In Spellirium, words carry power – and not the metaphorical kind; like, real power. The ability to reshape the world around us kind of power. And what better to hold this might than a crossword puzzle.
You play as Todd, a young Runekeeper (a wizard of sorts) in training, who comes into possession of a strange, stone tablet engraved with letters after the untimely death of one of his mentors. He messes about with the odd slab to find it can cast spells. By creating words, he can perform just about any task imaginable instantly – like rooting and suspending trees in mid-air. Intrigued, Todd decides to seek out the other Runekeepers to find out more about the tablet.
The item itself is known as a SpellCaster, and it is the primary means of interaction and puzzle solving in Spellirium. It’s a point-and-click adventure game first and foremost, using the same manner of item combining and trading that the genre thrives on. But it’s also a word puzzle, adding a splendid twist on the formula.
Using the stone slab is intuitive. Clicking on letters allows you to swap their place on the board, selecting a series of letters that form a word clearing them, new pieces laid in their place. Early puzzles demonstrated the variety of ways through which the SpellCaster could be used. Shearing a sheep, for instance, required I use synonyms of shear (cut, shave, trim), while a spinning wheel needed words to be formed in clockwise motions. Colored tiles also appear, which certain challenges require be used to complete specific tasks.
A time limit lends a hectic quality to the word-matching. The words you need are often in short supply; maybe a few are available at most from the start, if you’re lucky. As such, you’re encouraged to move quickly by making whatever words you can. A good measure, anyway, as doing so awards additional points that contribute to your overall rating for the puzzle.
Spellirium shows promise. It’s currently seeking crowd-funding via its Website to finish development, the alpha version being handed out for pre-orders. The game doesn’t have a release date yet, but rest assured that we’ll be keeps our eyes and ears open.
Callum Rakestraw -- Associate Editor, NoobFeed.