Spells & Secrets Impressions – A Magical Roguelike

I found myself heading down the rabbit hole of demos during Steam Next Fest and stumbled across Spells & Secrets. Developed by Alchemist Interactive and Rokaplay, this game has you create your own character to become a student at the magical school of Greifenstein.

Spells & Secrets begins as you’re traveling to the academy. However, upon arrival, it soon comes under attack by a mysterious group known as The Crown, whose main goal is to bring chaos to the school grounds. Armed with your trusty wand and a few spells, you set out to rescue the various students and teachers trapped within Greifenstein. Along the way, a few mysteries emerge that require you to solve, such as the disappearance of the school’s Headmistress.

I haven’t made it clear, but Spells & Secrets features roguelike systems where your magical spells come from various teachers saved across runs. In the demo, the only spells you can learn are from Professor Theodore O’Pot, who grants you three that can be used in various ways, such as to solve puzzles, hurt enemies, or launch a sneak attack.

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When charging up a spell, an energy wheel will deplete the more you focus. My favorite that I kept using was the mouse form spell, which allows you to transform into a mouse.

I found the spell helpful to get through areas faster, and it even has some use in combat too. When you explore an area, you may gain items that will help improve a spell, such as a ninja headband to make enemies dizzy when you transform back into your human form or, alternatively, a boost of speed when you turn back into a human from a mouse.

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The spell was also useful in helping me solve certain puzzles that would allow me access to various hidden rooms. One of the main elements shown off was the campus runs, where you go into Greifstein’s campus to look for students and teachers trapped within the school. These runs are similar to dungeon-based runs found in other games, but the unique school setting made the experience feel fresh.

Each student and teacher saved during these campus runs will be sent back to the courtyard, where you can interact with them. Further, you’ll likely meet Anton and Emil, two brothers who sell you items such as health or potions. The potions can be thrown at enemies to cause debuffs, such as freezing them in place or lacing them with acid, which will damage them over time.

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During a run, you may also run into a member of the Crown, who will act as that area’s boss fight. The challenge increases during these fights, but their telegraphs are easy to spot if you pay attention, giving you enough time to take them down. Further, you don’t have to explore the school grounds alone, as the demo allows you to join another player through the co-op beacon. As of now, only one other player can join you locally in the demo.

Players also have an in-game wizard smartphone they can use to check on achievements, which rewards them with spells. The game’s character creator was also something I enjoyed, as I spent around ten minutes looking at the options and how detailed it was in allowing me to give my character the physical traits I wanted. You can even choose idle poses too.Spells Secrets 3

With wonderful music and a colorful vision of a roguelike world, Spells & Secrets is another fun magical school game to put on your radar. The only issue I found was that the load times were quite long, but I’m looking forward to its release later this year. Hopefully, the systems in the demo will evolve within the final release to provide players with a fun co-op roguelike experience.

Spells & Secrets is coming to PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC via Steam in Q3 2023.

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