While the demo is relatively short, I’ve really gotten into the Dungeon Drafters deckbuilding cheat. I love the colorful pixel art, the classic fantasy enemy archetypes, the way the spell cards are super powerful when activated, and love love love the magical, fluffy wizard rabbit.
Called The Explorer, this rabbit is not only super cute – his little brown boots are adorable, as is his helmet which has holes for his huge fluffy ears to poke through – but also a good villain in magic casting. This rabbit can mostly throw down.
Each of the six characters in Dungeon Drafters has their own play style. There’s the muscular Brawler dude who’s great at close range, the Shinobi who dominates the field with quick-fire spells, and there’s even a pixie bard who can summon a horde of minions. My fluffy BFF, however, is all about controlling the layout of the battlefield from a safe distance.
The demo has a single rogue-like level – Misty Grove Ruins – where players must make it from one end of the dungeon to the other, slithering through slime, bugs, ghosts and poisonous plants as they go. Each area is relatively small, making every card and every move count the most. You have three actions each turn that allow you to move, play a card, or headbutt an enemy in melee.
I like the slow thinking that comes with deckbuilders, and The Explorer is heavily based on position and tactics, making them a great matchup with the genre. They have a barrage of ranged attacks, spells that move enemies around the arena, and ranged moves so they can get out of harm’s way if needed. This rabbit isn’t into charging into exciting combat throws like your Kratoses or Macus Fenixes, but their somewhat slow and cautious playstyle is perfect for a deckbuilder. With Explorer, you can’t just run through the dungeon hitting enemies left and right.
Your deck has 30 cards, giving you a nice spread of different types. There is a hook card that gives you the movement of a castle in a game of chess, allowing you to jump long distances. There’s a card that allows you to uproot enemies in place, so you can combo that with another card that summons a stalagmite to pierce them for extra damage (and the bonus of this move is that the stalagmite stays on the battlefield acting as a blockade). Basically, keeping enemies at a safe distance and attacking them from afar is the key to playing Explorer well.
My absolute favorite to play with them is The Crater, which does a 3×3 block block, hitting anyone in range – as it can shield you or trap enemies depending on how you use it. Moving each slime into place over several turns and then hitting them all with a stone barrage that shoots up from the ground, wiping them all off the face of the map, is oh so satisfying.
Each attack feels very intense due to the sprite animation, and this applies to all characters, so it’s completely decimating hordes of slimes and exploring bugs so well. I wish the demo had more areas to explore and enemies to fight, but regardless it still feels very well polished. I’m eager to learn more about the deck building process, as the demo didn’t touch on that at all. From the looks of the trailer and screenshots, there’s more to come.