You play the part of a wizard that must make their way up 100 floors of a tower, defeating progressively harder enemies as you go. To attack enemies, you must form words from the 10-letter pool you are given at the start of each floor. Words increase in damage the more letters you use. So, a 3-letter word inflicts the minimum amount while using all 10 letters will cause a devastating blow. This means that you will want to save the longer words for the more powerful enemies on the stage.
Game play is simple – form words, attack monsters, clear the floor and earn gold. You can then use that gold to buy new gear and upgrade it in the shop. Robes, hats, wands as well as basic health and attack. These upgrades will help you defeat the more powerful enemies and the bosses that reside on each 10th floor. Wands can also be imbued with special abilities such as poison, ice, etc which will have different effects on enemies, so make sure to check out their weaknesses in the Monsterpedia. The health comes into play because if you don’t destroy a foe before the onscreen timer runs out, they will attack you.
As straight forward as the game is, the controls on consoles can get in the way of themselves very easily. You use the right stick to move the cursor over the letter you want, then click on it with the A button. Once you have formed your word, you use the right trigger to attack. The word will flash if you have formed a usable word, so you don’t have to waste time worrying if you have input a bad word. There are also about 111,000 words in the dictionary – including many swear and slang words, so you have a lot of material to work with. But when you are rushing against the clock it is very easy to click the wrong tile. The game was originally a mobile title, and the tile selection was done with tapping the screen, so there would be less chance of mistakes.
There is a fair amount of content in this game if you are into word games. Each time you play a floor, the letter pool is changed, so you get a new experience. Also, once you beat a floor it is changed to a challenge level. The monsters become faster and you must complete it while maintaining set criteria. If you complete the challenge you will earn a star. Clearing floors, as well as earning stars will unlock new equipment for you to buy in the store with the gold you have earned.
The graphics are cartoony, which is fine for this type of game. The enemies are well varied and interesting to look at, even though you will be spending most of your time focusing on the lower right hand corner of the screen where the letter tiles are. The music is upbeat and fits well with the genre. Long gaming sessions may find you lowering the volume, but your brain will probably start to yell at you for missing easy 3-letter words first and you will want to take a break.
No matter what platform you play on, you should be able to find Spellspire. You can grab it on iOS and Android for free – in app purchases may apply - so you can play on the go, or grab it on XB1, PS4, or Steam for $ 9.99.