Share this article

Railroads & Catacombs: A Dark and Mad World Awaits in This Deck-Building Roguelike Game

By Johnson Ge
Sep. 8, 2023 updated 04:11

Railroads & Catacombs, a deck-building Roguelike game, is set to release on September 15th. This highly anticipated game allows players to construct their very own train and venture into the treacherous catacombs, where they will encounter formidable bosses.

One of the standout features of Railroads & Catacombs is its intricate 2D graphics. Each character in the game is meticulously crafted, with their actions during battle reflecting their unique design. Whether it's thrusting with a longsword or unleashing a powerful shot with a shotgun, the attention to detail is evident. Moreover, characters with diminishing sanity will visibly tremble with fear, further immersing players into the game world.

The graphic performance in Railroads & Catacombs is very satisfying.The graphic performance in Railroads & Catacombs is very satisfying.

In the Railroads & Catacombs combat, players are provided with information about the next actions of each enemy, allowing them to strategically avoid attacks through movement. However, the game introduces new challenges to players who believe they can outsmart all enemies solely through movement. Certain enemies possess the ability to use magic to send players back to their starting position, while attacks with the "Always" tag can consistently hit the player character regardless of their hiding spot. Furthermore, one boss can cover the battlefield with thorns, leaving players with limited options for escape.

In the face of these formidable challenges, Railroads & Catacombs offers players a diverse range of possible builds. Alongside the deck-building mechanics where players can add or remove cards from their deck, the game also features a "card-building" system. Each card contains multiple "slots" for various features, allowing players to customize their cards. They can increase the damage of attack cards for a more lethal effect, add features like healing or counterattack for versatility, or utilize a "chaotic" power to let fate decide the outcome. This level of customization grants players a significant degree of freedom.

A screenshot of one card with four different features chosen by the player.A screenshot of one card with four different features chosen by the player.

During our playthrough, we attempted to create a Doctor class character by focusing on healing abilities. Hilariously, after several turns in combat, our character's passive healing per turn exceeded their maximum health, rendering them invincible unless they were dealt a one-hit kill.

In the exploration phase, the player character's sanity value gradually decreases. Higher sanity grants players an advantage in battles, and they can see detailed information about adjacent areas, letting them prepare for what’s to come. However, as sanity decreases, players must explore blindly, unaware of what awaits them and susceptible to ambushes. Fortunately, resources for restoring sanity become more abundant as players progress through the game.

A screenshot of the summary screen after finishing an exploration.A screenshot of the summary screen after finishing an exploration.

During the playtest, we did notice a lack of synchronization between the UI and animations in the playtest version of the game. There were instances where values had already been calculated, but characters were still performing attack or hit animations, and sometimes damage numbers failed to appear. Fortunately, these minor issues do not significantly impact the core turn-based roguelike combat experience, as the final values were still correct.

Between each exploration, players are tasked with managing their own train to better prepare for upcoming challenges. They can assign engineers to construct new carriages, have soldiers teach combat skills to new members, and have Railmancers enhance the abilities of characters, among other tasks. Managing the train requires various resources that can be found during explorations, creating a loop of exploration, combat, and preparation.

A screenshot of the “Wake room” on the train where the player may bury fallen crew.A screenshot of the “Wake room” on the train where the player may bury fallen crew.

In conclusion, Railroads & Catacombs presents an exciting and challenging combat experience with its strategic enemy abilities and customizable card-building system. It is a good option for deck-building enthusiasts and players who seek adventures in a dark and mad world.

Source: Steam