Slash Roll as a whole, isn’t a flashy game, but wraps up some solid mechanics in a small tight package. Slash Roll is a singleplayer roguelike where assembling and manipulating various die faces is key. Theming is pretty basic for this one, playing what I would imagine being akin to fool’s dice against various tavern patrons. The tavernkeeper lies at the far end of your journey, as each fight enables events and loot to strengthen your dice pool. The game is still in early access, and there are new characters and “inns” (new levels/gamemodes?) announced in production. Nonetheless, I think there’s just enough there to tinker with and have a good time.
As per roguelike tradition, you start each game with a basic pool of dice and some passive abilities, and try to reach the end of the tavern without running out of health, thus having to start a new run. A basic map layout with branching paths will dictate initiating battle, minibosses, random events, and bartering for new dice. Battles consist of drawing 5 (by default) dice. You and your opponent have individual bowls to place dice, which is used for designating targets for effects. For instance, place attacking dice in your opponent’s bowl, heal/block in your own, and poison/burn/curses in your opponent’s… The way this works, coupled with the fact that some die effects happen instantly versus on a queue, makes for a surprising amount of depth. By default, you have a single reroll you can apply to any die. So by targeting dice with instant effects, you can double up on the effect!
Interactions like these help make the player feel more in control of the inherent randomness of the rolls. Admittedly, a good amount dice really lean into mid-high risk/mid-high reward or just go all in on their niche. So far, the balance seems mostly okay, but you can definitely set yourself up for very swingy gameplay. Based on the starter character (only one available as of writing) you will heal after battles, and earn a new die and gems. I enjoy the way currency works in this game, even if it can come to bite you. Hoarding gems comes at the cost of polluting your dice pool with draws that have no effect. So you have to plan to navigate yourself to the shop at opportune times to get what you need. I think getting used to the fact that a die will not guarantee a certain value (unless the faces are rigged or comprised accordingly) will be a factor that will take some getting used to compared to most card games. There is also a sense of discovery that the game embraces, as new dice will be veiled in terms of their effects until previously collected in a previous game. There is even a collection that can be viewed outside the game that will show the properties of dice you have found. Descriptions of patrons can also be unlocked to give a heads-up on the type of gameplay (defensive, explosive, etc) to expect going into a match. Overall, the presentation is straight and to the point, though some players may view it as too plain. Functionally, it was very approachable in terms of displaying quick information, the queued effects, special match conditions, etc. Gameplay is snappy and quick to pick up and learn as a whole.
All in all, Slash Roll is a fun, compact experience with a good amount of tools to play around with. While customization options are a bit limited at this time of release, there is enough to unlock and things being added to keep you engaged. I am happy to give a little spotlight to a game that otherwise could be overlooked – it has potential.
Slash Roll is developed by NiankSoft
Slash Roll is available on PC for $11.99
A review copy was provided by the developers.
Hellfirebam has awarded SlashRoll the Indie Gamer Seal of Approval