Spells & Secrets is an adventure-puzzle game developed by Alchemist Interactive and published by Merge Games. The idea behind this title is a good one. Unfortunately, it didn’t hold up to its potential on the Nintendo Switch.
Upon starting the game, you create your character. To be honest, the character creation wasn’t anything too fancy, but it was fun to play around with the different hair options and the like. You’re then thrown into the main story.
You play as a first-year student at Greifenstein’s Wizard Academy. Within 24 hours, the school is under attack by The Crown, which is a group that wants to cause chaos at the school. As with most wizard-school games, it’s up to the newbie to figure things out and save the day. Now, while the plot is a bit on the clichéd side, Spelled & Secrets did have unique qualities. This title is a rogue-lite so your character learns and grows as they go along.
My favorite part of this game is the spells. You can equip three at a time and upgrade them using experience points earned from defeating enemies. My favorite one is turning into a mouse. It sounds useless, but it made my character move faster. So, I played as a mouse 90% of the time. The first upgrade for that spell is to spook any enemies within a certain radius of me. That helped me get in the first attack most times.
Speaking of enemies, they’re easy enough to defeat. One of the first spells you receive is magic missile. I held down the L-button to lock onto the target and spammed that spell. The enemies are unique in the way that some teleported around you, some spit poison, and some jumped at you. However, I kept my distance and spammed spells until they died. It wasn’t too difficult.
The bosses are okay. Once I learned their attack pattern, it was mostly a waiting game. I’d dodge for a certain amount of time (meaning, my character and the boss walked circles around each other) and then spammed more of my attacking spells. Also, the bosses aren’t immune to their own attacks. For instance, the first boss throws fireballs to make lava puddles in the area. These puddles burn said boss if they walk in them. It was chip damage, but it still helped me out.
While the spells were cool, the game wasn’t too impressive for me. The story is slow and I wasn’t interested in it at all. I found myself skimming the text boxes. The layout of the school feels like a maze at times, even though you do fill out the map as you enter new areas. The school isn’t exciting, either. All the classrooms, dorms, and courtyards more or less look similar. There wasn’t a “wow” factor for me.
However, I like the graphics. The game is pretty to look at, even if the actual areas aren’t anything too special. The music isn’t too bad to listen to, either, but even that got repetitive.
Spells & Secrets has potential, but it’s a lackluster game for me. I think I’d be able to overlook some of this if it wasn’t so slow. To make matters worse, it doesn’t run well on the Switch at all. The frame rates continuously drop and loading screens are long. Unfortunately, I didn’t try playing in multiplayer mode because it couldn’t handle my character alone on-screen.
Will I go back to this one? Maybe. If you get it on Nintendo Switch, you’ll need patience for the lag. Spells & Secrets isn’t an exciting title, but I was intrigued enough by the spells and the way the game utilizes that mechanic.
Review: Spells & Secrets [Nintendo Switch]
Spells & Secrets has potential, but the frame rate drops on the Nintendo Switch make it frustrating to play. Otherwise, the controls aren’t too bad, but the overall story and characters are lackluster.