Digital Board and Card Games

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Haxity Preview: Cyber the Spire, Slay the Punk, or Something More?

Mike Lawhun
United States
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Spoiler alert: It's something much more!

In all my years of gaming, both physical and digital, has a game so up my alley and meant for me to play never gone so far under my radar, both as a gamer and as someone now looking to cover games in a blog.

I know that the cyberpunk genre is going to be the "new hotness" this year, with the release of Cyberpunk 2077 coming (hopefully) this September, but I have honestly been intrigued by the genre for years. When I was in high school (a looooooooong time ago) a book called GURPS Cyberpunk came out. It was a sourcebook for playing cyberpunk adventures in the GURPS role playing game, but I didn't really buy it for that. I bought it to read about the intriguing "high tech low life" world that the book described on the back cover, and because I was a wannabe hacker at the time and it had the words "The book that was seized by the U.S. Secret Service!" plastered on the front, and I thought I was being subversive by buying it.

As a tabletop gamer and a video gamer, I've always loved the merging of the two, in case you can't tell that fact from the name of this blog. As far as video games go, roguelikes and more recently roguelites have been two of my favorite genres. For tabletop games, deckbuilders (from Ascension on, I really didn't care for Dominion much) have been one of my favorite types of games. So you would think that when Slay the Spire came out, I would be all over it. But for some reason, I just didn't get that much into it. Maybe it was the relatively standard fantasy theme, despite the interesting look of the art in that game.

But the idea of Slay the Spire's gameplay seemed super interesting to me, and I have always been on the lookout for similar games that either took place in a more interesting setting, or had a different take on Spire's gameplay formula.

Then recently, I was watching one of my favorite indie game covering YouTubers, and they showed a trailer for a game called Haxity. It was a "Spirelike" set in a gritty cyberpunk setting, and as soon as I saw it, I was hooked. I immediately checked out all the media I could for the game, and the more I saw the more I knew this would be a game I would enjoy immensely.

Haxity, as mentioned above, is a "Spirelike", which means that it has deckduilding mechanics and roguelike elements usually in the form of random events that can happen in between each battle that can have an effect on your deck or other aspects of your character, or a randomly generated environment to go through with different battles and other encounters strewn throughout. From what I have seen and read, Haxity will have both of these forms of gameplay in the form of two different modes, Campaign and Versus.

I have only played Versus so far in the beta version of the game, and I cannot wait to check out the Campaign mode when Haxity releases on Steam in Early Access on May 26. The Versus mode has you picking one of the three currently available characters, which all play completely differently with their own unique action cards. Then you draft cards in various phases, starting with a starter deck, where you make choices as to the types of cards you want to put in your deck. After that, you play a three games out of five match with a random computer opponent, with more phases of card selection or "mod" selection (items that give your character persistent buffs for that match) in between each game. So even if you get trounced in the first game, you can improve your deck and hope to have better luck (or strategy) in the later games. It is very addicting starting from humble beginnings each match and growing your deck and boosting your character through mods, as is usually the case with this kind of game.

The fighting itself is just as interesting and addictive. While Spire just has you throwing cards at enemies to damage them or perform other actions, Haxity takes a novel approach to this type of gameplay by having three columns of two cards that you and your opponent play without the other seeing what cards each are playing until all six are played. The cards on the bottom row are yours, and the top row is the opponent's cards. Then the cards of each column are compared using a "Rock, Paper, Scissors" (no Lizard or Spock, sorry) system of Range, Melee, and Skill cards, and the losing card is deactivated for the turn. Then after the cards are revealed and compared, each player takes turns playing a "Hack" card until both players pass or run out of the energy points that are spent playing hacking cards. These hacking cards are completely different from the action cards (called "Move" cards in Haxity) that are played in the first phase, and they add another novel layer of depth and strategy to the game. They take what seems like a relatively luck based RPS system and lets the player mitigate that luck by manipulating, buffing, or otherwise effecting the cards that were already played, and the right hacking cards at the right time can turn what was originally a disastrous turn into an amazing one, or vice versa.

The presentation and feeling of the game is nothing short of amazing. The card art is crisp and clean (thank you devs for not making another pixel art game) and combined with the character art and backgrounds, makes for a great futuristic cyberpunk aesthetic. Speaking of character art, the animations during combat are great, impactful, and varied enough so that Haxity is as fun to watch as it is to play. Other elements of the game, such as the hacking cards and mods, also contribute to making the game an authentic cyberpunk experience.

I will have a lot more coverage of this game on this blog, as I plan to cover it pretty closely, from updates, analysis, gameplay details, and whatever else I can come up with to showcase this already great game that will hopefully only get better as it releases in Early Access and then matures to a full release title with the help of player feedback and the super hard work and dedication of the dev team members and community manager, which are very interactive and responsive with the player base from what I have seen so far.

See below for the Steam link so you can wishlist and get more info on Haxity.
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