Demo Days – Alina in the Arena

I am literally waiting for the last minute to type this up because life has been one huge piece of trash. IT is what it is though and I care about providing my thoughts on indie games more than worrying about life. This week I played a fun little roguelike deck builder titled Alina in the Arena.

Aline in the Arena is a deckbuilding strategy roguelike developed by PINIX and published by the former and IndieArk. The game was released into Early Access in January, is available on Steam, and retails for about $13.

All I know is that you are a gladiator and you are tasked with surviving through any means necessary.

Alina is a deckbuilding game so a majority of the base mechanics are in the cards. Every turn the player draws a hand of five cards with the inclusion of one initiative card, for movement. Basic cards like strike and guard are prevalent for the first few fight, and as you climb the ladder and meditate, more cards will be offered to you.

Alina has a baseline of three energy per turn to utilize cards. Cards have a range of costs from 0-3 and have a color attached to them, which we will talk about later. Cards are varied and it seems as though there are a few different styles of play that can be obtained, for instance, Payback is a card that deals more damage and costs 1 less for each time you have been damaged during the round, whereas Defend gives you 10 defense against your next attack.

Alina has two hands, which are labeled by red and blue background color and that means that she can hold up to two items in those hands. Items range from crossbows and potions to actual weapons. Each item will have a perk, like damage or block increase, for instance, and they will have a color associated with them, insisting that the color that matches the item’s color will be granted the buff. In the case of two-handed weapons, then both colors are granted the buff.

The choice is up to the player as there are three rows of cards that are broken up into fight, meditate, shop, event, and elite. Everything is pretty much self-explanatory.

The battle arena is cut into hexagons. Enemies are littered around the tiny arena and you move, potentially, once per turn. Enemies react accordingly based on their type (that I made up), aggressive types rush and get close, and ranged classes stay back. It works really well, creating a good sense of urgency when a mob of enemies gets close and it is up to you to create a deck that can handle such interaction.

Pixel graphic AGAIN look nice and the gritty color scheme really adds itself to the game.

Music is one single battle arena-esque song and it is really good.

Alina has a great concept and I am glad that the game was released into Early Access for concern for card power level. The battle systems are already pretty good, the only issue that I have is with Elite fights. Christ, they are some of the most difficult fights that I ever had in a game. They hit really hard, but it really feels like you do not hit as hard, respectively. The deck-building aspect is relatively fun and I like the way that some card interactions work. I think I played over an hour and a half of the demo, which for a demo, is really good.

Overall, I really like Alina and I think the game really has something going for itself.

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