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Spellspire PS4 review

We put our spelling skills to the test.

© 10tons

Spellspire has arrived on PlayStation 4 and follows the same path as its mobile counterpart. The app holds a high approval rating on both the Google Play store and the iTunes App Store so I was looking forward to seeing what it could bring to the PlayStation library.

The game is simple enough. You take the role of a small, grumpy wizard dressed in dishevelled clothing who is attempting to make his way to the top of a tower. Each level is filled with enemies each requiring a different number of hits to destroy. In order to cast your damage inflicting spells you must create words from the panel of 10 randomly generated letters; the longer the word the higher the damage inflicted. The choice is yours whether you attempt to create the longest words possible or to create a quick succession of shorter words.

Watch the Spellspire launch trailer below:

 

The gameplay is simple, the graphics are in keeping with the original and the music and sound effects are irritatingly repetitive. However, Spellspire is addictive. The first few levels lull you into a false sense of security, you chuckle to yourself about how easy the game is, how you must be some sort of savant when it comes to anagrams and how inadequate the enemies are when compared to your linguistic might. You should really consider entering the Scrabble World Championships with skills like these.

Then comes level 15. The bosses suddenly ramp up in difficulty, instead of the normal 30 seconds per enemy you have slightly longer but they take so many more hits. By the time you have eliminated all of the enemies on the level to make it to the boss you have run out of most of the obvious words leaving you with no choice but to study the letters closely in time you simply don’t have. From this point on you have to think and play tactically. Got a seven or eight letter word? Don’t play it! Keep it to yourself as you string out a chain of ‘cat’, ‘cats’, ‘bat’, ‘bats’ etc until you get to the murderous skeletal chef at the end of the stage then BOOM ‘catchers’!

One of the main issues I had with the game was the inconsistency of spelling presented. I found that certain words required an American English spelling whilst others required Standard English. This made it difficult to know with certainty whether or not the longer words I was saving for the bosses would actually inflict any damage. As a result some stages and letter sets became near impossible to win with even if there was no time limit.

View some Spellspire screenshots in our gallery:

As mentioned earlier, the graphics, music and sound effects are repetitive. While the addictive gameplay goes some way to making up for this I would have expected the PS4 version of this game to at least have significantly different backgrounds and a range of music. As it is the game feels like exactly what it is; a home system port of a mobile app.

Spellspire is a fun little puzzle game for those who enjoy anagrams; avid Boggle playing Harry Potter fans will love it. However I was disappointed with the overall game quality. It could have been so much more and built on the original but unfortunately it falls short of what I would expect from a PS4 game. It’s perfect for a mobile device but perhaps not for a home console.

Spellspire was reviewed using a digital code supplied by the developer.

Developer: 10tons Release Date: May 24, 2017 Reviewed On: PS4 with PS Vita Cross Buy Also On: Xbox One, PC/Steam, iOS, Android, Windows Mobile

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