Review: Spellsworn (2018)

The game is inspired by arena fighting classics such as League of Legends, DOTA, and would appeal to most MOBA players, as well as newcomers.

Spellsworn is the first game from Sweden based independent game studio Frogsong Studios. The game is inspired by arena fighting classics such as League of Legends, DOTA, and would appeal to most MOBA players, as well as newcomers. It’s ideal for those who want to experience a MOBA, but don’t want to dive straight into the complexities of the aforementioned eSport-ing giants.

The game is primarily focused around its PvP content, which is based in an arena MOBA ARAM (Multiplayer online battle-arena all random all mid… that was a bit of a mouthful) style. Similar to classic MOBAs, Spellsworn has an in-game economy, although PvP is last person/team standing and round based. Instead of buying gear, the player can buy, upgrade and sell spells and abilities. At the beginning of the game the player is given gold, then at the end of each subsequent round is gifted a further amount before the match is over. Players will be pleased to hear that that PvAI of the same content is available so being online isn’t a pre-requisite.

The gameplay is either solo or coop with two modes available; free for all or team based. This results in chaotic, but fun, mayhem or strategic team play. Games are based over 5 rounds and score is gained by getting kills, assists and of course, staying alive. The winner is the player or team with the most score and top performers get onto a winners podium. Players also have three maps to choose from which provide varying gameplay; Codex, which is based in a graveyard; The Clearing, in a forest; or The Cauldron, a necromancer’s pit.

Each map has its playable space in the centre and is surrounded by deadly terrain damaging to the player. It also closes in over time, which forces players together and players can be forced outside the “safe” zone. Running isn’t an option in Spellsworn. This results in furious close quarter combat, with magic spells flying everywhere. Controls are similar to other MOBAs also. Of course, players can select which keys they want to be what spells, but the defaults are ‘QWERASDF’ which makes things fluid and easy to control. Player movement and using spells is a little more clunky than I had hoped, but it’s not bad.

Spellsworn also offers a fair amount of character customisation, both on the macro and micro levels. Macro being the character customisation with skins and weapons, earned from chests, and micro being buying spells during individual matches. There are a variety of spells for players when looking to hone a play style, with around 30 to choose from. There are offensive, defensive, area, utility and travel spells. These allow for player flexibility; whether playing solo and going full offensive, or using defined roles in a team based scenario, there is a playstyle to suit almost anyone.

Overall, Spellsworn is pleasantly surprising. It maybe doesn’t have the complete package of overall excitement/macro gameplay that notable MOBAs like League of Legends or DOTA have, but it sure is a lot of fun, has its own querks and packs a punch.

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