Although the demo is relatively short, I’ve really been getting into the roguelike deckbuilding of Dungeon Drafters. I like the colourful pixel art, the classic fantasy enemy archetypes, how spell cards feel super punchy when activated, and I love love love the magical, fluffy wizard rabbit.
Called The Explorer, this rabbit is not only super cute - his little brown booties are adorable, as is his helmet which has holes so his massive fluffy ears can poke through - but a bonafide badass in magic casting. This rabbit can majorly throw down.
Each one of the six characters in Dungeon Drafters has its own playstyle. There’s the muscley dude Brawler who is great at close range, the Shinobi who dominates the field with rapid 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 roguelike level - the Misty Grove Ruins - where players must make it from one end of the dungeon to the other, fisticuffing with slimes, bugs, ghosts, and poisonous plants as they go. Each area is relatively small, making every card and movement majorly count. You have three actions each turn letting you move, play a card, or thump an enemy on the head in melee.
I like the slow-paced thinking that comes with deck-builders, and The Explorer relies heavily on position and tactics, making them a great pairing with the genre. They have a barrage of ranged attacks, spells that move enemies around the arena, and long-range movement so they can hop out of danger if they need to. This rabbit isn't in the charging into the exciting throws of battle like your Kratoses or your Macus Fenixes, but their somewhat slow and careful playstyle feels perfect for a deck-builder. With The Explorer, you can’t just be running through the dungeon pummelling enemies left and right.
Your deck has 30-ish cards, giving you a nice spread of different types. There's a grappling hook card that gives you the movement of a castle in a game of chess, letting you jump great distances. There’s a card that lets you root enemies in place, so you can combine that with another card that summons a stalagmite to pierce them for extra damage (and the bonus to that 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 key to playing The Explorer well.
My absolute favourite to play with them is The Crater, which makes a 3x3 square blockade, smashing into anyone who is in it's range - plus it can protect you or trap enemies depending on how you use it. Moving each slime into position over a number of turns and then hitting them all with a stone barraicade that shoots out of the ground, wiping them all off the face of the map, is oh so satisfying.
Each attack feels extra punchy because of the sprite animation, and this applies to all the characters, so completely decimating hordes of slimes and exploring bugs feels so good. I wish the demo had more areas to explore and enemies to fight, but regardless it still feels pretty well-polished. I’m keen to learn more about the deck drafting process, as the demo really didn’t dip into that at all. From the look f the trailer and screenshots, there’s plenty more to come.