Sometimes the simplest games can be loads of fun. Spellspire by 10tons is a light but entertaining spelling game where players guide a mage through a tower, slaying enemies with letters and magic. It’s not technically impressive nor does it feature deep gameplay, but it’ a simple pick up and play experience that’s surprisingly fun and is suitable for all ages.
Developed and published by 10Tons.
Available on the PC, PS4, PS Vita and Xbox One. Reviewed on the PS4.
*Review code provided by 10 Tons
Spellspire is as straightforward as possible, and is pretty similar to another game in the genre, Letter Quest: Grimm’s Journey. Players must climb a multi-leveled tower in order to get to the top, and each floor features a slew of colorful, fantasy monsters standing in your way. Players defeat enemies by forming words from a set number of random available letters a la Scrabble, with longer words dealing more damage. Combat is also timed, so if players take their sweet time they’ll be attacked, and if their health is depleted they lose.
Stages get progressively harder as players climb the tower, with tougher enemies and shorter time limits, but players will also grow as they climb along, collecting coin from fallen foes and chests at the end of each stage. Money allows players to visit a shop, which carries new equipment such as robes, hats and wands that increase the wizard’s health, damage output, add elemental effects, and more. Players can buy stuff to get buffs, as well as level them up to get increase their capabilities. Additionally, the store also sells health and damage upgrades, hints, monster info and other oddities. New gear is constantly unlocked as players climb the tower, so players will always be able to buy items and level them up to compete with ever growing odds.
That’s not all. Players will also be able to collect spells from fallen enemies that can be used in stages to turn the tide, like automatically creating a six-letter word, stealing health from enemies, or freezing them so that they don’t attack. If players don’t need them, they can also be sold in the store for coin.
Gameplay is extremely simple and repetitive, but that’s also the charm of a spelling game, making the cartoony and silly title enjoyable by adults and children alike. It’s hard to go wrong with a game so simple, and the game sometimes does, with some weird difficulty spikes that have players easily barreling through enemies in one level and getting destroyed in another, and the frequent appearance of a bad pool of letters that make it difficult to come up with good words if you don’t have a dictionary as a brain. Then there’s the fact that enemies have weaknesses to certain elements, but you can’t switch them on the fly, instead having to visit the store to swap stuff in and out. Games often come down to luck with a good pool of letters, but despite this it’s still entertaining, and players get to keep the coin they collect even if they lose, adding a grinding element to the game.
Spellspire succeeds in being a small and entertaining game. While it’s pretty similar to another game in the market, the simple but addictive gameplay will keep aspiring spelling wizards coming back to the tower for more, despite the couple of flaws here and there.