Spellblast – Preview
Follow Genre: Action, Casual, Indie, Early Access
Developer: Tonal Recall Games
Publisher: Forever Humble PDX
Platforms: PC
Tested on: PC

Spellblast – Preview

Good: easy to play - hard to master, cool monsters
Bad: horrible boss music, very frustrating at times
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 5.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Spellblast is Forever Humble PDX’s latest creation and it features a very interesting mix of genres. It’s a mashup between a horizontal shoot’em up and a word game and yes, it’s as weird as it sounds. Blast your way through interesting looking monsters while collecting letters and forming words with them within the time limit.

spellblast logo

In Spellblast you’ll play both a horizontal shoot’em up and a word game. While going through an endless amount of waves, the game will throw random letters at you which you have to collect. When all of the letters are collected a timer will count down and the correct word has to be made from the given letters in time or a life will be lost.

This seems like a pretty simple thing to do, but it’s harder than it sounds. The letters can appear anywhere on the screen, even with an enemy on top of it or right in front of it. When shooting the enemy and killing it, it might happen that a shot goes through and hits the letter. This is a pretty big deal since hitting a letter will destroy your ship, which is extremely unforgiving and can be very frustrating at times. Enemies will simply fill your screen and sometimes you can’t kill one because the letter might get hit.

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An extra element of difficulty arises once all of the letters have been collected. While still playing the shoot’em up part, the letters have to be scrambled in the right order to form the right word. However, a lot of frustrations arise here as well since sometimes more than one word is able to be made with the given letters but only one of them is correct. The developers are also aware of this problem and will hopefully fix it somewhere in the near future. Failing to make the word within the given time will result in losing a life.

If you succeed in making the right word during the wave, a boss will spawn and if the word was correct a shield will be given during the fight. These bosses have pretty unique attack patterns and might require some practice in order to master. However, the places where the boss has to be hit are pretty unclear. There is no visual representation as to where the boss has to be shot in order to damage it, except for it flashing red once it’s hit on the right spot. After some boss fights, it seems that the first hit box is on the top of the boss, the second hit box on the bottom and the last one in the middle. While this could be an okay approach, it’s just very weird when there’s no visual representation as to where it has to be hit, which can lead to a lot of confusion on the first boss fight.

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There are still some other aspects of the game that could be a lot better. One thing is the music which is just horrible on boss fights. On the waves there are fairly pleasant sound tracks that fit well with the game, but the boss fights are just a pain. Once a boss wave is entered, some weird hip hop just starts blasting, which is just wrong on so many levels for this game.

Another thing is the balance between shoot’em up and word game. While the shoot’em up aspect isn’t the most spectacular one ever with no weapon pickups, powerups or other pickups except for letters, according to the developers the shoot’em up part isn’t the main focus of the game. Spellblast focuses on a “Word Game”, but it really doesn’t seem that way when playing. It doesn’t feel like the main focus at all because the shoot’em up part is where most of the time and attention will be spent.


In conclusion, Spellblast looked like a very fun mashup of genres but turned out to be a little bit of a disappointment. While some of the aspects of the game are simply “okay”, other ones aren’t that good at all such as the music or the “Word Game” part of the game, which is just forming a word with random letters. Hopefully the developers will take all of the feedback from the community as constructive criticism and make the game a gem after all.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 5.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Spellblast - Preview, 5.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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