I went hands-on for about an hour with newly released The Last Spell, and there’s a lot to like. The game sets me up as the defender of humanity’s final hope, the titular last spell. At night, monsters arise from the mist to launch themselves against my, at first, small fortress. But if I survive to see the dawn, I have time to build up my defenses, purchase better gear, and level up my heroes for the fights ahead. The loop will keep players in the action, but the bevy of options can be bewildering.
Nightime’s bloody conflicts are comparatively streamlined. Each hero I control has their own action points, mana gages, and abilities that drain both to varying degrees. From magic casters to brutes, the movesets all have satisfying options that kill terrifying combatants from up close and afar. The balance between using techniques and burning through my limited resources is also well done, allowing me to feel like I’m really fighting for my life, but also revel in my cool powers.
Everything is turn-based, so it’s easy to plot out how each hero will take on the incoming horde of zombie-like enemies. The creatures’ goal is to destroy anything in their path. That means my heroes take a hit if I haven’t moved them out of the way by the bad guys’ turn and anything that slips past me is going after the fortress itself.
When rosy fingered dawn appears in the sky, I return to a home which is usually a little worse for the night’s activities. I typically love the base-building part of any game, but I have mixed feeling here. Mainly, my issue lies with a too-light explanation of what to do. I flounder around with various buttons and eventually figure out exactly how to level up my characters, bring up descriptions for everything, and work on buildings. With few in-depth directions, the road to that knowledge was bumpy.
That roadblock out of the way, my characters return to battle better prepared than ever. And each morning they return to town victorious, they grow more powerful, earn more resources, and take one step closer to discovering the last spell.