It feels like a while since I've played a card battle game, but actually it's only been about half a year since I blogged about Pokémon Trading Card Game Online. I've had the indie card battler game Slay the Spire for a while, but it wasn't until NintendoLife made it their inaugural pick for their Backlog Club that I was given the push to actually try it out.
One of the main ways the game is unique is that it combines card battling with a rogue-like (i.e. randomized) dungeon crawl. You encounter enemies, events, and merchants, and there are three main areas that you work your way through. There are several different characters to choose from, and each comes with their own starting relic (i.e. buff) and their own pool of cards, which naturally lean them towards a certain play style. For example, there's a hunter type who depends on full hands and many attacks as opposed to the fighter character who uses fewer attacks, but each attack deals more damage.
There's randomness in the enemies, relics (passives), potions, and bosses you'll encounter, and once I got oriented it wasn't too hard to get to the first ending boss with the first two characters (apparently there's a much more difficult one that unlocks after you get to the first ending with three of the characters, or something like that). I enjoyed my time with the game, but with the lack of a story and any sense of an overall progression I really didn't feel the need to keep playing. The different characters, cards, and relics have a good amount of variety, though, and there are some interesting unique mechanics (like cards that you have to use every time they show up in your hand or they become unavailable for the rest of that encounter). This is a game that would be good for long journeys, as it's easy to pick up and play and doesn't require a ton of concentration. Although not revolutionary, this is a solid and enjoyable title, and one of the best games I've played thus far this year.