Even though I really love deck-builders, many of them run into the issue of feeling very similar in structure. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as the Slay the Spire style is popular for a reason; however, I’m always more excited to play something that tries to be a little different.

Which is why when I spotted Lazriel: The Demon’s Fall, I just had to play it. It barely looked like a deck-builder at all at first, but the trailer showed that it absolutely was.

How could I resist?

Lazriel finds herself waking up one day in a strange environment. It doesn’t seem like the heavenly surroundings that she’s used to: the sky is dark, and there’s an ominous feeling in the air. It doesn’t take long for her to realise that she’s a far way from home, and has somehow fallen down into the depths of Hell.

Thankfully, there is hope for the fallen angel. Back in ancient times, the demon hordes built a tower up to Heaven in an attempt to invade. A war ensued, and thankfully the huge gates at the top were enough to keep them out until the threat was taken care of. In theory, Lazriel could ascend the tower and try to regain entry by simply knocking at the front door. The problem is whether or not she’ll be pure enough to be allowed back in once she gets up there…

The setup is simple, yet effective, and feeds into the overall theming of the game perfectly. Lazriel has both her faith and her training to help her overcome the demonic threat, but temptation will try and get her to seek extra strength through evil powers which could end up corrupting her and thus denying her entry back into Heaven.


Whilst being a deck-builder at heart, the game is structured largely like an isometric dungeon crawler. Each floor has you moving around the environment defeating enemies. They’ll only move and attack any time you perform any action, thus forcing you to think strategically about how you next move. Even re-drawing a new hand of cards will allow your foes to move, so you’ll need to take care in order to survive.

You’ll start each run with some basic Angel Cards at your disposal, which can do a measly 2 points of damage and reach up to three squares away. Of course, these are more than sufficient to deal with the weak blobs in the starting area, but you’ll need more than that to get further. Cards have a variety of attack ranges, damage values, and other properties; some may penetrate opponents, others may give you a buff whilst it’s in your hand, and so on. You can gain new Angel Cards by various means, but the most common way is to find them as you ascend the tower or by earning them as you level up – provided that the scales are weighed on the side of good, of course.

You see, the rub is that almost every card you play will affect the scales of judgement in favour of either good or evil. Each one is weighted differently, so sometimes it may be worth using less effective moves in order to gain some easy faith. The main difficulty with staying pure is that you’ll be gaining Demon Cards at an alarmingly high frequency and, whilst you can make a choice between three to add to your deck, you can’t turn any of them down. These cards are also incredibly strong when compared to the Angel Cards, but will also add substantially more evil points to the scales as a payoff.


It’s a surprisingly well-balanced system, as the cards offer substantial benefits for a high cost. These cards are also single-use too, so using them whenever you can also helps thin out your deck to ensure that you don’t get overwhelmed with them later on.

The scales of judgement will be reset every time you gain enough experience to level-up, thus giving you hope for redemption if you ended up having a really bad run. After levelling up you’ll gain a new card depending on how the scales were balanced, along with a new modifier that should help you proceed further. This could be something like being able to increase your max HP upon eating health-restoring meat, or even giving you ten extra Angelic points whenever the scales tip to the good side. There’s a nice variety available, even if some are considerably better than others; however, they’re also quite plentiful as you can even gain special ones from defeating bosses or sacrificing your soul to a demon girl called Trucy, who you end up befriending and receiving help from over the course of the game.

One of Trucy’s most useful services is to fuse an Angel and Demon card together in order to create a special Fallen Angel card for you; these retain all the same usefulness of the Demon Card, albeit without any of the downsides. There’s no evil (or good, for that matter) added to the scales, and it will remain part of your deck permanently. As your friendship with her grows over the course of your failed runs, she’ll offer many more combinations that will – in turn – cause new cards to start appearing. It’s a nice system that helps keep the game feeling a little bit fresh, which is definitely welcome considering how similar each run tends to feel.


And that really is the only downside I have with the game. Even though the layouts of each area, enemy locations, and card choices vary each time, you’ll still know pretty much what you’re going to be up against each time. Each portion of the game tends to feature the same enemy types, and you’ll even meet Trucy around the same time each run as well. There’s no change in bosses or any major alterations in the enemies, meaning that the variety mainly boils down to the random abilities and Trucy’s ever-growing capabilities.

Is that a terrible thing? Well, not really. Considering the budget price point and the unique central premise that sets the game apart from other deck-builders, there’s still a lot here to keep you hooked for a very long time. It’s a challenging game that retains that one-more-try feel after each failure, thus making you want to come back for more. I spent quite a fair few hours with the game and managed to get around three quarters of the way through, and I still feel like going back for more since I make some kind of progress almost every single run. Sure, I get furthest when I embrace the darkness, but I still feel like I’m improving as time goes on, and for me that is the most important thing for a roguelite.

Lazriel: The Demon’s Fall is a wonderfully unique deck-builder that more than makes up for its lack of variety between runs with its charm and chilled out gameplay. It’s a game that had me absolutely hooked as I tried my best to manage good and evil. For the cheap selling price, this is definitely a game you won’t want to miss out on. Whilst I haven’t yet managed to regain my entry into Heaven, I sure as Hell know that I’ll keep on trying!