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Slay the Spire meets Hearthstone as new card game sets release date

Acolyte of the Altar confirms the Steam launch date for the deck-building roguelike card game that sees you fighting against giant monsters.

Acolyte of the Altar release date - A tree-infested, emaciated mn with a beard holds his hands up either side of his head. Bandages wrap across his eyes, and two large birds fly over him.

Acolyte of the Altar is a roguelike deck builder that, on the digital table, more closely resembles a traditional collectible card game such as Hearthstone or Magic the Gathering than it does the likes of Slay the Spire or Monster Train. Built by Black Kite Games, founded in 2020 by former Red Dead Redemption 2 designer Cameron Reid, and inspired by the grand boss battles of Shadow of the Colossus, the Acolyte of the Altar release date has officially been confirmed, and you can try the game now with a free Steam demo.

Despite its more ‘cards-on-table’ approach on your side of the board, battles in Acolyte of the Altar don’t see you going up against an enemy with their own deck, but are more akin to raid bosses, or some of the more unique Hearthstone Adventure mode’s boss fights. Each fight sees you take on a prebuilt enemy in the vein of roguelike card games like Slay the Spire. Most of these enemies will grow stronger as the fight drags on, so you’ll have to determine the best approach to take, demanding some clever flexibility in your tactics.

On either side of the boss and its health counter, you’ll see icons representing each of its abilities. Depending on the fight in question, some of these won’t be active initially but will display how many turns you have before they unlock, effectively representing the boss enraging over time. Once active, most enemy skills will all trigger every time the enemy takes a turn, although some are passive, others are reactive to your actions, and the most potent are often on a multi-turn cooldown between uses.

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On your turn, then, you can place down creatures on your board and determine which ones you want to attack with. Order is crucial – by default, new cards will be placed on the rightmost side of your board, while enemies will attack your leftmost (and thus typically the oldest) creatures first. Like Hearthstone, all your creature cards have a mana cost, an attack value, and a health total, with your total mana available increasing by one with each subsequent turn.

While many of the fights have fairly straightforward mechanics to deal with, others force you to consider adopting rather unique strategies. One of my favorites is The Yearning Woods – it boasts a powerful counterattack sweep that makes head-on assaults very perilous, but will also nosh on your frontmost monsters, swallowing them down if they’re weak enough. Offer it up enough tasty, vulnerable critters and it’ll actually overfeed itself to the point of bursting, killing it without you ever having to make a direct attack.

Acolyte of the Altar gameplay screenshot - The player fights 'The Yearning Woods,' which has a special ability, Stomach Contents: "Starts at five and ecreases by one every other turn. If Stomach Contents is 10 or more at start of turn, it bursts and I die. If Stomach Contents is 0 at start of turn, I starve and I die."

Acolyte of the Altar launches Monday, March 25, 2024 on Steam. If you’re eager to play some before then or are just curious to test it out, you can try the demo now via the game’s Steam store page, where you can also add it to your wishlist.

If you’re after more run-based action in the meantime, we’ve got all the best roguelike games you should be playing in 2024, along with more of the best indie games on PC for plenty of magical experiences from smaller studios.

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