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Slay the Spire and Palworld collide in this excellent new roguelike

Dicefolk is the dice-building roguelike of my dreams - it's out soon on Steam, you can play the demo now, and I just can't get enough.

The main character from Dicefolk wears a red hood with horns and has a large book in front of them, they look startled

Sending an adorable robed character on another journey in Dicefolk, I’m filled with excitement about the potential new monsters, known here as Chimeras, I’m about to encounter when I suddenly realize it’s 3am. At this point, I’ve been playing Leap Game Studios and Tiny Ghoul’s new roguelike for six hours straight.

The Dicefolk map screen

Dicefolk‘s roguelike game structure is relatively simple and reminiscent of Slay the Spire: I head to different encounters on the map, whether they be shops, battles, treasure chests, or elite encounters, in order to capture new monsters to join me in battle before eventually taking on a boss fight. This is made captivating by the equipment modifiers and different, increasingly complex dice I can add to my arsenal. “Just one more run,” I decide.

Upon starting the next run, I’m given the option to choose from a Warrior Talisman or Storm Talisman. More options will open up as I progress through the game, but these two options give me different sets of Chimeras to encounter. If I choose the Storm Talisman, my starter Chimera is the Turboid, which doesn’t differ much from the Warrior Talisman’s Beloid with the exception of added intelligence. Intelligence is a modifier that determines the power of my attacks. The greater the intelligence, the harder I hit. Another welcome feature of the Turboid is the fact that it deals damage each time it enters or leaves the front position of the team.

The intelligence statistic in Dicefolk determines how powerful your attacks are

Entering the battlefield after collecting chests and visiting an abandoned tent to grab some fresh equipment, I’m faced with two Boglins and a Minkpocket. The latter has more health but a less powerful attack, so I decide to take down the Boglins first. A series of dice are displayed across the bottom of the screen that determine the actions my team and the opposition will take.

The turn ends only when the enemies have used all of their dice, the effects of which are randomized at the beginning of the turn. In the early game, this is generally limited to attacks, rotating enemy Chimera taking the turn, and idling. Due to my Turboids’ ability to deal damage whenever they enter or leave the lead position, I spam the rotate dice and soon achieve victory.

An elite battle in Dicefolk

Gloating over my victory, I head to a Chimera Shrine. There are three of these on each map, and visiting them all will unlock three new Chimeras to choose from. Adding one to my team with more than double the attack of my starter Chimeras makes me feel almost invincible, but I soon note that progressing through more battles offers more complex and powerful Chimeras on the opposition teams too.

Success in Dicefolk therefore relies on impeccable synergy. I get stomped on more times than I care to recall in the first few hours, and this humbling experience only makes me more determined to get it right the next time, and the next, and the next. To achieve synergy, I need to visit as many black market stalls, treasure chests, scrollmasters, and abandoned tents as I can to find the most useful equipment and tokens to enhance my run. I end up with a powerful Lycanis Chimera with a strong attack and the ability to deal damage at the start of its turn as long as it doesn’t have full HP. I equip this with a Chimera Moth, which increases its maximum HP and adds to its strength and intelligence stats.

A battle in Dicefolk

Despite Dicefolk being a dice-based roguelike, I’m reminded of racing across the Palworld map in search of bigger, better, stronger Pals to face off against my opponents. I’m always desperately seeking the best Chimeras in the game, or the equipment to turn mediocre ones into hulking behemoths that can stomp an enemy team in two moves.

The satisfaction of beating a map and moving to the next one I can liken to my hundreds of hours in Slay the Spire. There are similarities in the resting spots, which provide the option to heal, increase stats, or add equipment slots, and the shop. Another interesting twist here is the addition of cursed equipment, which becomes permanently bound to the Chimera you gift it to – for better or worse.

I’ve spent tens of hours in Dicefolk already, and I have no doubt there’ll be many more to come. It elegantly builds upon its simple concept with fresh and increasingly complex considerations, making you feel like one more run will never be enough.