Whilst sitting at home on the sofa with Switch connected to your TV is always a possibility, part of the draw behind Nintendo’s best console is the fact that portability and flexibility is always welcomed. But whilst many games on Nintendo Switch are lengthy drawn out affairs that don’t let go for hours on end, there are a growing number of quick hit commuter favourites.
Letter Quest Remastered is one of those completely suited to the on-the-go attitude Switch revels in.
A RPG/Scrabble hybrid that you can sit down with for just a few minutes at a time, cracking out a single level or two as you wait for the bus to stop, Letter Quest will push your wordsmith skills to the limit. It sees you taking control of a delightful little grim reaper, Grimm, who with his fellow death-bringer, Rose, is out for revenge… or at least a bit of pizza. In fact, yes, it is the pizza they are after and with the story quickly being left behind as to why you are firing out word after word, taking down monsters and hunting down food, thankfully the actual gameplay never lets up.
Facing off against waves of enemies, your attacking system is controlled entirely by the words that you can spell, with a 5×3 grid playing host to your Scrabble-like tiles. It’s a super simple system that works brilliantly; smashing monsters in the face, and taking them down before they dish the damage out to you never really gets old. You do this via the way of spelling and creating the longest, most complex words possible, with the bigger, better words delivering larger amounts of damage to the waves of enemies in front of you. With no real time limit to worry about, the touchscreen controls of Switch ensure that Letter Quest plays like a dream, and is much preferred over the alternative thumbstick and face button combo. That’s not to say the physical sticks don’t work, for they do, but ease of use sees the touchscreen format excel.
The enemies will fight back though, and whilst they won’t be able to pinch any letters from your grid, will happily pound you in to submission with melee attacks. With a keen eye on your health, and a keener one on the strength of your enemy, you’ll need to juggle firing out words with the redemption of pouring health and shield potions down Grimm and Rose’s necks.
But it’s not just the enemy you need worry about and once you’ve got the first few levels out of the way, tile changing effects will see you struggling to be able to make use of your prime words. See, poison tiles will affect your health should you need to use them, Plague tiles will turn anything near them the same letter, Stone tiles will be locked from use whilst more still will all affect your overall plans. Letter Quest Remastered may start off simple, but you’ll soon find yourself juggling many skills as your available tileset gets narrowed down.
To help you out in your quest though there are many different shopkeepers ready and willing to sell you items. With the usual health, damage, and shield stats all upgradable, a number of spell books delivering further stat enhancing abilities are a lovely touch which can see you earning big dollar, for even more purchase, with each kill. Further ability and skill upgrades, and different scythe types allow for even more customisation opportunities, with the well set prices tempting you in to playing Letter Quest Remastered time and time again.
But even if you think if yourself as a walking talking dictionary, sailing through the levels with ease, there is a whole ton of replayability available due to increased difficulty levels which power up your enemies, put you up against a tight time limit, or bring special Elite monsters that are near impossible to beat. In fact, other than the final star level for each stage which comes across as more frustrating than anything else, every single test that Letter Quest brings is an enjoyable one, letting you sit back in your own time and crack on without a care in the world.
It is this in which Letter Quest Remastered really shines, ensuring that you will never have to listen to those old ladies at the front of the bus again. In fact, its lack of urgency and well paced levelling up system sees this arrive as near as damn it to the ultimate portable Switch game. The fun doesn’t stop once the campaign is complete either… you can send thanks to the Endless mode for that.
When you do find a need to keep away from those monsters though, a Hangman style treasure chest puzzle more than fills the void. This is not only fun, but a welcome chance to earn some decent coinage for spending at the various vendors. It’s just a shame there aren’t more of these to get involved in as taking a bit of time away from the usual word creation system is a delight.
All in all though and Letter Quest is great. The visuals are fun, the soundtrack is pretty nifty and it just works superbly well when out and about. That’s not to say it doesn’t have a place in the home on the big screen either, because it does, especially when teamed up with a pro controller, but the combination of touchscreen, clever leveling up opportunities and enough new items, upgrades and ability amendments to keep you playing for a good while is where this title stands out.
If you think of yourself as someone who likes to play with words, or just wish to try and increase your vocabulary in a fun unobtrusive way whilst heading off on the daily grind, then ensure you have Letter Quest Remastered on your Switch. It’s utterly brilliant.
Massive thanks to: Digerati
Release date: November 2017
Formats: Nintendo Switch (Review), Xbox One, PS4, PC