The mind Boggles.
When it comes to videogames, it’s fair to say that many don’t really tax the brain; with many allowing one to switch off their grey matter and just go with the flow. Spellspire is different – it wants players to flex their intellectual muscle on each and every level.
The set-up is simple. The player takes the role of a wizard, whose magical power comes from creating words. His goal is to reach the top of a tower, no easy feat, as it is 90 stories high and each story is filled with monsters, fiends and goblins that must be bested in order to proceed. At the start of each level, the player is given 10 randomly generated letters, and the goal is to create as many words as possible. The longer the word, the more powerful the wizard’s attacks are. Time is also a factor, with each beast attacking after a few seconds. If they’re not fast enough, these attacks will overwhelm the player and it will be game over.
Platform: PC, PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), PlayStation Vita, Xbox One
Price I’d Pay: $9.99
But don’t be afraid, defeating monsters and completing levels will earn money, and this money can be used to upgrade the wizard. New wands, capes and hats can power up and alter the magical attacks. These can beef up power, as well as cause elemental damage; helping players climb the tower one step at a time. The enemies will also occasionally drop items for use during combat. These include healing potions, one off elemental attacks and unique spell scrolls that will help players find a long lettered word. But use them sparingly, as they don’t drop very often.
Once a story has been beaten, players can go back and repeat it to earn extra money. These second attempts are harder, but will earn awesome rewards that will help level the wizard up. But the content doesn’t stop there; defeat the dragon at the top of the tower and unlock the dungeon; an even tougher challenge, and one not for the faint of heart. There certainly is a massive amount of content here to get through, but it isn’t without its problems. Well, just one real problem really; the random letter generator.
The 10 letters that are given at the start of each level are truly random; as such there were several times where I was getting letters that just seemed too awkward to create many words from. I was getting four of one letter and three of another, which meant I was finding it hard to create long words, which were crucial as I got further up the tower. It mostly happened with vowels, but combine four Es with 3 Os and 3 other letters, and things become tricky. Thankfully, the game allows players to instantly restart the level, with a fresh batch of letters.
There is little to complain about with Spellspire. It’s a jolly little game, with a colorful art style and some nice touches of humor. But this is a word puzzle game; if you’re not great with word games like Boggle or Scrabble, then it may not be the game for you. But at $9.99, if you fancy taking your brain for a workout, instead of your fingers, then Spellspire is the perfect distraction.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.