Developer: Spider Key Games
Publisher: Spider Key Games
Platforms: PC, Mac, Android, iOS
Tested on: PC
Spellbind – Review
Spellbind has been out for quite some time on PC, but after some updates to the game we finally decided to check it out. The game was available before for free for mobile platforms, but has since been ported to PC at a very modest price point. Let’s see what this point and click adventure has to offer.
In Spellbind you’ll be playing as Luppe, a 16 year old boy who likes to call himself the King of Thieves. Your gang, known as the Riathon is without a doubt the best thieves gang out there until Ricko, the head of a rival gang, issues a challenge. You have to enter the cellar of Lord Amatar his house and steal his most expensive wine. You’re quite scared to do this because nobody really knows Lord Amatar, he’s always holed up in his house. However, you decide to accept the challenge and try to steal a bottle of wine, uncovering a lot of secrets while you’re at it.
Story wise, Spellbind isn’t the greatest but it’s not a bad story either. There’s a fair amount of reading to do in between levels in the game, giving some more information about Lord Amatar in his younger days. However, there is not a lot of information about Luppe himself, which can be quite disappointing as you don’t even know the main character in a game that revolves around story and puzzles.
The graphics in Spellbind look pretty old-school, just like old point & click games used to be. They’re not advanced or highly detailed in any way, maybe this has something to do with the game being a mobile port, but either way it doesn’t look horrible either. Overall it has a pretty nice aesthetic and tries to look as good as it can. However, while the game supports higher resolutions, the graphics will still display black bars at the side of the screen on a 16:9 aspect ratio.
When having a closer look at the sound in Spellbind, it’s easy to say that it isn’t anything amazing either. A lot of the short soundtracks are looped over and over again, so there isn’t really anything new to hear after a while. Sound effects aren’t amazing either, but they both do the job and aren’t necessarily annoying to listen to.
Spellbind is as easy as it can get gameplay wise, as it’s just a good old point and click game. This means that you won’t be needing a keyboard anytime soon in order to play Spellbind, except for pressing escape when going back to the menu. The left mouse button is used to look, use and interact and the right mouse button is used to open the inventory. Once the inventory has been opened, left mouse is used to select/deselect inventory items and right mouse closes the inventory.
The gameplay itself is fairly straight forward, you can click on elements on the screen and you’ll either interact with them or pick them up. There’s no indication whether the item you’re hovering over can be interacted with or not, but most of the time you can visually see what items are important and which aren’t. Occasionally you’ll have to look around quite a bit in order to find some of the smaller stuff, but that’s not too bad once in a while.
Luppe carries around a notebook where he writes down everything that can be a clue for a puzzle. This notebook can then be read during puzzles in order to help completing it, which can sometimes be hard even when you have notes. For some clues, the notes aren’t really enough help either to complete a puzzle, which can make some puzzles very hard. However, there is a timer for the puzzles and once it has been reached you can skip the puzzle. The problem this gives is that the developer(s) might have concluded themselves that the puzzles might be a bit too hard or too little clues are provided, so instead of fixing this issue they just added a timer. This pretty much defeats the purpose of a puzzle game as you can just go through the game by skipping a lot of the puzzles.
Other than that, Spellbind is quite linear. There’s no special objectives you can complete and nothing hidden that can be found. The mechanics for the puzzles themselves are okay, there’s rarely a puzzle mechanic that is repeated and there’s quite a few different kinds of puzzles.
Spellbind was a bit of a rocky ride from start to finish. While the intention of the game is there and it really looks, sounds and feels like an old-school point and click game, a lot of the puzzle incentives and clues weren’t enough to be able to solve the puzzles, which can make things very frustrating. Luckily there is a timer on the puzzles which allow you to skip them.