track which clans helped you reach victory. You’ll discover new cards along the way, and thanks to the logbook, you’ll see how many cards of a certain clan you’ve uncovered.
- Cards | As I mentioned above, every clan has different cards. Every card has a certain ability, attack points, and health points. They also have two standard empty slots each. Now, these can be quite useful, if you employ them strategically. I got a little carried away at first and ended up filling both slots on cards that I later wanted to have other extra abilities. You cannot remove assigned abilities so think before you act! Now, about the card abilities: there are so many! Just to name a few: Armor adds armor to a card so your health points are protected, rejuvenate triggers when you heal that card, and consume can only be played once per battle.
- Graphics & sound design| The art style in Monster Train is an absolute delight. The various clans each have their own unique style. My favorites were definitely the Awoken clan because it had a greenish plant vibe and the Stygian Guard because of the purple and blue-ish colors in every card. I do have to admit that the road to hell didn’t look as hellish as I expected it to be (not that this was a dealbreaker in any way), and it was a pleasure going through it every run. The monsters on the cards look good, the bosses look terrifying, all is as it should be! The same pretty much goes for the sound aspect of this game. There is suspenseful music playing, ensuring an even more exciting battle. The sound effects are always exactly the way they should be; I dare even say they were perfect!
- Replayability | You can spend a lot of hours in Monster Train and thanks to the newly added DLC, I’m sure a lot of players will get sucked right back into this game. Thanks to the logbook, you can keep track of your progress (cards, clan progress, found artifacts, leaderboards, and so on). The challenges, various clans, and overall testing gameplay keep you coming back for more.
- Trail and error | Monster Train is not an easy game, that’s for sure. If you decide to play this game, you’re in for a ride! The road to hell might not seem long, but I ensure you it is. The gameplay is quite difficult, and even though I personally loved the trial and error aspect, I don’t think everyone might enjoy this. I can see players getting frustrated due to them have to do run after run without success, so be aware that you won’t just get through all the levels easy breezy!
- Challenges | If you’re tired of the road to hell for a little while, there is still some other gameplay to discover. First of all, there is Hell Rush. In this mode, eight players compete in real-time content. You all start out with the same resources and opponents, and it’s your goal here is to reach the highest score. Second, we have daily challenges. Thanks to gameplay mutators you’ll get a new highly modified run every day! Climb your way to the global leaderboard and become the best. The third and last extra: the community challenges. You can either create your own challenge or find ones created by other players. Unfortunately, I could not play any of these three extras. For some reason, I always got a pop-up saying ‘failed to load challenge’. This was a real bummer, seeing as these seemed like some exciting features.
What we disliked
- Nothing | I have nothing but love for Monster Train!
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Head of PC team. PC, Switch, and Xbox game reviewer. Also a marketeer, concert and animal lover, and photographer in training 🙂