A fully-featured Sailor Moon expansion for indie deck-builder Slay the Spire is now available through the Steam Workshop, and y’all, this thing (heart chain) whips. Created by Steam users Aelie and KumaGorath, one might expect this expansion to be a simple reskin of an existing class, but it is so much more than that. “The Senshi” is her own class with her own mechanics, which feel just as nuanced as any of the three official characters. She has 75 new cards and 20 new relics, all of which have new artwork, and most of her more impressive abilities come with their own unique animations and sound effects.
None of the art is original, of course — this expansion trades entirely in repurposed assets from Sailor Moon shows and video games — but it’s all implemented in smart, effective ways that really sell the whole experience. I loaded up Slay the Spire and figured I’d give it a run before writing this post, and ended up playing for nearly three hours, so be careful if you have Earthly responsibilities.
The majority of The Senshi’s abilities focus on Transformation and Magic, which are two skills unique to this expansion. Magic increases the damage that Magical cards do, while Transformation increases the maximum amount of Magic that the character can amass. The Senshi gains three Magic every time she transforms, so long as she doesn’t give her Transformation Brooch relic to Neow before starting a run. Other cards and abilities may also grant or remove Magic from the stack, depending on the card.
The Senshi is also affected by Determination, another new mechanic. If a card adds Determination, it applies a stack of Determination to the character that adds an equivalent amount of Magic the following turn, and then decreases by one. So for instance, if a card grants five Determination, that means it’ll add five Magic at the beginning of the next turn, four Magic at the beginning of the turn after that, and so on until the stack depletes itself. Some cards also apply Negative Determination, which removes Magic in the same fashion. This may sound like a detriment, but there are certain ability cards that activate powerful secondary effects when The Senshi has Negative Determination.
Finally, The Senshi can also use Assist cards, which summon other Sailor Scouts/Darien in a mask to perform special attacks. Most Assist cards have a Teamwork effect, which activates when the card is played after a Sailor Moon card. This leads to situations where paying close attention to card order can dramatically enhance the effectiveness of one’s hand, and when done right, it’s immensely satisfying.
The expansion does have a few rough spots that one might expect from a fan project. Some card descriptions could be more clear, for instance, and some of the art assets are a little rough around the edges. Still, The Senshi is a truly impressive accomplishment in terms of both design and implementation, and I hope this team comes up with more like it in the future.
How to Install The Senshi into Slay the Spire
In order to install The Senshi, one must own the Steam version of Slay the Spire and subscribe to the mod on the Steam Workshop. One must also subscribe to three other mods — BaseMod, StSLib, and ModTheSpire — in order for The Senshi to appear in the in-game menu. This can be done by following the links listed in the Required Items box on The Senshi’s Steam Workshop page.
Once you’ve subscribed to everything, you should be given a choice between launching vanilla Slay the Spire, and Slay the Spire with mods. Choosing to launch with mods will launch a mod management window, as seen above. Check the boxes next to the three mods listed in the column on the left, and then click Launch at the bottom. Have fun!