Spellspire review for PS Vita, PS4, Xbox One

Platform: PS Vita
Also On: PS4, PC, Xbox One
Publisher: 10tons
Developer: 10tons
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

Given my love for spelling and word games, it should come as no surprise that I’m totally obsessed with Spellspire. I mean…you kill monsters through the literal power of words. How cool is that?

If you clicked on the link in the preceding paragraph, you’ll note that this exact same description could be applied to a game that came out just last year, Letter Quest: Grimm’s Journey. Like Spellspire, that game was all about progressing through monster-infested dungeons, your vocabulary your only weapon at your disposal.

However, there’s also a key difference between the two games: where Letter Quest grew pretty repetitive pretty quickly, Spellspire never falls victim to that same trap. It recognizes that the key to any good RPG is allowing players to level up their skills. So it is here: by killing monsters with your words, you earn coins, which in turn you can use to buy new items, which in turn require more coins to strengthen. It’s an addictive circle, and it’s one that doesn’t get old because of the array of items on offer.

It doesn’t hurt, either, that there’s some strategy involved in defeating the different monsters. Sometimes you need to freeze them, sometimes you need fire, and sometimes you need poison: by consistently mixing things up, Spellspire keeps you on your toes.

Ultimately, though, what matters most in a word game is how easy it is to spell words. It sounds simple, and it sounds obvious, but the fact that not every spelling game can pull it off shows that it’s harder than it seems. Luckily, Spellspire succeeds on this front — particularly if you’re playing the game on Vita, where letters can easily be dragged and dropped using the touchscreen. The letter tiles are big enough to read, but small enough that you get a decent selection at every level, and placing them (and, just as importantly, taking them off) is as intuitive as can be.

I’m not going to pretend that Spellspire is a game for everyone: if you’re not obsessed with words and spelling, it probably won’t speak to you. Luckily, I am obsessed with words and spelling, which means that I’ve just found my favourite new game.

Grade: A