Monday, 6 July 2015

Review - Letter Quest : Grimm's Journey (PC / Mac)

Casual gaming finally wins me over

I have never once considered myself a casual gamer - I would scoff at the 'noobs' playing gibberish like Farmville and Candy Crush, guffaw at the naivety of so-called gamers who wasted their time playing touch screen nonsense on their mobiles and tablets - titles usually involving nothing more complex than swiping your finger across the screen. But now I may have to reassess my views (well, not entirely, Candy Crush is still an abomination) due to one title, Letter Quest : Grimm's Journey.

First things first, this is certainly not the sort of title I would purchase solo, but as part of a Humble Bundle I recently purchased, I figured I may as well add it to my Steam collection and give it a whirl - after all, it was basically free. I never imagined it would end up being my go-to game of choice on my laptop, nor that I would clock in 5 hours (and counting) of game time. But there you go and here we are.

The premise of Letter Quest is a simple one - Choose a stage on the world map and then do battle with various beasties by spelling out words using the letters provided to cause them damage. Longer words and those using more 'valuable' letters such as Q and Z do more damage. Monsters, naturally, fight back, so you need to defeat them in as few goes as possible, while also making use of the many magic letters that randomly appear and which grant bonuses such as shields and damage increases. Monsters also have some tricks up their sleeves, and can poison or turn the tiles to stone, rendering them unusable or even damaging to you. Beating stages and defeating your adversaries earns you gems which can be used as currency in the shop to buy upgrades, weapons, spell books and other helpful items. Many of the items you can equip can be upgraded, providing bonuses such as greater chances to dodge attacks, cause critical hits, or leech health from enemies. There is a surprising amount of depth for, what basically equates to, a remixed version of Scrabble. 

With this depth comes the all important fun factor, and Letter Quest certainly delivers. It keeps you on your toes by steadily increasing the difficulty as you progress through the world map's many stages, including branching paths, and forces you to think carefully about which upgrades and new toys to purchase with your hard earned gems. The three additional challenges each level offers mix things up by changing the rules, such as adding a strict time limit, monsters that can only be hurt by words containing more than 4 letters or starting with a consonant, and extremely powerful 'super' enemies. With 160 stars to collect, Letter Quest will keep you occupied for some time!

All these word related RPG shenanigans come wrapped up in a lovable and polished graphical sheen that is appealing and cute. The music also tinkers along nicely in the background and has an authentic RPG sound to it in many places, adding to a very solid package indeed. Sure, Letter Quest will only appeal to gamers who enjoy word games, but if you do enjoy the odd game of Scrabble, Word Feud or even filling out puzzles in newspapers or magazines, then you will most likely enjoy this game as much as I have. At the very least it will provide you with a nice break from all that alien blasting or soldier slaughtering that you might usually be involved in when gaming on your computer, and it might even slow down the inevitable brain rot caused by the internet's continuing quest to stop us all from using our brains. For that alone, Letter Quest, I thank thee!

Title : Letter Quest : Grimm's Journey
Developer : Bacon Bandit Games
Year : 2014
System Reviewed : PC
Also On : Mac
Price : £5.59 (PC)

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