Review | The Spell

splashThe Spell is a top down wizard them up. You play as some wizarding dude who must battle through a number of kingdoms to reach an ancient tower and stop other wizards from taking over the world. After defeating a wizard, you are promised the ability to take over their power to further continue your quest.

The first comparison I can draw with The Spell is to Hotline Miami, with which it shares its top-down combat and frequent deaths. In the part I have played you move through a forest towards a castle, and then battled my way through hordes of medieval warriors.

The enemies in The Spell are actually quite cool, with surprising (but not to me) advanced AI. AI enemies will group up to attack you in a formation and are able to dodge your attacks, requiring lead time to hit. This is a top down shooter requiring LEAD TIME, which is something I have not heard of in a long time. There is your stock of standard enemies, melee enemies with pikes who charge at you, ranged enemies with crossbows and big heavy dudes in armor who take a lot of hits and swing their massive swords at you.

You have two bars to keep track of, your health (red) and your mana (blue). Health can be restored by consuming potions, which can be found on a few enemies and are also scattered around the levels. Spells drain mana which will regenerate when not in use.

breaking and entering, wizard style

You have 5 magic spells at your disposal, with a range of offensive and defensive purposes. On the left mouse button is a standard magic blast, capable of killing most enemies in a single blow and able to level walls. Destroying walls is very satisfying with a slight screen shake and a large amount of dust and smoke flying out that makes the spells heavy and powerful.

My shield shall protect me, If I’m facing the enemy

On the space bar is a protective shield, stopping and damaging from the front and also has the ability of reflecting back arrows to their shooter. The protective shield also provides light for a non damaging method of navigating dark corridors. A bonus of the shield is that there is no pause before your mana starts to regenerate, making a very good spell to use when in a bind.

Let there be fiery light

The right mouse button has a range of spells, being selected by the first three number buttons. On the 1 key is a fire blast, which can set fire to the environment and again provide light. Enemies will run away from fire so it is a good area of denial tool, blocking up doorways and granting temporary reprieves from the onslaught.

FUS ROH DA- wait wrong game

The number 2 key selects a wind spell, which is mainly used to push enemies away, put out small fires and, when combined with large fires can be used to create a large flame wall. Arrows can be slightly deflected and nearby enemies can be pushed to the ground, making them much easier to deal with.

The 3 key selects what is possibly the most interesting spell this game has to offer, telekinesis. Right clicking and dragging an object allows you to throw objects around the map. Enemies, dropped weapons and most props are all able to be used as weapons in this fashion.

Not yet mountains, but I’m getting there

The graphics are an interesting mix, with all the characters in a lovely retro art style, and the props and background in varying levels of graphical fidelity. The mismatch between all the components, while slightly distracting still does not massively detract from the game. Any of the fidelity levels displayed in the game would work fine on their own, so I am hopeful that a more orchestrated art style is used in the future.

Right now the game is in a very early alpha, with only the first level complete. More levels and enemies are promised in the full game, along with more spells. From what I have seen so far, The Spell looks like an interesting game, and one I shall look forward to playing once more fleshed out and released.

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