IntroComp 2016: Spellbound

Next item on my IntroComp list is “Spellbound”, in which we are sent on a quest to find the lost letters of the alphabet in a world where magic is performed by spelling words with the letters you do have….

We are an orthographer, a sort of alphabet specialist, and we have a three-letter frame that allows us to form words of three letters using the letters we have on hand. Forming these words also summons them into being, hence the magic aspect. As the game progresses, we gain access to more letters and, therefore, to more words.

It’s an amusing premise, with some clear influence from Indiana Jones-style pulp adventure. There’s a certain “old school” feel to it as well; I think it’s the treasure hunt aspect combined with being a single adventurer in a strange world in which everything seems to exist as a function of a puzzle.

The mechanics of conjuring things up by spelling them out is fun and a little out of the ordinary, but not so unusual as to blow one’s mind.

The appearance of the rival orthographer adds a bit of tension to what could otherwise be a rather bland collection game. The demo ends very shortly after that, with the discovery of an ancient four-letter frame (allowing you to form words of four letters) and an ancient, abandoned, underground city. We’re not allowed (because it’s a demo) to bring the four-letter frame into the city, though we are allowed to either play with it or explore. We’re allowed to catch a glimpse of a number of puzzles in the projected full game, in other words. It does whet the appetite.

So we pretty much know what to expect further down the road. It’ll be more of the same, with the added complexity of four-letter words; and we’ll be working in opposition to this rival orthographer. We were limited in the beginning by having only a very few letters to play with, but this becomes less and less of a limitation as our inventory grows. The number of possibilities could get pretty enormous.

It’s like black diner coffee. I don’t think you can expect many breakfast surprises when you have diner coffee. It’ll probably be bacon and eggs, or an omelette, or pancakes. Nothing fancy (probably) but good, solid, hearty fare.

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