Published on June 2nd, 2017 | by Scot Mackay0
You would expect someone who writes reviews to have a basic understanding of the English language. Maybe even a modicum of ability to weave words into a stunning tapestry of stunning textual delight that will stir emotions deep within your soul and tease your mind, to produce the most vivid of memories and emotions. What SpellSpire teaches you is that you could have a bigger vocabulary than Stephen Fry and you would STILL suck at word games.
SpellSpire comes to us from those plucky Finnish lads at 10tons who kick started their careers in the mobile gaming market and have steadily moved onto bigger and better things. The next big step was a move to consoles and they eventually released onto Xbox One, PS4, PS Vita and Steam for you keyboard warrior types.
Taking control of our little Wizarding chum, we find ourselves at the bottom of a Mortal Kombat style tower just minus the blood, severed heads and raging Hellfire. You start the long grind of over 100 levels to get to the top and reign supreme. On the way, there are a few nasties attempting to stop you. These can vary from Shuffling Zombies, Bloody knights, Shrieking Skeletons and some rather strange concoctions every ten levels or so acting as bosses. The only way through these rotten hordes is by the guiding light of your shiny wand. You lucky Harry Potter fans are in for a treat…kind of.
Instead of bashing buttons and pulling of killer combo’s, you will have to resign yourself to the fact that this is indeed just a word-based game with and accompaniment of animations that you will rarely see. Pulling your eyes to the bottom of the screen is your…well, Scrabble tiles with your randomly selected letters on them. You get ten 10 tiles and a limited amount of time to start creating words as fast as you can to defeat the legions of monsters. The longer the word, the stronger the attack. It is particularly useful against bosses to hold these big words in reserve until you need them and just focus on throwing up the masterful 3-4- letter words to let you progress past the minions. Another quirk Is you can only use each word once. So be careful when throwing out those F-bombs. F-bombs don’t work, I tried on multiple occasions.
Whilst your attention remains solely fixated on your Scrabble tiles, on the top half of the screen is your character working his way from left to right on the 2D level. Every few moments a creature appears on screen and your verbal onslaught begins. The animation is one of the saving graces of this game is its charming, colourful and is cartoonish in action. Whilst lovely to see on my home TV, I still feel it would look just as good on a smartphone.
As time goes on and you progress up the ever-looming tower, you notice that the time you must create these words in shortens and becomes much more of a factor. Unfortunately, something that also adds to the pressure is a control system the just does not work on consoles. Whilst perfect for thumb bashing on a mobile phone screen, the effort involved with navigating around the tiles, entering the words is both overly time consuming and clumsy. God help you if you make a mistake in entering your word as it takes what feels like an eternity to clear the word to start again.
Not content with bashing beasties in with words like a loud-mouthed politician, there are treasure chests of loot to be gathered on each level to help you buy upgrades for your wand, hat and Robes. Between each level, you can visit the shop in which to buy these upgrades. Some allow you to strengthen your attacks and others can add bonus multipliers to boost your overall score and gain you even more gold.
Spellspire is advertised as a word-based RPG and I suppose that is an accurate description but don’t expect anything to in-depth or extravagant. Despite being available on consoles, it really isn’t the best platform for this type of game and is much more suited to the mobile phone market.
It is enjoyable though but only for a short while. It has a repetitive nature that does begin to grate, and even with Trophies or Achievement points being offered, you will begin to ask yourself…” Is it worth it?”