Spellspire

Spellspire Review

Words hurt

A.J. Maciejewski

Reviewed by playing a PlayStation 4 on

Spellspire is also available for PlayStation Vita and Xbox One

ESRB Everyone 10+ rating

Games that task players with spelling words can be quite addictive if done right. Spellspire may be a simplistic take on the genre but will it cast a spell on you? Grab your magic wand and let's find out.

Spellspire screenshot 1
This skeleton is no match for my superior vocabulary

Spellspire is a rather basic game to learn as all you do is spell words to harm enemies. After starting it up, I thought I accidentally skipped past a couple of menus because I was playing it much sooner than expected. Once I understood the core gameplay, it was time to start slaughtering monsters. How this combat system works is very easy to grasp. Basically, each enemy will attack you once a timer runs out. Meanwhile, you try to spell as many words as possible to damage them. If you have a general grasp of the English language, you'll find yourself mowing over monsters with ease before they even have a chance to attack you once. Each stage consists of a succession of enemies and you get a set of randomly assigned letters to use so if you don't like the selection then you could always restart. It's simple stuff but the addictive nature of spelling words may be enough to keep you hooked for a while.

Of course, spelling words to battle monsters in an RPG-like gameplay setup is nothing new. In fact, some may see Spellspire as being very heavily inspired by Letter Quest. However, Spellspire manages to form its own identity in both its gameplay dynamic and visuals. For instance, the little wizard that you play as is simply adorable. The interface is clean and easy to navigate while the enemies come across as pleasantly goofy. When it comes to audio, the lighthearted orchestral music and delightful sound effects as letters pop onscreen and monsters collapse add a great deal of enjoyment to the overall experience.

Spellspire screenshot 2
Now that's some tactical espionage action!

Some complexities are added to the basic core gameplay in the form of useable items and character growth. Whenever you're in a pickle, you can use certain items to heal or spell lengthy words for you. You'll also gain money as you defeat enemies that you can use to purchase upgrades as well as equipment that boosts your attack and defense power. Watching the little wizard slowly grow into a monster-slaying machine is very satisfying. The enemies get rather tough as well so constantly upgrading is a required feat.

When it comes to content, you basically get a linear campaign that consists of 100 floors with every tenth one containing a boss. Once you beat them all, you'll unlock a dungeon that acts as a survival mode. There is also a star challenge per floor that usually involves beating it without taking damage which grants you a star as well as some money. Unfortunately, all of these reasons to keep playing don't change up the core gameplay. As a result, the simplistic word-forming mechanic quickly becomes repetitive. If there were additional modes that played around with the core gameplay or some sort of multiplayer content then the repetition wouldn't be as prominent. In the end, the basic gameplay, repetitive replay incentives, and lack of additional modes makes Spellspire a very short-lived experience.

Spellspire screenshot 3
Maybe the best way to fight your enemies is to describe them

Spellspire is a simple and enjoyable word-forming RPG-like adventure but it doesn't quite do enough to create a memorable take on the genre. That being said, if you want to test your vocabulary then you can't go wrong by giving it a download.

  • + Basic word-forming gameplay that rewards fast thinking and a vast vocabulary
  • + Satisfying character growth
  • + That wizard sure is cute!
  • - Gameplay is a bit too simplistic and tedious to stay interesting
  • - Replay value is too reliant on repetition
  • - Could use additional modes
6.1 out of 10
Gameplay video for Spellspire 5:38
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