In Ratropolis, you start with a basic deck of cards. The maps are divided into three types: military, economy and buildings.
Military cards are units that you place on defense points to defeat enemy waves. They are very varied, from front-line shield bearers to long-range archers hiding behind defenses and even healers.
Economy cards help you increase your income and building cards are placed near your base for various effects, such as increasing the maximum number of units or upgrading your cards.
As in a tower defense game, the goal is to survive waves of enemies that become stronger over time. But it’s synergy with a deck of cards and the randomness of proposed cards and special events is clever.
Do you want to add to your deck the guardian who holds the lines, the musketeer who inflicts significant damage or instead, get a card that will double your gold after a while, creating new opportunities?
The game has a strategic layer that tower defense games rarely have.
I played the Ratropolis demo for 3 hours in total, getting to wave 15 with both leaders available and had a great time with it.
With the cards that have to be played quickly if you want to grow fast enough (you can discard your hand and draw new cards every 15 seconds), to the battles that take place at the defense points and the management of the base, I felt like it was a very engaging game.
I also thought that the merchant and the general leaders offered quite different styles of play.
I first got to the last level with the general, which encourages adding a ton of military cards to the deck and to trying to draw several units at the same time to apply a powerful combat buff to the drawn cards.
But with the merchant, my playstyle had to be completely different. I was trying to get a high income that would allow me to build many buildings and easily replace my weaker units that would inevitably fall into battle.
The demo suggests that other leaders will be unlocked when they move to early access.
It’s a great start and I would definitely come back, especially if Cassel Games adds different maps and scenarios along the way.
The basics are there to have a game with great replay value.
I already thought there was a replay value in the demo, but if new maps and/or something like Slay the Spire’s random modifiers in Ascension mode is added, the replayability will be superb.