Word games are great on mobile. Shifting letters around, making big clever words (or les face it, trying to but coming up with ‘the’ and ‘but’) works great in bitesize chunks. It’s why the thirty seconds of Countdown had such long lasting afternoon television appeal in the U.K.

The internet tells me there is a licensed Countdown mobile game, but I’ve heard nobody talk about it, which is indicative of the issues facing Spellspire. Word games on mobile are great, which is why there’s roughly a gajillion of them and why it’s hard for there to be one that stands out. The word based RPG idea is a good one, but 10Tons certainly didn’t invent it, nor were they in the first hundred people to use it. It means Spellspire, while wholly acceptable, just doesn’t feel exciting in the least.

Spellspire_20170511205345

Spellspire_20170511205345

You have a shuffled deck of letters to use, and must spell words before a timer runs out and enemies attack. The bigger the word, the more damage you deal. There are weapons and consumables that boost damage or defense, or maybe give you a quick answer if you’re stumped. That’s about it though, and beyond the thought required to use your vocabulary to its maximum, it’s all straightforward. You don’t really have to consider enemy types or what gear you’re carrying. There isn’t really any nuance to your spelling. Deal more damage to an opponent than they have health, and remaining magical juice will pass through them onto the beast stood behind; there could have been an element of using small words on small foes so as not to burn your big words too soon, but alas, this isn’t really necessary.

On PS4, there isn’t the competition Spellspire faces in the word game field on mobile, or even on Vita. Yet this ‘as is’ port, with control pad typing that feels slightly awkward (though quick to get used to, to be fair) does nothing to draw in a player that might forgive a throwaway mobile game but demands a little more once the TV’s fired up.

10Tons recently broke a run of straight ports of uninspired mobile titles with the pleasant surprise that was Neon Chrome. Spellspire is an unfortunate return to form. In mobile form it feels tired, and on console it feels out of place.

KAIJU VERIDCT

1/4 Pops: Weak One pop games may be functional, and enjoyable to some, but not the reviewer. Mechanical or conceptual failings make them impossible to recommend.
PS4 version tested
Review code supplied by 10Tons

About The Author

Gamer, Educator, Writer of Stuff, wrestler of professionals (sometimes)