Spellcaster University – Review
Follow Genre: Simulation, Strategy
Developer: Sneaky Yak Studio
Publisher: Sneaky Yak Studio, WhisperGames
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

Spellcaster University – Review

Site Score
Good: Fun gameplay, coherent fantasy elements and Hogwarts-management feeling
Bad: Overly static experience, with options that look very complex but often end up being inconsequential
User Score
(1 votes)
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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

The Philosopher’s Stone, written in 1997, was the beginning of a whirlwind of fame for the Harry Potter series – and it brought an inedible change in the way popular culture sees magic. The appeal of a school of wizardry for the magically inclined did not stop at book and movie versions, expanding to the gaming world as well. Spellcaster University was finally released out of Early Access this month, and it is a lovely new title continuing the tribute to Hogwarts.


Spellcaster University’s plot is simple, and it’s quickly told in a cute cinematic sequence that opens up the game: Evil is a cycle that never tires, and before it rises again you must endeavor to build up enough benevolent forces to overwhelm it. Schools of magic in this fictional world were the first to fall into chaos, and you are one of the few remaining survivors who studied the arcane arts. It is your duty to share your knowledge and help the world against ‘Evil’, and that is why you must raise a school of magic of your own. A big responsibility, but you’ll soon forget all about it as you busy yourself with the riff-raff of the daily common affairs ruling over your empire of wizardly wisdom.


Spellcaster University’s graphics more than sufficiently fill the purpose of the game and its overall atmosphere. The visuals are cartoonish and cute, and they work especially well in zoomed-out mode, while not being particularly polished or original. You cannot fully control the rooms (and their content) that will be placed in your university, but there’s space for some interesting additions, such as school pets, who will liven up the place.


The game’s soundtrack fits its medieval fantasy theme quite nicely, and it is interesting enough to be noticeable, while still peaceful enough to blend into the background and soothe your experience while you concentrate on managing the hustle and bustle of the wizarding world. Its repetitiveness won’t win the game any musical awards, but we weren’t expecting much more anyway.


Spellcaster University is a deck-based building simulation game, where you take on the role of director of a school of magic and raise it from the ground up. Through the luck-based card system, you can acquire teaching rooms for different types of magic (Light, Shadow, Nature, Arcane and Alchemy), coupled with teachers to teach in each of them, and additional elements that will help you upgrade the school. You will also be fully in control of your young student recruits, who can be assembled into different Houses, and whose needs you will want to accommodate as best you can (to maximize their bonuses and minimize the damage caused by their less attractive traits). Each type of magic studied generates Mana, a resource that is used as a surrogate currency in the game, allowing you to make more card purchases from the deck, whereas the actual gold is gained by having more students enrolled, and in turn spent managing the staff.

If you don’t think this is complex enough, there’s also a system of communication with your surroundings that will grant you Prestige. Additional quests will often pop up requiring you to fortify relationships with your neighbors or combat monsters, and there will be “end-game” challenges that you want to concentrate on during your university progress. A timer on the top part of the screen indicates the rise of Evil, and when it is filled your time with this particular school is over. This will prompt your students to graduate and pack their things, and you will get the rewards achieved in this playthrough. That being said, things are not over yet. If you are playing the Campaign mode, you get to start another school again, albeit in a different location of your choice from the map. You will then restart the whole process, aided by whatever rewards you collected beforehand.

This sense of progression helps to give the game a feeling of focus and urgency, as you will want to perfect your school as much as you can before you have to move out again. You can tinker with most of the game’s settings when starting up (including difficulty and length), and the different locations of your schools offer different challenges for both making them efficient and the relationships you must establish with your neighbors.

The combination of all these game elements makes for a rather intense experience, as you have plenty to micromanage if you want to achieve a perfect run. However, if preferred, you can also take it easy and watch the game unfold without worrying too much about smaller things, as there will be no real consequences in producing a terrible school (other than personal embarrassment). In fact, Spellcaster University seems especially preoccupied with appealing to a larger fanbase by keeping both options open. This includes finer intricacies allowing you to maximize your efficiency, and superficial decisions if you just want to click things away and see what happens.

This mixed aspect might be, simultaneously, the best and the worst aspect of the game. While elements such as the option to forward time in-game are welcomed, you can’t really get into the nitty-gritty of choosing just exactly how you want the school to look, as you are limited to the RNG of the deck to acquire rooms (with different entrance and space characteristics), which you can never move or remove once you have placed them. Likewise, you can go as far as fixing the exact rules you want the school to live by, but you only have a somehow vague control of the students’ final graduation Destiny (what they end up becoming/doing, which you can only reroll once). Often you will end up feeling that, despite all the elements the game throws at you to manage, you are just a static spectator of a show you cannot really influence.

There are also one or two small bugs that can easily be overlooked, but there is one final negative remark we could not help making: the bottom screen has all the cards acquired during the game appear with their bottom half-cut. This is clearly an intentional choice but it makes the main screen HUD appear a bit too sloppy.


Spellcaster University is a relaxing gaming experience that, albeit pleasant and filled with fun little fantasy details, gets a bit lost between being a complex building sim or just a casual luck-based deck management game. Even though it’s now finally fully launched, there’s still a lot of room to grow for a title that has a very strong foundation. We expect the title to improve further on its negative traits. All that rests to say is to cling on to your sorting hats on and don’t forget to befriend the Troll, or suffer the consequences!

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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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Spellcaster University - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

Freelance writer and translator who likes to feed in her free time. If you'd like to chat, send me an e-mail to ritajbp@gmail.com!

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