Spellspire

Spellspire is an action-word game (a genre I have been dying to write about, all my life).  You take on the role of a wizard climbing a tower, on a quest to beat the dragon at the top.  Your magic spells are, of course, generated by words that you build out of a grid of ten letters.  The minimum length of a word is three letters, and the longer the word, the more powerful the spell.  In addition to the basics of the the game, there is a system of upgradable equipment  (wands, hats and robes), and consumables that can be used in battle or sold afterwards.

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The Good

While it is a relatively basic and straightforward game, Spellspire is incredibly enjoyable.  Upon completion of the primary game mode, where you are tasked with climbing the tower and defeating the dragon, you are then given access to the dungeon under the tower.  This is an endless game mode where you descend the levels by completing certain tasks, including things like defeating monsters with palindromes.  I felt that this second game mode added a lot to Spellspire and the tasks made the game much less repetitive.  Additionally, the endless mode was much more fun to me than the regular levels, as many of the tower levels seemed to end within the first 10-15 words (depending on length of words).

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Also, I appreciated the fact that on many of the levels, you had to be able to use larger words to defeat the monsters.  Attempting to beat higher levels using just three- or four-letter words were not successful.  Boss levels in particular (which appear every ten levels) require larger words or else you will be swiftly defeated.

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The Bad

My biggest complaint about Spellspire is that the challenge mode (where you earn a star on each level) is very repetitive.  To earn stars, you have to replay each level and complete them without taking any damage.  This was a little annoying as, often times, I wasn’t taking damage the first time I played through a level.  As long as you are consistently upgrading throughout the game, you likely won’t take damage unless you are on a boss level.  It would drag on having to replay the exact same levels over and over again with no additional challenge (or less challenge if I had just upgraded).

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The Achievements

The achievement list on Spellspire consists of 22 achievements, of which 9 are ‘story’ related, for specific progress up the tower.  Other achievements include getting 7-, 8-, 9-, and 10-letter words without using the dictionary consumable.  The remaining achievements are going to require a decent amount of grinding, as they include tasks such as replaying each level without getting damage, and purchasing/upgrading certain robes.  The achievements can become quite a grind, but I still found them to be an enjoyable list.  Additionally, there are achievements outside of these, such as getting 25% of the words available in the level, that can be very challenging, but fun.

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The Verdict

Overall, Spellspire offers enjoyable, addictive gameplay that will pull you into the game.  The two different game modes give nice variety to a game that could otherwise be very dry.  There is a nice difficulty scale that adds a challenge, but through the upgrade and equipment system, it is not impossible to overcome.  I found myself spending a ton of time on this game without even realizing it, and it is a great game to kick back and spend some time on!

4outof5

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