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In the eternal struggle between the forces of Heaven and Hell, the latter's realm was frozen over. The demons' final hope lies with one last Pyre, powering the Boneshaker. With it, the remaining clans will take it to the heart of Hell to restore their homeland, at any cost.

Monster Train is a Roguelike strategy RPG with Deck Building Game-inspired mechanics, made by Shiny Shoe and published by Good Shepherd Entertainment. It was released for PC on May 21, 2020.

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Tropes:

  • Amazonian Beauty: Heph the Blacksmith, who upgrades your champion, is seven feet tall and built like a brick proverbial.
  • Asteroids Monster: The Legion of Wax of the Melting Remnant Clan is designed around this mechanic. When the base unit is defeated, it instead splits into two units with slightly lesser stats. When each of these units is defeated, they split again into two smaller, again slightly weaker units. Despite the reduction in base stats in each split, all "offspring" retain the base enhancements and bonuses obtained prior to and during the battle. With the proper upgrades, buffing, and/or a key artifact, this can result in an obscenely powerful, nigh-unending wall of fighters that can absorb countless attacks and deal incredible damage.
  • Badass Normal: The first hordes that get thrown your way are all human warriors and mages, entirely normal and entirely willing to serve the Light and throw their lives at the demons... and they do quite well. Daedalus is the epitome, being the first boss and a man who can storm a train full of demons and beat many of them into submission with only a wrench.
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  • Bad Boss: Seraph, and apparently a lot of Heaven, all seem to be terribly neglectful of their servants. Daedalus and his cohorts are constantly trying to impress them to get some kind of attention, and the Clipped all lost their wings as punishments. Seeing what they did to their enemies, seems par for the course.
  • Big Red Devil: The Hellhorned faction, composed of fairly standard red demons and imps and specialized in brute force.
  • Bird People: The Legions of Heaven start off human, but their most powerful soldiers are all multi-limbed avians and harpies.
  • Blob Monster: The Melting Remnant faction is a wax-themed variant, whose candle soldiers break apart into smaller units when damaged.
  • Cool Train: The Boneshaker, which apparently joins Heaven and Hell, and which is powered by the very last fragment of the embers that once lit the entirety of Hell. Plus it's got several floors and mechanized stewards. The demons themselves, however, seem to find it to be a complete junker and plan to never board it again once their mission is done; though, since the whole rail is a symbol of a Covenant that Heaven broke, it probably brings far too many painful memories.
  • Cosmetic Award: Clearing a run with a card in your deck will give it a permanent gold frame, which has no tangible benefit.
  • Cowardly Mooks: Collectors, tiny cherubic angels hauling sacks of money (implied to be from looting Hell), will sometimes show up on a random floor. If you let them live a turn they'll escape, if you manage to kill them you net a nice little profit.
  • Damage Over Time: The Stygian Guard's specialty frostbite.
  • Death by Irony: Extinguishing the fires of Hell and freezing it over has not rendered Heaven's warriors immune to being frozen to death themselves by the Stygian Guard's icy abilities.
  • Evil Is Deathly Cold: The angelic antagonists have literally frozen Hell over. And if you still consider Hell evil, there's always the Stygian Guard and their obsession with freezing their enemies to death.
  • The Ghost: Herzal, of the titular Hoard that leaves Artifacts scattered all over, who built the Train and forged Hell's half of the Covenant, who writes every note in the Logbook and who is presumably leading the whole mission despite never being seen in normal gameplay.
  • Ghost Train: The Boneshaker is protected by all manner of supernatural soldiers, like the demon Hellhorned, or the Awoken sentient plants.
  • Hero Antagonist: Downplayed. Your opponents are angels who invaded Hell and brought "order" by freezing the place. Which also killed all the native life.
  • Jesus Taboo: Although some of the Legions of Hell do resemble Christian depictions of demons, the angelic host share only very cosmetic biblical characteristics and come across more as a kind of hardline bird cult than anything.
  • Light Is Not Good: Bringing "order" to Hell, if you ask the Winged, looks suspiciously like "freeze everything to death"
  • Living Shadow: The Umbra faction, which specializes in creating Morsel units that other monsters devour for buffs.
  • Macrogame: The player's total kill count is kept between runs, unlocking new factions at certain totals, as well as more cards for whichever factions were recently used.
  • The Mafia: A significant part of the Melting Remnants creatures, follow the 1920's movie mafia aesthetic.
  • Mighty Glacier: The Awoken use units which tank damage with Regenerate and hit back with Thorns. They can also force the enemy to keep hitting their heads against them by rooting them to that floor. Embodied by their champion The Sentient, who starts off doing no direct damage whatsoever, and is likely to stay so while getting more HP than anyone else and probably a ludicrous number of Thorns.
  • The Minion Master: The Umbra faction's dynamic is the production of Morsels, weak allies that give benefits when the larger demons eat them.
  • Motive Misidentification: Hinted at. Several of Fel and Seraph's comments suggest they didn't betray the Convent and invade Hell solely out of ambition, but because someone close to them (or Heaven itself) would die if they didn't. Seraph even says that Herzal betrayed them. There's no evidence to back up their claims... yet.
  • Necromancer: The Melting Remnant. Subverted with them actually, as they don't actually die. Instead, they are people made of wax who are constantly melting and then reforming. Played straight when you use their cards to reform other units, despite them not being made of wax.
  • Noble Demon: Your forces just want their home back, despite being the literal Legions of Hell.
  • Order Versus Chaos: This game's Heaven and Hell fall more along these lines than those of Good versus Evil. The forces of Heaven are tightly regimented and are quick to hand out harsh punishments to any and all who don't meet their high standards of both behavior and being. Hell, meanwhile, is a wild land whose people are made of many completely distinct tribes and cultures. The clans were not unified in any way until Herzal, an outsider to Hell, proposed the alliance.
  • Our Monsters Are Weird: The Umbra faction have some monsters that make their ten-limbed, xenomorph-headed champion Penumbra look relatively tame.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse: Tethys Titansbane, the Stygian Guard's hero. She's tinier than just about any other unit, looks like some fishman's baby daughter, and has pitiful HP, but can strike decently hard and packs nasty effects to all her attacks, such as heavy freezing and spell weakness.
  • Plant Person: The Awoken, monstrous flora that specialize in tanking damage and Thorns (inflicting damage when attacked).
  • Regretful Traitor: Fel. She risked her life to give Herzal some embers of the Pyre before leaving to join Seraph, and her boss battle dialogue is half her missing the times before she betrayed Herzal and half her steeling herself to kill her former lover.
  • Sea Monster: The Stygian Guard faction, consisting of mermaids, squids, and serpents, and specializing in Frostbite (damage over time) and heavy duty spellcraft.
  • Sinister Minister: Rector Flicker is at once the spiritual leader of the Melting Remnants and a mob boss putting his own faction at odds with each other for profit.
  • Space Master: One of the upgrade branches of Penumbra, the champion of the Umbra, makes it so every room they are in have even more capacity. If fully invested, they even take effective negative space.
  • Story Breadcrumbs: Cards and Artifacts in the Logbook have brief snippets of lore written in-universe by Herzal, that paint a clearer picture of just what is going on.
  • Resurrection Death Loop: The Melting Remnant's mechanic. If the angels don't get them many of their units 'burn out' after a set number of turns anyway. But they have any number of ways of being reborn, usually coming back even stronger. In essence they have a bunch of glass cannons that keep mending themselves.
  • Squishy Wizard: The Stygian Guard specialize in very powerful magic abilities, but generally have very low health. Embodied by their champion Tethys, who takes up next-to-no room and augments magic, but can literally be One Hit Killed by the very first angels that hit your train.
  • Starter Equipment: In addition to your Champion and cards provided by each clan, you get several Train Stewards as unaligned Mecha-Mooks to fill up space while you get other monsters.
  • Unlockable Content: The player only has access to a few cards from the Hellhorned and Awoken factions at the game's start. The three others, and many cards and relics corresponding to each, must be unlocked through various means.
  • Villain Protagonist: Downplayed. Your main goal is to deliver your train's Pyre to the heart of Hell and reignite the flames that angels have snuffed out. Said process also restores the native life the angels' chill has destroyed, and restoring the Balance Of Good and Evil. Many battle quotes show the demons showing genuine rage and pain over how the Winged have destroyed their homes.
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