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Ratropolis is a real-time deckbuilder with a strategy twist and adorable art

(Image credit: Cassel Games)

Here’s a strategy game packed with nascent brilliance: Ratropolis. You take command of a colony of tiny mice fleeing the devastation of their old city to found a new one. You play as one of six unique leaders, each with their own unique powers and abilities, to survive waves of enemies. 

It’s a pretty standard defense/survival strategy game concept… but it’s controlled with cards. Ratropolis proudly wears its inspirations on its sleeves. “What if,” some students asked, “there was a game that was our two favorite games combined?” 

(Image credit: Cassel Games)

Thus, Ratropolis: A game that’s a proud combination of Kingdom and Slay the Spire. I’m quite honestly shocked at how good it is, because games that are a clear mashup are rarely this good—but here I am, writing about it for you, so it must be good enough for me to spend time on a Saturday telling you about it. There’s a great interplay of mechanics in this game, and the real-time deckbuilding elements serve as a cool layer to tweak. What’s the value of drawing a new hand sooner, or a larger hand size? How can you manipulate your deck over time as your needs evolve? It’s a much more frantic and tactical game than Slay the Spire or similar deckbuilders, where you can agonize over best choices for as long as you want.

Ratropolis is on Steam for $15

Jon Bolding is a games writer and critic with an extensive background in strategy games. When he's not on his PC, he can be found playing every tabletop game under the sun.