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SpellKeeper Review

The kingdom and its people have long been protected by magical butterflies from the farthest reaches. But the energy that helps the butterflies survive has run out, and now the kingdom faces disaster. You have been chosen to must a way to bring the butterflies out of their cocoons.

SpellKeeper Review

Introduction

Spellkeeper is a fairly unassuming puzzle game developed by the small team over at Studio Gier in Poland. Mixing fairly basic logic puzzles and a Disney princess theme, the game is a nice time killer, but not much else.

SpellKeeper is Available on Steam for $3.99

SpellKeeper Review: A bit too much Disney Princess for my tastes

Story

The story is very simple. The unnamed kingdom the game takes place in is home to special butterflies that are used for potions and elixirs. Long ago the butterflies fell ill and were only saved through the use of a source of magical energy. But now, that energy has run out, and the kingdom faces disaster.

This is where the player comes in. Summoned by the kingdom's princess, the player is tasked with using their power to send energy to the butterflies, freeing them from their crystal cocoons. This will take the player through the nearby village, the castle gardens, and the grand tower.

SpellKeeper Review: The great Macguffin
The story and setting have a very Disney feel to them. It short, and outside of the opening cutscene it isn’t really brought up. Nothing outstanding, but certainly not bad enough to get bent out of shape about.

One thing that I did find a bit annoying was the small snippets of info given throughout the game. The idea seems to be to give some background info ion the setting, but it never has anything to do with the games actual plot. While story clearly isn't the main focus of this game, it would be nice if they could have some kind of focus with what information they include.

Gameplay

SpellKeeper is a logic puzzle game, having the player direct energy to butterflies in order to bring them out of their cocoons. When all the butterflies are freed at once, the level is complete and the player moves on. This is the main formula throughout the game, adding different ways to project and split the energy as well as some new obstacles.

SpellKeeper Review: Free butterflies from crystal cocoons
The puzzles progress in difficulty at a pretty steady pace, starting out fairly simple and becoming more complex as the player keeps solving them. The game has a restart button to clear the board all at once, as well as providing hints if the player is having a rough time.

Each stage will have a new mechanic to use. One example of this is when moths are added to the puzzle, abd essentially act in the opposite way of the butterfiles, (i.e. when the energy hits the moths they cocoon up, instead of being freed.) This adds a bit more variation to the puzzles. The one thing that bothers me is the amount of time between the introduction of these new mechanics.

Throughout the levels, the player will have a chance to collect keys that in themselves unlock additional stages. These provide the most difficulty in the game, as they often time require the player to find a way to collect them and still complete the puzzle. The games hints won’t tell you how to get them, so the player is left on their own.

SpellKeeper Review: 4 stages with over 60 puzzles
The gameplay is fine, but there isn’t really that much variation in the puzzles, even with the addition of new mechanics. Often times the stages will have a certain gimmick, which after completing 15 times gets a bit old. Again, nothing terrible here, but not something people are going to rave about.

Graphics and Sound

The game has a cutesy, cartoonish style. Very generic medieval fantasy stuff, happy villages and fancy castles. For the most part things are fairly well drawn, with no major issues sticking out. The one thing that  bothered me was the art fr the princess. She has, for lack of a better term, bug eyes. You don't see her much, but it can be pretty distracting.

The one big criticism I would have of the games art is that it comes off as a knockoff of Disney and other animation studios. This could easily have some minor changes to the story and the design of the princess, and pass as a Cinderella game. It's not the worse style to emulate, but a bit more originallity would have been nice.

SpellKeeper Review: Voice acting is fine
The game's music is actually very nice, using flutes and string guitar to create a very relaxing atmosphere. It actually really helps lower frustration when dealing with a difficult series of puzzles. The game does have voice acting, with the unnamed princess speaking to the player in the tutorial and occasionally commenting on the stage. It’s not exactly an award-winning performance, but her voice does fit the setting fairly well.

Conclusions

SpellKeeper is fine. Not great, not horrendous, just fine. The puzzles provide enough of a challenge to make the player think, while not making them tear their hair out. The music also helps relax the player when things start to get hard.

The only real problems problems I had with the game were with its story and the artstyle. In both cases it is very generic, often times coming off like a rejected Disney project. It's far from the worst I've ever seen, but thats no excuse to not do better.

For those looking for a solid puzzle game, SpellKeeper is a game I would be comfortable reccomending as a nice time killer. But for those looking for a unique or interesting art style and story, this may be one you want to skip.

ProsCons
 + Well made puzzles – Very generic artstyle
 + Relaxing music
6
Fair

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