Spells and Secrets Review LadiesGamers

Spells & Secrets Preview Impressions

Review code provided with many thanks to rokaplay.

Spells & Secrets is a rogue-lite and an isometric dungeon crawler with a magical school theme. Players will find quite the challenge in spite of Spells & Secret‘s cute and cartoonish look.

The Gameplay of Spells & Secrets

As it stands, there is no story or cutscenes in the version that I played, so instead, I will focus solely on what it is like to play Spells & Secrets. 

Spells & Secrets feels similar to many of the rogue-lite dungeon crawlers that I have played before: you head into a dungeon and slowly uncover tiles in the rooms until you find the boss or the exit. Over the course of the game, your character will pick up all manner of talismans and currency that improve your spells, your health, or other aspects of the game.

Spells and Secrets Review LadiesGamers
Players can attack, hold, or levitate items and enemies.

But there is one big difference between it and similar titles: character creation! The player gets to design their own wizard or witch to play as, and they have some great options including a color wheel for eye color and skin color, different outfits, glasses, accessories, and even two colors of hair to blend together. There were loads of options, and I was impressed with the level of customization I was able to get.

Spells and Secrets Review LadiesGamers
So many customization choices!

The Roguelite Elements of the Game

Health and mana upgrades are permanent and are paid for by collecting points. These points are earned by killing the creatures invading the magical school, completing levels, opening up more map locations, and can also be earned through unique quests in each level. Points can also be used to permanently unlock new spells and upgrades for each spell players can cast.

Spells and Secrets Review LadiesGamers
How to play Spells and Secrets

The starting spells are a “magic missile” generic spell that can be held to increase the damage dealt, and an object movement spell that allows players to pick up items or creatures they find. This allows players to block attacks with furniture or move a creature closer to a coming explosion. While these two spells are sufficient to complete the game as it currently stands, the other spells, like levitation and a shield spell, make things a little easier.

Both the gold crystal and the blue crystal currency, which are used to purchase items, also persist after death. The gold currency is used to purchase potions on the fly from vending machines, and the blue is used to purchase upgrades.

What a Magical School Level Looks Like

Players start in a neutral outside location where they can purchase spells and upgrades. There is also a location to change character appearance. There isn’t a whole lot going on in this courtyard area at the moment, but this seems like it will be a big story area. Since the version of Spells & Secrets that I have doesn’t include any story, it feels unfinished. But that is to be expected from this alpha version.

Spells and Secrets Review LadiesGamers
The area outside in the courtyard has all the Roguelite upgrades.

Next, players begin to delve into the dungeon. The start of the dungeon and each consecutive level will have a starting talisman that is free. Most levels will also carry additional talismans, potions, vending machines, and other ways to temporarily buff a character or debuff an enemy.

Mini Map

There is a mini-map in the bottom middle of the screen that shows directions you can head as well as any items in the current location. This will tell players there is a vending machine or there is a treasure bag, but not exactly where it is located. Players cannot move on from their current location until all creatures are dead. There are a variety of critters to battle against too, including:

  • Little elemental blobs that blow up, causing AOE damage to anything in the area, including other enemies.
  • Rolly-polly enemies spin and slam into objects and players.
  • Blobs that spit ice, poison, or fire at players.
  • Little flying dragons that shoot massive fireballs, iceballs, and earth balls at the unwary.

Three Floors in This Build

In this current build of the game, there are only three floors. This means there are only three bosses and a pretty limited scope of locations and creatures to fight. That being said, these three levels were incredibly fun to delve into. Again, I know this game is in the pre-release stage, but it feels very incomplete. This is great, though, because I expect to see a lot more creatures, locations, items, and talismans before this game comes out.

Spells and Secrets Review LadiesGamers
These are just some of the talismans available that I found.

After moving through several hallways, players will then come to the boss. There is currently only one boss in the game. A poison-spewing little boy that can occasionally fly and spawns poison-exploding balls. At level 1, players fight against one of these guys; at level two there are two of them, and there are three at level 3. I was pretty disappointed with the repeating boss, but I hope that changes in future versions of Spells & Secrets.

Spells and Secrets Review LadiesGamers
I won!

I was sad that I couldn’t try out the co-op play because that sounds like it might be immensely fun. This will all depend on the ease with which players can come together; hopefully, Spells & Secrets will be cross-platform to play on both Switch and PC together.

Overall Reaction and Final Thoughts

This game is challenging, though easier than most Roguelites of its kind. The cartoon look of the game is endearing. The Harry Potter-like setting means that the story and characters can have goofy magical powers without feeling out of place.

Spells and Secrets Review LadiesGamers
The map lets you know when you missed something.

The sound design in this game is a little plain. Also, some of the noises are a little irritating, but the sound was easy to turn off or mix as I wanted it. I look forward to getting more in-game music and noises as this game continues through development.

Spells & Secrets is cute, it’s fun, and it’s incomplete. I would have a hard time rating this game as it stands. However, there is a lot of potential in what I see right now. I look forward to reviewing this game again in the near future when it is finally closer to being finished.

Spells & Secrets Steam page can be found here. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *