This one passed me by when it was first released... I'd seen the trailers, but it looked fairly static. The game is a great example of where a video trailer doesn't really do it justice. It came to my attention when it won a number of year-of-year awards from various publications, so I picked it up on Switch (good timing, as I'd just completed Rogue:Legacy NG+ and Wild Hearts:Sayonara).
The game concept is pretty simple...you have one of three characters, each with an associated deck of cards, and you have to battle through 3 levels of a multi-tiered dungeon, with multiple routes. You start with a small hand of cards (mainly blocks and attacks), and after each battle you get the option to add a random card (normally selecting one from three). There are then a number of other non-battle events;
A Merchant, where you can pay to buy extra cords, or pay to remove a single card
Random events, with positive and negative consequences to decisions
Camps, where you can regain health or upgrade a card in your deck
Treasure Chests, where you can gain Relics (effectively a permanant buff to your character)
There are also Elite battles (which reward a Relic), and each level ends with a boss battle (which rewards with a more powerful Relic).
The deck building part of the game (where you slowly build a deck from the cards offered) feels very much like Dominion, in that you slowly move from a basic deck of blocks and strikes to (hopefully) a synergistic death engine. The quirk comes from the fact you really do have to work with what you have...there is no "ideal" build as such, as the cards are fully random in nature. The Relics you pick up can have a big impact on your strategy run-to-run as well...some of their powers can be really influential on your future card selection. In this way it also reminds me of Race for the Galaxy (one of my favourite card games)...very much making the best of what you are dealt.
Finally, each character and their associated deck feels very different to play. I started with an Ironclad (special power of light healing after each battle, and a deck focus on physical attacks), and (despite there being very little in the way of tutorial) I was able to fairly quickly understand how to get cards working together...sometimes it would be a build where I stacked buffs and handed out massive attacks, other times I'd end up going down the route of "death by a thousand cuts", with lots of small attacks in quick succession. I then moved onto the second characte type (a Silent, with a focus on de-buffing the opponents and defense) and quickly died. It required a completely different style of play...eventually I started to get a feel for it, and had some great runs involving overloading enemies with poison and building huge defenses. Finally, the third character is a Defect, which is the games take on a minion master...the deck revolves around generating and utilising "orbs", while protecting the character...while shuffling actions across turns.
Each plays very differently, and once you add in the impact Relics can have (across a run you can pick up potentially 10-20 Relics) can change your playstyle several times in the course of a half hour game. Finally, you have a variety of enemies, each which can provide a different challenge. I've had games where I have slain large bosses with ease, only to be brought down by a group of small, weak enemies. I've had games where I have struggled along with a mish-mash of cards, and then suddenly a single Relic choice comes along and synergy appears that gives the entire run a focus to work on, and suddenly I'm moving through the levels easily. Quite a few times I've been taken down by a boss, where if I'd had one.more.turn I could have won. In this way it feels like the balance is on point.
So, all in all it's really fun, and definitely not what I expected from the trailers.