The Last Spell is a tactical roguelike RPG for the Nintendo Switch. Set in a fantasy world full of goblins and magic, it features warriors fighting hordes of zombie-like creatures to ensure the survival of humanity. Sound like a lot? It is!
The detailed story unfolds via an introductory cutscene worthy of a Tolkien plot. In this bleak world, a new type of magic has evolved. While it was initially used to bring peace, that innate desire for power and control has naturally led to chaos and destruction. Prolonged use of this magic has resulted in the rise of a monstrous army of the undead. There’s only one solution: a final spell strong enough to snuff out all magic. Forever.
Your role is to protect a coven of mages as they brew this final concoction. You control three random heroes who must defend their base from the surrounding hordes of monsters. Gameplay occurs atop an isometric playing field featuring a grid-based layout. Central to this area is your base, in which the mages work tirelessly on their potion.
There are two distinct phases to The Last Spell, consisting of periods of day and night. This helps keep things interesting and introduces a nice balance to the game. During the day, you’re safe from those pesky monsters, leaving you free to update your base. You can build or repair walls and gates using earnings from the previous night. You can also upgrade your warriors and buy items from the shop.
Nights, on the other hand, are much more stressful. This is when your base is under attack. The monsters’ sole goal is to overcome the warriors and reach those mages hiding within. It’s a turn-based affair, with a points system used to make your moves. You can spend these action points however you like by moving, attacking, or helping your allies.
Visually, The Last Spell fares well, with dark, brooding graphics suited to the content. The soundtrack is a highlight, with guitars slashing in the background amid more medieval tunes. It works well, keeping the adrenaline pumping as you play.
I have mixed feelings about the user interface. There’s a lot going on, like a lot. It’s actually a little overwhelming at first, and could easily put off casual gamers. I stuck with it, and it eventually started to make sense. On the plus side, there are handy popups to guide you, for which I’m very grateful. Still, it takes getting used to.
For example, you’ll need to press X to accept a menu option, as opposed to the typically used A button. You’ll also need the minus button a lot—always a fiddly one to find and press—to access a specific menu, then the left stick to move through the options within. ZL and ZR guide you through your action points during battle. It all falls into place eventually, but it’s certainly not intuitive, and the numerous options can become a little daunting. Playing in handheld mode, I’d love to have seen touchscreen controls included with this version.
Overall, The Last Spell is a fun, if complicated, tactical RPG. With building components and the ability to level up, there’s plenty to do here. It’s a lot to take in, especially initially, but there’s plenty of fun (and horror) to be had if you stick with it.
Review: The Last Spell (Nintendo Switch)
The Last Spell is a fun and complicated tactical RPG. The gameplay alternates between building components and turn-based fighting, providing plenty to do here. It’s a lot to take in, especially initially, but there’s plenty of fun (and horror) to be had.