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Spellspire Review (Switch EU)

Spellspire combines RPG and action elements into a decent word gaming genre. By taking control of a wizard, the player is supposed to battle against several monsters while using an interesting technique: making up words. Each level brings a set of letters used to create different types of attacks. Complex combinations allow your character to cast more powerful spells and defeat stronger enemies.

Spellspire Review (Switch EU)

INTRODUCTION

Spellspire is a very simple game that introduces a wizard able to cast a variety of powerful spells based on the combination words that you can create. In order to successfully complete powerful moves, you must act fast make sure to be as creative as possible when using a set of given letters as your main resource. You begin the game at the bottom of a very tall castle, filled with monsters of all kinds. Each floor of the castle brings a more intense challenge, and your main goal is to help the wizard make his way all the way up.

The power of each spell will vary depending on the word you are able to come up with. The more letters you use while trying to spell a new word, the stronger the damage you can inflict against opponents. The player is not allowed to repeat words that have been used before, but they can use the same letters multiple times on each stage (or floor).

In general, Spellspire doesn’t use mechanics that go beyond the word-spelling style. On the other hand, the title provides players with a fast-paced gameplay that will keep them constantly immersed in the task to quickly search for words.

Spellspire was developed by 10tons Ltd. and is available for Nintendo Switch for 9.99 €.
 
Spellspire Review (Switch EU). Longer words allow your character to cause extra damage against enemies.

STORY

As mentioned earlier, Spellspire does not have many elements other than its simple spelling rules. Once you hit the start button, that is it. Game on. There is absolutely no story of explanation about what is going on with the wizard. Honestly, the combination of a word spelling dynamic to generate magical spells is creative and charming at the same time. The idea blends really well with the game’s objective, which is probably why there is no need for an actual story.

The only problem about that is a very simple gameplay such as the one found in Spellspire can quickly become repetitive. Playing through the different levels in the castle will allow you to meet new groups of monsters that eventually become stronger. Although there is only one game mode, reaching the top of the tower gives the player the chance to complete a series of quests and earn additional rewards.
The lack of an actual storyline didn't give me the chance to better what brings the wizard to this mysterious castle or even why his power comes from the complex combination or different words. Although knowing things like that would not directly influence your performance, it would definitely add an extra value to the title.
 
Spellspire Review (Switch EU). Certain equipped items have the ability to cause additional effects, such as freezing.

GAMEPLAY

Besides the repetitive task of fighting random monsters as your character advance in the goal to reach the top of the castle, there are a few gameplay elements that make the game special in a certain way. Before getting into the best aspects of Spellspire, it is important to understand some of the basic mechanics of the game.

First, you must know that you can only access one floor are a time. There is no way to skip levels until the current opponents have been defeated. You literally begin the challenge on the left side of the screen and move forward upon a successful spell combination is used against a monster. Your character is not only able to cast multiple spells but is also susceptible to receive attacks if enemies get too close. Occasionally, you will also notice that some floors may become more crowded than others, which require faster reflexes and attention. Damage received in combats differ from the type of opponent you are facing and can vary from less intense moves to eventual strong and effective hits. The most important thing in battles is to act quickly at all times. The more words you are able to spell the fewer chances monsters will have to counter your moves if they get too close.

When it comes to casting a spell, you must pay attention to the available letters displayed on the grid. You are free to come up with as many words as possible by using any of the available letters for that particular level. Longer words will generate the best spells you can use, while shorter ones won’t inflict too much damage on monsters. All you need to do here is move your cursors and select each letter in order. If you make a mistake, you can either place the last chosen letter back on the grid or quickly start over from the beginning. This function is definitely a positive point in the game. Considering that you really have to move fast all the time, it was very helpful to start over when stuck on the busiest floors in the castle.

Reaching a new floor will allow your character to unlock new items such as weapons and defense gear. When working on improving your attacks, buying and upgrading weapons will not only add extra power to the spells you cast, but can also be used extra damage effects. That includes poisoning, freezing and burning stats. These different damage types play an important role in combats and can make a difference when you are trying to clear a super crowded level. On the other hand, some enemies present resistance over a certain attribute. For those reasons, it is a good idea to carefully select the items you chose to equip your character before jumping into battle.

If you are looking for ways to improve the wizard’s defense, upgrading capes and hats can give you the extra protection in combats. Even though this is a good gameplay option, there is a really odd dynamic between upgrades and enemies. For the most part, it felt like the game expects you to always upgrade items to what is available at that level. That happens because monsters seem to equally increase attack power as you move on to the next floor.

Overall, the item purchasing system is very simple. As the player advances to a different level and prepares for the next battle, they will have the chance to buy new gear from the in-game store. Most of the items have a special ability that allows better performance and power execution. While wands are directly associated with the attack power, wearable items such as clothes can improve bonus damage for specific words you are able to spell.
 
Spellspire Review (Switch EU). Levels are displayed in the format of a huge castle structured with different floors.

AUDIO AND GRAPHICS

The game style is overall charming and attractive. There is not a large variety of effects, however, enemies were very well designed to create a funny looking experience. One of my favorite visual elements include the vivid colors found in the game. One of the things that I missed in Spellspire is the usage of better animations, especially when using magic against enemies. Even though the game provides customization options through available items, there is definitely the potential to make the visual elements more enhancing.

When it comes to audio elements, there is a basic selection of sound effects that match the structure of the title. Considering the simplicity of the game, I was not expecting an excessive selection of sounds other than action responses such as hitting enemies and casting spells. The good news is that the music is very enjoyable and nice to listen to as you move on the other levels in the castle.

Spellspire Review (Switch EU). Reaching a new floor will allow your character to unlock new items such as weapons and defense gear.

CONCLUSION

While players may experience a repetitive gameplay structure in Spellspire, the title brings good elements that make spelling words an enjoyable and somehow challenging experience. The best features found in the title include the simple mechanics and the ability to equip your character with additional items.

On the negative side, I truly missed the introduction of a story that could allow players to really immerse in the wizard’s quest. There is also a big potential for improvements in visual elements such as animations and variety of effects.

The good news is that if you enjoy the word game genre, Spellspire will give you fast-paced battle rounds and a good level of customization in its core gameplay. What really differentiates the title from other similar games is the ability that players have to come up with a real strategy when combining items, and planning most efficient attacks against enemies.

PROSCONS
+ Simple structure with intuitive mechanics–  No story
+ Fast-paced challenge–  Repetitive gameplay
+ Decent level of customization–  Potential for visual improvements on animation
6
Fair

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