Smelly wildfolk, tentacled leeches and literal scaredy cats - Irregular Recruits lives up to its name in that you'll recruit all kinds of wayward creatures into your army in order to explore the Cinder Lands. The roguelike card game is supposedly a combination of Slay The Spire elements plus auto-chess-esque features, but does it hold its own against the multitude of similar titles in the same genre?Table of contents:
The beginning of the tale will depend on which commander you pick. There are eight of them to choose from with two initially unlocked for you to try out. I've unlocked five out of the eight so far, and I can honestly say that each one brings not only its own set of unique cards and strategies but also a different gameplay experience altogether.
In particular, you can't choose which enemy card to attack in Irregular Recruits - the game does that for you. This initially left a sour taste in my mouth, because how can you strategise your battle plan if you can't pick which enemy to take down first? Of course, as I went deeper into the game, I realised just how much strategising you still have to do to ensure victory in every round.
For instance, your commander gains experience points you can spend on skills, and these alone add a layer of depth to your plan of attack. Apart from the cards you recruit into your army, you'll also have to choose which boon you want to take after each battle - do you prioritise getting new cards, or do you bring back to life a card that died in battle? Because permadeath is very much a thing here, when a member of your army dies, it's gone forever - and when all of your troops are lost, you die. Your army is essentially your HP.
I did try the auto-battle function here, and surprisingly, the AI actually does a pretty good job at helping you breeze through matches (sometimes even better than myself, I have to admit). It's not hard to invest hours of your time into the game only to look up and realise that so much of your day has already passed. With so many titles in the same genre, it's hard for me to find something that actually makes me feel like it's worth my time - and Irregular Recruits definitely does that really, really well.