It’s nice to play a game that makes you think and keeps you on your toes. Too many games these days can be picked up and played with little thought or attention. Be it a shared concept or control scheme, games can be too familiar sometimes. The best way to beat this? Splice two different genres together.
In steps Spellspire does exactly that; a side-scrolling adventure game that brings the best bits from Countdown with it. Thankfully the maths is nowhere to be seen… Phew.
You play as a young wizard who has to travel to the top of a spire and, you can probably see where this is going, you need to create words in order to power your attacks. The bigger the word, the more powerful the attack (No rudies though, not that I tried or anything).
It sounds simple and that’s because it is, and its charm is in this simplicity. As you progress, more enemies stand in your way who get more health and more powerful the further you progress. Thankfully, upon their defeat, they drop coins and leave behind a stash of loot which can be used to power-up your little wizard. Be it a new wand, a robe upgrade or increased health, your gathered loot will enable you to continue scaling the tower.
In what seems to be a recurring theme in games from 10tons, your best hope for progression is to revisit previously beaten floors. A higher difficulty setting brings a greater reward upon your second attempt at clearing each floor. The controls are equally as simplistic as the gameplay; you move to the desired letter with the arrow keys and then press the ‘A’ button to select it. Once you’ve built your word you submit it, and that’s about it.
Albeit simple, this can be a bit clunky and the touchscreen option is the best one for the majority of the time. Even playing with the Joy-Cons detached and holding just the screen on its own like a tablet suits the game perfectly.
So, with that in mind, Spellspire is probably best suited to the mobile market as opposed to the console market. Yes, the Switch is portable, but here it feels like the Switch’s capabilities are somewhat lost, maybe wasted.
Having said that though, Spellspire is the epitome of a pick up and play game, meaning you can dip in anytime and carry on where you left off.