Spellsword Game: Mobile

Game Trailer

Spellsword: is the Love Gone?

There has been quite the uproar since gaming hit Spellsword went from paid to freemium. And for all intents and purposes, almost all the fans of the original version truly despise the new free to play system. Obviously, the new changes have been made to accommodate the need for micro-transactions which would support the game’s developers. The question now is: are the changes truly needed? Or are the developers simply ruining an already good game?

Spellsword is a 2D action platformer that brings together non-stop monster-slashing action with strategic skill leveling and power-up collecting. The result is a highly stimulating game that is both fun and challenging. The graphics are done in old school 32 bit sprites (though not as polished as Castlevania) and the humor has been written to appeal to hardcore gamers and fans of fantasy and science fiction. Since its release, Spellsword has been a well recommended game by anyone who has tried it. However, a recent change was implemented to bring the game from being a fully paid app into a free to play title. The drawback is that the game is now heavily reliant on special coins that can only be acquired to countless days of grinding or by purchase through micro-transactions.

Hacking and Slashing

Everplay Interactive's Spellsword is an easy game to play. The goal of the game is to keep killing enemies, collecting gems, getting card power ups, and of course, staying alive. Each stage varies in its objectives, some will require you to survive a certain number of waves or minutes, other stages will require you to kill a certain number of enemies, and some will ask you to collect a specific volume of cards. There are other kinds of objectives as well, but regardless of what they are, the important thing is for players to strengthen their knight so that they can accomplish anything that the game throws at them.

The controls are quite simple to master. On the lower left corner of the screen are controls for moving your character to the left or to the right. On the lower right corner at buttons for attacking and jumping; attacking makes your character move forward while slashing with the sword. This move will damage any enemy hit by the sword. As useful as this may seem, the basic sword does very little damage and is only truly effective against the weaker enemies.

In order to cause some real damage in the game, you will want to pick up cards. These are not ordinary cards, these are magic cards that will imbue your sword with special abilities. When you acquire a spell card, it instantly releases a powerful spell and a new spell card spawns in the stage. Aside from instantly doing damage, the spell card will also imbue your sword with an elemental attack power for a short duration of time (at the very least, long enough for you to grab the next magic card).

The Types of Cards

Spellsword’s different cards can be confusing, so knowing what they do will certainly help you out when starting. Here is a quick list of the basic cards:

Green, Wind Magic

This card will surround your sword with wind magic and for as long as the duration lasts, each attack of the sword will release a powerful projectile. This is very useful if you want to directly attack enemies instead of hoping that the card ability will even damage. At higher levels the size of the projectile is increased to ridiculous sizes –making it really useful when clearing out entire groups of powerful enemies.

Red, Fire Magic

Acquiring this card will turn your sword into a flaming weapon, and while that is not as amazing as the extra wind damage, it does help a bit. The real bonus of this card is the spell it casts: a massive salvo of fireballs that will home in on any enemy on screen. The fireballs will spread out evenly across all available targets, but if there is only one target on screen, expect it to get beat down by the barrage. Upgrading this card spell will increase the amount of fireballs that get launched.

Blue, Ice Magic

When you get this card, your knight will be surrounded by a shield of ice crystals that will provide an extra layer of protection against damage. Your sword will also have an ice element effect that will slow down enemies. Aside from that, the card also casts a wave of ice shards that shoot out in a multidirectional pattern. The direction that the shards fly is set, but it is likely that it will hit nearby enemies. Upgrading this card will increase the number of ice shards that are launched and also, it will improve the strength of your ice-shield.

Purple, Poison Magic

When you get this card, all enemies on screen will be afflicted by poison and will instantly die after a certain duration. Basically, this is a quick-kill card, and when upgraded to the maximum level, the duration is so brief that you would hardly notice the delay. Aside from instantly killing every enemy on screen, the poison card will also provide your sword with a poison attribute which allows you to kill enemies faster.

Collecting Items

Despite Spellsword’s action-centric gameplay, it is still a role-playing game at heart. As such, players will not only have to manage spell powers, but they also have to manage the equipment being worn by the character. Armor, rings, helmets and other fantasy adventure staples are part of the hero’s ensemble. You can receive a variety of benefits and bonuses for such items. More health, stronger card skills, longer spell durations –these are just a few of the things that you will receive when equipping better gear.

To get better items, players must consume gems or dragon coins. Gems can be earned in-game, as rewards for finishing quests, or by simply picking them up from dead monsters. Dragon coins can also be earned in-game, however, they can only be found by smashing open crates. More often than not, dragon coins are acquired through micro-transactions. Which now brings us to the one of the big hurdles that Spellsword must pass: the transition from paid to freemium.

Haters Gonna Hate

Now, the big issue with Spellsword is how “unbalanced” the game has become with the switch to free-to-play. Now, since you are reading a review, it is quite likely that you are a new player –and hence, the change is pretty much a negligible factor since you would not have the prior experience of playing the older version of the game to compare with the current one.

The important thing to remember is that players whose first time to play Spellsword was with the free version still enjoyed the game (and plenty of people did). Despite the changes that were made from the original, the end result is still a fun and addictive game.

However, the change did leave plenty of fans hanging –mainly those who bought the paid version and have carefully built up their characters and acquired valuable items. The update short-changed these players by nerfing the stats of both the knight and the items –making all of them significantly weaker.

It would have been nice if the developers allowed the paid versions to retain their version of the game –as opposed to forcing them to switch to the freemium game. Considering that Spellsword has no real online component, this forced change has alienated the older players from enjoying a game they once loved.

The Verdict

Despite all the fuss regarding the game’s switch from regular to freemium, it is easy to see why Spellsword is such a great game to play. The platform action is tricky, challenging and exciting. The graphics are well made, nothing on the screen will distract you from focusing on the action and every visual detail is made to be clearly recognizable. The controls are intuitive and responsive (which is a big plus despite the touch screen input). The script, while inherently shallow, is also witty and funny (and the fact that it is full of gaming and geek culture references is a definite plus). The bottom line is that Spellsword is a great game, and while players of the paid version feel that the freemium game is lesser, it really does not matter at this point. What matters is that the version of Spellsword that is currently available is really fun to play. We give this game a poisoned slime’s 87/100.

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Spellsword Game: game play Spellsword Game: screenshot
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