• Thu. May 12th, 2022

Root is a fast-paced deck-building game that automates its battles

ByLinda W. Smith

Mar 30, 2022

Root looks like a quirky little deck-building game that just might shake up the conventions of its genre. Simply describing this upcoming card game as a roguelike or deck-building title doesn’t really seem adequate, even though the game drew heavily on card games like Slay the Spire, Griftlands, and even Dominion. Instead, the deck-building aspect of the game serves to accentuate the game’s incredibly fast-paced combat, rather than being the meat of Racine herself. You’re here to draw the right cards in the most strategic way, which could mean picking the right cards as much and as quickly as possible, before being bludgeoned to death unceremoniously by a group of corrupted minds.


In fact, Root is more like a purposeful, purposeful dance between you and your enemies. The rules for Root, a word that refers to the roots of a tree, are deceptively simple: choose cards that will help you turn the tide of a series of battles. In these games, the combat is usually slower, but Racine turns that around by automating these encounters. This means combat happens in real time, which adds a bit more fire to these battles.

Related: Die In The Dungeon Refreshes The Deckbuilder Roguelike Formula With A New Twist

At the same time, your action points – or otherwise called “ki” in the game – will gradually increase the longer you stay in the fight. Will you play the “armor +1” card now, or save your “ki” to play another card later? Since the effects of these cards carry over to the next encounter, you might be tempted to keep using cards as they materialize in your hand, but that might not be the strategy. most durable to last throughout the stage, which has at least around 30 encounters that you have to plod through. This journey is heightened by the leveling up of enemies with each encounter you complete. The hero depends on your deck to grow stronger, but your enemies will also grow stronger alongside you.

Root 2

All of these details can lead to some surprisingly tense encounters. More than just compressing the time between your deck-building maneuvers and making split-second decisions about which cards to play for your turn, Root is also about finding a comfortable pulse in your encounters, as you anticipate your enemy’s attacks and decide when is the best time to actually play your cards. There are plenty of little twists abound; if you play your card just before the spirits punch you in anger, you can gain a temporary shield against their attack. Or use your cards fairly frequently, and you can add to an energy meter that will allow you to unleash a powerful attack when it’s full. There are even wandering merchants who offer to help you on your journey with a few trinkets – some good, some remarkably crappy – in hopes of aiding your quest. Making the game more eye-catching is that the environments are meticulously rendered in emerald green hues, with enemies posing in painfully beautiful and fluid pixel animations.

So imagine my surprise when I realize that that’s not all for Racine, the version I’m playing is only a demo, a work in progress “done with very few means”. The full game will likely only be released on itch.io and Steam when the developer is ready, but deck-building fans really shouldn’t be without it. Give Root a look here.

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