Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
I've played more than my fair share of freemium games. For the most part, they follow a very familiar pattern of building up towns, farms, zoos and so forth, all through waiting it out or paying real money to speed up progress. It's a fun type of game to play but it doesn't tap into the true potential that the freemium model can offer. SpellCraft School of Magic goes some way to rectifying that, providing a game that makes it feel worthwhile spending money to progress.
SpellCraft School of Magic is the kind of game that Harry Potter fans in particular will adore. The player takes the role of a young apprentice being educated at the aforementioned School of Magic. In order to save the teachers trapped in the dungeons of the school, the player must cultivate plants, create spells and use them to battle the many monsters within the dungeons.
Each of these tasks provide a fun but easy way to play, introduced by looking around the schoolroom, otherwise known as a fancy menu. The Greenhouse is the first port of call for spell creation. It enables the player to grow ingredients that can then be used to make spells. Each of these ingredients takes a certain length of time to grow, which can be sped up with fertilizer (at a price). Increasingly better crops can be produced as the game progresses.
Once ingredients have been grown, the spells themselves can then be concocted through the Spell Library and some careful mixing that's done through stirring a cauldron with a finger. This all does take some getting to grips with even despite a tutorial, but it's worth taking the time to master it all.
That's not forgetting the many customization options available through the Dormitory which many players will enjoy. It allows the player to customize the look of their character but also the ability to add equipment and thus boost the wizard's stats.
The focus of the game is understandably on the Dungeon which is where the player travels to defeat the many monsters hiding within. All combat is card based and relatively straightforward. The game uses a form of rock, paper, scissors with different elements working well against different monsters. There's also some physical involvement with tapping the wand at just the right moment to inflict the maximum damage.
This is where the crux of the fun is to be had. Typically, a session involves preparing for battle, descending into the dungeon, completing a section then returning to grow and create better spells. It's simple but fun.
Freemium elements come from the ability to progress so much faster and create better spells through spending money. It's quite appealling though, even for a relative cheapskate such as myself. With 40 spells in all, I found myself wanting to progress and continue.
There's a surprising level of depth behind SpellCraft School of Magic. It is a freemium game that requires some real money input to really get anywhere after the first few hours but it's worth it.