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Return to the Spire in Slay the Spire: Downfall


Round and round I go
Staff member
Hey, Slay the Spire is a great game, right? What if I told you there's an extensive mod that lets you revisit the game from a fresh, new perspective?

Well, that's exactly what I'm telling you! If you haven't installed the Googly Eyes mod, what are you waiting for?

And while you're in the workshop, you should also grab Downfall, the mod that dares to ask, "What if you got to play as the bosses instead?" That's seven new characters -- each with unique mechanics -- and new events and content to represent the fact that you're aligned with the Spire instead of against it. It's fantastic.

The bosses you face at the end of each act are the standard characters. The order is randomized, as are their traits, at least to an extent. Their intents are represented as actual cards. They typically only get three cards and two energy per turn, but they can end up feeling very threatening even under those limitations. I can't overstate how cleverly they represented the characters as bosses.

I'm going to recommend that you stop reading and go check it out yourself, but if you require more information, I'll spoil some of the new characters below.

Slime Boss is based around splitting into slimes that give passive bonuses, similar to the Defect. It also has a Goop keyword that increases the damage dealt by the next attack and interacts with several of its cards. Many of its attacks are keyed as Tackles, which have some self-damage and interaction with other cards.

Guardian enters defensive mode after taking enough damage. Many of its cards advance the counter without requiring you to take damage. Guardian gets some really nice bonuses in defensive mode, but it doesn't stay there long. You can set up Thorns fairly easily with Guardian, making a pure defense build viable.

Champion has two primary stances, like the Watcher, but the stances don't do anything on their own. Instead, they add effects to cards. Cards with the "Technique" keyword add a minor bonus that depends on your stance, while cards with "Finisher" have a stronger stance effect but end your stance. Some cards give added effects if you're in the right stance.


Round and round I go
Staff member
Nobody else is talking about this, which I take to mean nobody else is playing this, so you have forced my hand, and I must now tell you about the two wackiest characters of the bunch. First, I give you Bronze Automaton.

Bronze Automaton's deal is that it's a beep-boop robot, and you have to create programs out of your cards. Most of BA's cards have the Encode keyword, which adds the card to the program row. When the three-slot program row fills up, you get a new card that combines the effects of all of the component cards, costing the highest cost among those cards.

Broadly speaking, there are three kinds of cards that you can Encode into a program:
- Cards that are slightly weaker than normal, but chucking three of them into a program makes a pretty nice card, so you don't feel so bad.
- Cards that are relatively on-the-level that add bad status effects to your deck when the program is compiled.
- Cards that are overpriced that give a side benefit when the program is compiled.

BA has to deal with way more status effects than a typical character, but it's also got more tools for making the status effects less bad.

Second -- unlike the rest of the characters, this one isn't really a boss -- is the Gremlins. All five of the little guys. No Gremlin Boss. This character isn't just mechanically unique: it has unique interactions with several of the encounters (even beyond what Downfall already gives you).

You control five Gremlins. Each of them provides a passive bonus: Shield Gremlin, for example, gives you 2 Block when you play a skill. These bonuses only apply when that Gremlin is active, and you only have one active Gremlin at a time.

Your little Gremlins have about 15 health apiece. That's not much, and once a Gremlin dies, it's unavailable. You recover one random dead Gremlin if you rest at a campfire, and I think they all come back after a boss (though I'm not sure how this interacts with higher-level ascensions).

Gremlin cards are weak. They usually make up for it in volume (such as by generating Shivs). You're encouraged to lean heavily on the passive abilities. Sneaky Gremlin might be the most obviously good of the bunch, dealing 3 bonus damage for every attack played. With Sneaky Gremlin active, you feel relatively powerful, but you'll struggle to stay safe unless Shield Gremlin is in front. Then again, wouldn't you like Angry Gremlin to tank the hits for some temporary Strength? Juggling Gremlins is key to success here, and I have to imagine that at higher difficulties, you won't make it through the harder battles without losing a Gremlin or two.

The Gremlins get picked on. The act 1 Gremlin Nob elite demands all of your money; the Gremlin Boss demands you permanently surrender a Gremlin. If you choose to fight, they start the battle up 3 Strength. That's especially nasty in the case of Gremlin Boss!


A most radical pontiff
(He, Him)
I did all my spire slaying on switch (and briefly on PC with a free trial of that xbox free games thingy), but this has me intrigued enough to likely double (triple) dip.


Round and round I go
Staff member
The final character in Downfall is Snecko, of all things.

"How good is that character?" you ask.

It is exactly as good as you expect that character to be.