Ratropolis Test of Early Access Indie Card Battler
Defend the Rat Empire with skill and cards! In Ratropolis you take over the leadership of a rat settlement and defend it against all dangers. The developers of Cassel Games merge mechanics of different genres into an interesting real-time strategy mix. Find out what this early-access melting pot of video game genres has to offer in our test.
In Ratropolis you build a rat city and defend it against all kinds of attackers with the help of maps. In total, more than 120 different maps will be available. In addition, four leaders with individual characteristics as well as more than 30 story events and six possible game ends are promised. The user reviews so far are “very positive”.
The great ancient metropolis of rats called Ratropolis once offered prosperity and security in the game of the same name. However, cruel experiments and greed were the downfall of the city and its inhabitants fled to found new settlements. You play the leader of one of these settlements and have the task to build a new Ratropolis and defend the inhabitants against waves of different enemies. You must not only take care of your defense, but also that your city develops economically. Because without a good economy and happy inhabitants Ratropolis will never reach new glory.
The central game mechanic in Ratropolis is the deck construction. Actions, buildings, units and abilities are placed and cast as cards. To play these cards, resources such as gold and Ratizen are needed. The inhabitants are called Ratizen, in allusion to the English term “Citizen”. Depending on the strength and type of the card, it costs gold and/or Ratizen. Compared to other card games, Ratropolis is not turn-based, but runs in real time. So you have to react quickly to your opponent’s actions and have little time to think.
You can only draw new cards after a timer has expired. During the course of the game you have the possibility to buy more cards, which increases your card pool. As the game progresses, you will be able to acquire better cards and expand your deck according to a certain strategy. Despite the unusual approach, the gameplay is literally good. The real-time component means that you don’t have as much time to think about what you want to play next. The fast pace of the game creates a unique dynamic.
Besides the deck building, the administration of the city is the top priority. The waves of enemies are getting heavier and heavier and accordingly, the units and defenses have to be expanded. Ratropolis presents itself to us in side view with the town hall in the middle and areas left and right from which the enemies attack. In our walled dominion, there is enough space for buildings that produce resources, increase population or generate benefits. As the commander, you have to keep track of the situation at all times and decide which of the two ends of the city needs more units or defenses.
If one of the two sides falls, the buildings are destroyed and the game ends with the fall of the town hall. As in a classic real-time strategy game, the interplay of macro and micro management is the be-all and end-all in Ratropolis. If the base construction is neglected, the defense suffers. If the economy flourishes within the city and the defense leaves much to be desired, it won’t be long before Ratropolis falls. A balanced distribution of resources is therefore necessary for a successful run.
To increase the replay value, the developers have added various characters. These can be selected at the beginning of a game and bring different active and passive skills with them. For example, the architect improves buildings and receives a building card that can be used once every 90 for a discarded card. The described abilities of the characters can also be upgraded in the course of a game. In addition, each character starts with his or her own deck of cards, which only differ from the decks of the others by a few cards. Nevertheless, this offers many different approaches, allowing each player to find and follow his or her own playing style. For example, we liked the military style of play best because we put more emphasis on a strong military. The more you play a character, the more cards you can unlock. Therefore it is worthwhile to have a look at the available characters and find your favorites.
Ratropolis has no story campaign and generates its game fun solely from the wave mode. Like a Roguelike, we have to start over when our town hall falls and we have nothing left but the experience we have gained, both literally and figuratively. A game comprises a maximum of thirty enemy waves that rain down on the rat settlement. This can be quite tricky: We have only twice managed to reach the thirtieth wave and survive! Once you have successfully defended the town, you can try higher difficulty levels or start with the nightmare mode, where the number of waves is endless. So you can definitely say that Ratropolis takes a lot of time and a good strategy to conquer it.
The indie title combines many aspects of different genres and creates something completely new. This mix is a refreshing change and offers a high replay value. If you really want to unlock everything and protect Ratropolis beyond turn 30, you’ll get an absolute time eater here. However, if you hope for more progression possibilities and you get bored of the game principle quickly, Ratropolis might rather disappoint you. Since the game is still in early access, there might be some changes until the release of the game. Overall, really nice game, unfortunately the balance is not good yet – endgame can only be won if you get the right bricks to make your deck “overpowered”. There it needs a lot of readjustment, but it is a fun combination of Kindoms and Slay The Spire. Who had fun with the Kingdom series and Slay the Spire should definitely have a look at Ratropolis.
Official Website: https://casselgames.com/
Ratropolis on Twitter: https://twitter.com/PlayRatropolis