Demon’s Mirror combines Slay the Spire with Match 3 and it somehow works

Yet another fun spin on the formula
Be-Rad Entertainment / Good Shepherd

Though we are getting Slay the Spire 2 in the future, the world’s game developers are continuing their unofficial competition of putting as many random twists into the successful formula as they possibly can. Be-Rad Entertainment and Good Shepherd’s contribution to this fun arms race is Demon’s Mirror, which takes Slay the Spire and combines it with Match 3 – which sounds absolutely ridiculous, right?

I’ll be honest, I thought so at first as well. I mean, they can’t keep getting away with this, right? First, it’s Slay the Spire meets FTL, then it’s Slay the Spire meets Dicey Dungeons, and now this? But it’s a testament to both the core formula and the creative spirit of the developers that these combinations do all work – and yes, that goes for Demon’s Mirror as well.

You’ll feel the usual déjà vu when starting this game – you pick a character from several classes, setting you up with a certain deck of starting cards, and then make your way through a dungeon with familiar room types: enemy encounters, treasure chests, shops, events, and elites. Finally, a boss is waiting for you at the end of the current level, after which you may advance deeper.

As you go, you customize your deck by adding and removing cards, collecting potions to use, and obtaining powerful artifacts that provide you with certain boons.

But once you find yourself in battle, Demon’s Mirror looks decidedly different from other games of this type, because the developers slapped a Match 3 screen on the right side of the battlefield.

You can use your action points as normal to play out cards with different costs and effects, but you can use the same resource to make a tile chain in the Match 3 screen. Making chains from tiles will have different effects based on the tile you’re choosing – swords allow you to attack, shields generate block, and there are two additional resources you can collect in this way. The longer the chain you’re making, the stronger the attack, and so on.

The added Match 3 screen allows you to circumnavigate bad draws by providing an alternative way of spending your resources. Of course, it’s not just you interacting with this part of the game, though: Enemies can spawn hostile tiles, which you’ll need to destroy inside a certain time limit to prevent yourself from taking massive damage. Other types of foes can replace useful tiles with useless ones, limiting your opportunities and forcing you to clean the field up or rely on your cards alone.

It feels and looks a little gimmicky, but it does create some interesting dynamics – and while both areas feel a little disjointed at the start of the game, things get a lot more interconnected as you add cards to your deck that interact with the Match 3 aspect.

Noteworthy as well is that the character you can use in Demon Mirror’s demo, which is out right now on Steam, features a unique mechanic that allows him to “peacefully” destroy his enemies with facts and logic. He’s a true master debater and can whittle down his opponents without any regular attacks by stacking persuasion cards on them. Once the amount of persuasion exceeds the current HP value of the enemy, they’re defeated (so violence is still beneficial). However, as some enemies have special mechanics that trigger when they’re attacked, debating them is a pretty solid way of evading those consequences.

I’ve had a lot of fun with this demo, which goes up to the first boss fight and thus won’t allow you to experience the full depth of the deck-building and interaction between the various systems – but as far as first impressions go, Demon’s Mirror provides a good one.


Published
Marco Wutz

MARCO WUTZ

Marco Wutz is a writer from Parkstetten, Germany. He has a degree in Ancient History and a particular love for real-time and turn-based strategy games like StarCraft, Age of Empires, Total War, Age of Wonders, Crusader Kings, and Civilization as well as a soft spot for Genshin Impact and Honkai: Star Rail. He began covering StarCraft 2 as a writer in 2011 for the largest German community around the game and hosted a live tournament on a stage at gamescom 2014 before he went on to work for Bonjwa, one of the country's biggest Twitch channels. He branched out to write in English in 2015 by joining tl.net, the global center of the StarCraft scene run by Team Liquid, which was nominated as the Best Coverage Website of the Year at the Esports Industry Awards in 2017. He worked as a translator on The Crusader Stands Watch, a biography in memory of Dennis "INTERNETHULK" Hawelka, and provided live coverage of many StarCraft 2 events on the social channels of tl.net as well as DreamHack, the world's largest gaming festival. From there, he transitioned into writing about the games industry in general after his graduation, joining GLHF, a content agency specializing in video games coverage for media partners across the globe, in 2021. He has also written for NGL.ONE, kicker, ComputerBild, USA Today's ForTheWin, The Sun, Men's Journal, and Parade. Email: marco.wutz@glhf.gg