The Last Spell
The Last Spell
Developer: Ishtar Games
Release Date: 10 March, 2023
Platform: Windows, Switch, PS4/5, MacOS
Genre: Turn-based Tactical
By Chris Picone, 06 March 2023
The Last Spell grabs you by the balls right from the first moment you load the game. Sick soundtrack, gorgeous pixel art, even some nice intro cutscenes. And the gameplay's pretty damn gnarly too. Make no mistake, this is a top tier roguelike turn-based tactical.
Dark overall, even during the day scenes. You're the last bastion of hope remaining in this world, surrounded by horror, striving to fight back against insurmountable odds as the dead swarm, and it feels like it. The pixel art's absolutely top notch: the sprites are gorgeous and detailed, the backgrounds are simple but add atmosphere, the UI's very clean, and there are even some really well done cutscenes from time to time. And, as I mentioned, the soundtrack's wicked. Very polished experience overall.
The game has two phases: Day and night. You're safe during the day, free to harvest the corpses of the fallen, build new structures in your haven, and level up your characters. During the night, your enemy attacks in swarms, with new waves entering the fray every turn. To make things even tougher, they often attack from multiple directions, forcing you to spread your defences wide and split your characters, making them vulnerable. Initially you'll have access to a mage, a melee character, and an archer, but as you progress through the game and harvest souls you can unlock a huge array of different weapons, each of which comes with their own attacks and abilities. And it's a roguelike, so they stay unlocked in future runs, adding to the variety with each playthrough. You also unlock new buildings and permanent character upgrades, which of course means your characters become stronger with each run. However, the enemy gets stronger too; at first you're only facing pretty basic skeletons but after a couple of runs they come at you in armour, or fast, or flying, or shooting back at you, and it just gets wilder as the game progresses. Even your characters, which level up as you gain experience, come with about six semi-randomised skill trees to work through, so no playthrough is ever the same. There's absolutely tons of variety and every run you get that little bit stronger and unlock some new toys to play with (and new enemies to fight) so not only does The Last Spell never get boring, it's really addictive.
There's absolutely no question with this one. Fan of turn-based tactical games? Buy it.