Letter Quest is a rare game in that it combines increasingly challenging gameplay with a pronounced sense of making you feel like a smarter human being. It’s decidedly simplistic, with its original life as a mobile/tablet game shining through its cartoony aesthetic and addictive gameplay, but there’s enough going in Bacon Bandit’s remaster to hold your attention. If you can spell.
The story is of little consequence, despite the cute presentation; Grimm and Rose are trying to grab a pizza and must battle against a sea of monsters in order to reach it. The graveyard/grim reaper style is interesting enough, and Grimm makes for a nicely simple protagonist, scything down ghouls and weirdly shaped ghastlies with his scythe. The narrative’s the least interesting aspect of Letter Quest, however, purely because it’s told in still comic book-style panels that pop up so infrequently that you’ll forget that there’s any real point to proceedings beyond spelling words.
Which is, shockingly enough, the real crux of matters here. Each battle gives you fifteen letters to make up whatever word you wish (cuss words aside) in an attempt to whittle down the health of your foe. Sounds simple enough, and more often than not, it is. The early stages are forgiving, as you’d expect, but proceedings get decidedly trickier as you go on. Enemies can attack back, of course, which starts to become an issue the deeper you get given your limited hit points, but it also opens the door for Letter Quest to become a better experience.
Each monster drops their fair share of crystals when defeated, which can be used to upgrade your weapons, increase your strength, health, buy potions and add useful modifiers to the equation that’ll make battling a little easier. The titular quests, of which there are many and offer a financial gain on completion, tend to be focussed on specific actions, like using the letter Q a certain number of times or picking special tiles in your words. The status tiles add a little bit of variation into the mix, with poison tiles causing damage when selected, for example.
These are all welcome additions to Letter Quest’s core gameplay, with a definite desire to build on what you’ll end up doing several hundred times over. There’s plenty to do here, too; each level has four stages of which only the first needs to be completed in order to open up the next level. It’s sufficiently hefty as an experience, but once you’re over the initial thrill of testing how wide your vocabulary is, Letter Quest predictably tends to wear a bit thin. The store, the quests and the sheer amount of levels means that there’s enough of a dangling carrot to keep you coming back for more, should it bite hard enough, and its design is almost tailor-made for families or groups to drop in and offer their own suggestions when you’re trying to think of a particularly fancy……..well, word, but there’s a high chance of Letter Quest’s core mechanic becoming a little tiring.
Midlife Gamer Rating: 6/10 Format: PlayStation 4 Release Date: Out Now
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a copy of Letter Quest Remastered by the publisher for review purposes. The title was reviewed over the course of a week. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.