Preview: The Last Spell

By Eric, Getty, Gettinger

A warning to those who are interested in playing The Last Spell, if you want to have fun, this game will not take it easy on you. As a matter of fact when you boot up The Last Spell will flat out tell you that this will be difficult. This is fair warning for anything that holds the roguelite tag. You will die, You will come back and you will try again. There is also an element of strategy as the gameplay is heavily centered around turn based tactics. So there you have it, let me spell it out for you. We have an abbreviation ‘GG’ it can mean good game, or it can mean get good and in this case I would apply both for those of you who are brave enough to step into the world of The Last Spell. 

The Last Spell enters early access this week, but with its retro visuals it has splashes of Final Fantasy tactics on the battle map. All of the action will occur on the battle map with small breaks to level up your different prowess skills. The music has a feel of an old school dungeon crawl as you fight for your town to stay alive. That is the goal to cast the final spell in order to save the town as hordes of undead monsters swarm your town, each wave becoming stronger and your visual range shrinking at the beginning of each night. However, let’s discuss an entire run in The Last Spell. 

As it is a roguelite we get the first random element when you start a new run, three random heroes are generated. Normally it will be a ranged unit, a mage, and a tank with base level gear. The first day provides the direction the monsters will be coming from and the opportunity to place your heroes. Then it is time to start the night cycle. In order to advance, all enemies must die with two loss conditions, all heroes die or the wizards casting the spell in the middle of the town are slain. Monsters will advance on the battle map first, a few at a time, but if you place your units too close then they will get a free attack on your units, that’s a pro tip. Since it’s tactical, rounds happen as turns and each hero has a reserve of energy and mana. Energy is how many actions can be taken and it resets at the beginning of a turn, mana however does not refresh and a small amount is regained at the end of a night. Since the heroes have different classes with random abilities a mix and match is needed to stave off the horde of enemies. To add even more of a stress component if the town takes damage a panic meter will grow reducing your overall rewards if you can survive until the last spell is cast.

If you survive a night, the second day cycle will begin. At that time you will be rewarded with a few things. Gold and building materials based on the level of panic, a lot of panic means less rewards. Very low panic will provide more of these essential items as well as upgraded equipment. Of course gold can also be spent to buy more equipment or to create buildings in the town, heal the heroes, and grant additional mana. Building materials will be used to create barriers around the town to keep monsters at bay while offering cover. Be careful though as line of sight is essential in order to attack enemies within range so it is best to vary it. Heroes that survive will have received experience points used to level them up. Leveling up grants a primary and secondary boost, both of which are selected from a randomly generated list. Then there is a skill point which is fed into a tree. We will come back to this but it’s important to know that the skill tree is the same for all hero classes. Lastly, there are two prowess screens, one which affords upgrades based on your completion of different tasks and another which lets you spend currency that is obtained from killing monsters and some soft goals from the night battle. Suffice to say there is a lot happening here. 

The Last Spell is currently in early access with updates coming in, more enemies, more maps and plenty to keep you going through development. With the current level of detail, replayability, and challenges to check off this can be your go to, or even just a pick up attempt if you have the free time. Honestly those are the highlights of why I recommend this game. While on the other hand if you do not enjoy a challenge or stray away from time investments you will want to skip out on The Last Spell. There is a lot more to come with The Last Spell and but for an early access game you can get a good amount of play from it. If you are into strategy and roguelite games grab this one to support the dev so they can clearly go on doing something they love. 

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