December 12, 2016 3:50 PM | Thomas Faust
In Frogsong Studios' Spellsworn, competing wizards battle it out in small arenas, flinging all kinds of vile magic at each other and trying to be the only spellcaster standing at the end of the round. The game, which is available via Steam's Early Access, has recently entered its alpha phase, adding bots to the mix and ensuring that you'll always have someone to play against. Even if human opponents are more fun to be around, these computer-controlled adversaries can definitely hold their own.
Before each match, you pick a bunch of spells and after each round, you can distribute extra points to further improve your loadout. What's rather impressive is the number of different spells, which allow for all kinds of crazy combinations. You can go all-out with offensive magic, hurling fire, ice, and magical homing missiles, or you work in a few defensive charms as well: shields, teleport magic, you name it. The best defense may indeed be a good offense. Fireball coming your way? Throw one yourself and watch the two collide halfway. Pushing your opponents out of the playing field is another valid tactic. Nothing like a nice acid bath to get rid of the competition, eh? Having something on hand that quickly gets you out of this predicament and back into the fray is pretty important.
It might take a few rounds and a lot of crushing defeats until it finally clicks, but when it does, Spellsworn is a thing of beauty. It is fast-paced and surprisingly deep for a "simple" multiplayer arena game. With features like persistent progression and cosmetic items you can store in your Steam inventory, the game is on the right track. For the final release, the developers basically promise "more of everything" and an altogether more polished experience. But even in its current alpha state, Spellsworn is a lot of fun. The bots make up for the lack of players, and all the basic features are in place, allowing for fun times and magical mayhem.
The game is currently running an event called "Twelve days of Christmas", promising "gifts, giveaways, and candy."