Slice & Dice

PC, Android

I was nagged into Slice & Dice, by Buried Treasure’s excellent Discord. And I’m really glad I was. Slice & Dice is a great roguelite dice-rolling game, with grungy pixel graphics, and a huge number of features to find as you compulsively replay and replay and replay and replay and replay and replay and replay and replay and replay and replay and replay and replay and replay and replay and replay and replay and replay and replay and replay and replay and replay and replay and replay and replay and replay and replay and replay and replay and replay.

You begin each round with five heroes. A Thief, Warrior, Defender, Acolyte and Adept. As you might expect, they have a spread of skills from archery, sword-chops, shields, healing and magic, which are all stored on the sides of dice. Each turn your heroes roll their dice, with two more rerolls available to any you don’t assign, and then play those moves against the enemies. Equally, the enemies roll dice to determine their attacks, and the game lets you know before you start which will attack who, and what attack they’ll use.

That’s a lot more information than such games traditionally give (in my experience), and it really shifts the tactical focus onto defensive manoeuvres rather than speculative attacks. It’s not about hitting and hoping, but rather knowing exactly how the round’s going to go down before it’s begun. What’s so interesting is that this doesn’t diminish the experience, even when all is clearly very hopeless.

When you win rounds, you alternately choose a new piece of equipment that augments a character’s die, or get to upgrade one of two of your characters to a new class type. Where the real depth of variety occurs here is in just how different that proves every time you play. New inventory items might be as simple as adding a +2 sword attack to your Warrior, but new class types open up completely new dice, whole new branches of tactics, and of course for the dedicated, the sort of min-maxy attention that comes with trying different hero combinations. There are 60 different classes to uncover, of which I’ve discovered about half so far. There are 156 items, most of which remain a mystery to me. I’ve also encountered 23 out of the 36 monster types, which include seven different bosses.

All this mixing and matching means runs do feel much more different than I first thought. The first few sets of enemies are very samey, but it quickly diverges as you pick new hero branches, or encounter different mini-bosses. It’s fun to discover tactics that work well when dealing with the Slimer, that spawns infuriating Slimelets, or master the dark art of defeating the Lich.

Rerolling has that hooky gambly feel, as you risk not picking up that +3 attack in case you can get the +5, but may well end up with a blank side from a previously used one-time special move. Plus it’s all just so fast, so scrappy, and with just 20 levels to get through (with an Easy mode that offers you an extra bonus, like more player health, or weaker enemies, a Normal, and Difficult for extra challenge), it feels like it should be very achievable.

Complete those 20 levels and you can unlock new modes, like an endless, or the option to hand-pick heroes. I’ll… I’ll let you know about those soon, eh? Don’t want to overwhelm you all at once with too much information.

This is the work of Tann, and is currently only available on Itch. This seems like it could blow up if it found its way to Steam, although there is the issue of a game called Slice & Dice already on there, which must be frustrating. It’s also on Android for free, as an Early Access game, and I’m going to check out that version next. And then probably play it instead of sleeping tonight.

There’s loads to love here, and I’m now completely on board with Team Discord and their pestering enthusiasm. So I shall in turn pester you to play it.

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3 Comments

  1. This sounds a bit like the dicing from Curious Expedition, without the repetitive tone deaf story.

  2. The die-and-reroll aspect is like The Curious Expedition combat, but it’s a lot more fun, which I think is mostly due to John’s point about the game giving you a lot of information. TCE’s combat is about building combos out of your dice while in Slice&Dice each attack works on its own, That sounds less complex but the amount of information the game communicates allows for a lot more in-depth play.

    (I just bought and downloaded the full game after playing the demo, which gives you 12 levels.)

  3. What a magnificent and unexpected surprise. I didn’t expect to find my next Slay the Spire (or more like Rogue Adventure) waiting for me yesterday, but there it was. And unlike StS, it is straight to Android. Gaming at the bus stop or campsite is the only way I ever find myself playing these sorts of games, so for me Android is essential,
    making S&D a joy to discover.

    I really appreciate the way that everything works as I expect it to, e.g. if I long click on a dice, it tells me what it does. Games like this only really work if that sort of detail had been sorted out, which it has.

    Great work by the dev, and thanks to John for reviewing it here.

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