This isn’t an expansion to an RPG about dark elf rebels in an elf-ruled arcology. No,
Spire of Sorcery demo gives us a taste of what it’s like to be mages mixing up elements to brew spells and survive.
In Spire of Sorcery, each encounter – even with inanimate objects – plays out like a fight. That’s because each target has different defeat conditions. For example, you can just kill an enemy by stacking five harm damage, or you can scare ’em away much faster with three flashes. But what if you want to get loot? Well, there’s another sets of elements for that…
As you can see, you need 6 fire or 3 harm to both squish the corpse (ending the encounter) and get some loot. You can squish it with 4 acid, but that doesn’t give out rewards. Now, direct your eyes to the middle panel: the spell she’s preparing deals two harm to target and one harm to adjacent enemies. So it’s not the most efficient way to do it, but what can you do? Also, you need two pyramids and two swirlies to cast it, and managing to pull them off is almost an entire different system.
Ya see, your mage can do one action per turn. Transferring a symbol to a spell is an action; refreshing the symbol row is also an action. You can exert yourself to do more than an action. However, each subsequent exertion during the turn costs more, marking boxes on your endurance track, and turning into afflictions once it fills up (all the tracks work, but only endurance suffers from exertion). Thankfully, casting a spell doesn’t cost an action, as endurance isn’t cleared between battles, so that’s nice.
Instead, Spire of Sorcery expects to do part of character maintenance on the overland map by eating and drinking potions. You can also do it via certain spells during battles, but you’re already putting a lot of strain on yourself to just fire off a single offensive spell a turn. Do you really have the time for that? No, you can’t just drag out encounters with inanimate objects – those are often accompanied by adverse environmental conditions that strike your characters every turn.
Spire of Sorcery demo also introduces to the campaign we can expect in the full game. It connects the overland maps/scenarios and tell the story of your mages, giving context to their actions.
There’s also a journal that lists your scenario goals as well as various data on your foes. As you go on squashing demons and ghosts, the journal will be updated with their stats, including which elements do what to which enemy. Since you can see the mobs wandering on the overland map, you can be better at deciding which fights to take – and which to avoid.
I can’t say much about Spire of Sorcery‘s story-telling, but I can tell you one thing: it is very interesting in terms of gameplay. If a editor ever offers me to do a review, I won’t say “no.”