Letter Quest Remastered (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Shane Jury 19.05.2018

Review for Letter Quest Remastered on Nintendo Switch

Although spelling and creating words is a common part of everyday life, within the world of videogames it is a much rarer concept to base one around that. Sometimes this is an inventive idea, like bringing verbs and nouns to life in the Scribblenauts games, and they can gain acclaim, or a spin-off to a popular franchise like SEGA's House of the Dead may appear and would involve spelling words to gun down zombies on a keyboard. Released originally on mobile in 2014 by the two-man team at Bacon Bandit Games, Letter Quest: Grim's Journey would arrive on PC later the same year, and two years later on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One as a Remastered Edition. Now, much like a large number of independently developed games, Letter Quest Remastered has also graced Nintendo's Switch console. Do these letters add up to a significant description, or become little more than filler characters?

The main Story mode of Letter Quest Remastered follows Grimm, a young reaper that gets a sudden hankering for pizza, and from looking up the nearest seller realises he has to traverse some dangerous landscapes to get there. This is told in very brief comic-like story panels, as is progression in the story. As a plot device this is relatively simple but it does the job of setting out the madcap nature of the game. Visually, this is very clean and colourful with charming animations, and although the number of different soundtracks is somewhat limited, they serve perfectly as background fodder.

Screenshot for Letter Quest Remastered on Nintendo Switch

Story levels are laid out in a Mario-esque 2D overworld map with each connected in number order. Clearing one will reveal the next that can be progressed onto instantly, and each level has multiple Star challenges, ranging from simple completion, to a Time Trial and a harder version of the stage. A typical level consists of one or more enemies to overcome before reaching the target Crystal hoard, although there are plenty of curveballs thrown in to keep things fresh, such as treasure chests that have a limited number of tries to open, an old man that can sell mid-level stat boosters, and even boss enemies.

Scrabble fans will be right at home with how gameplay progression works in Letter Quest Remastered, as it has virtually the same concept. From a randomised grid of letter tiles, a turn-based battle system ensues, and making a word of any number of these letters is essential to attacking a foe. Generally, the longer the word, the more damage it does, although there are plenty of gimmicks introduced as the game progresses that can affect this rule. Certain letters, like Q or X, yield even better results when used, mostly because of their scarcity in common spelling. Due to being given as much time as needed to form a word per turn, this attacking system is a lot of fun and very satisfying to pull off a large character chain, and due to the dictionary definition of the noun or verb displayed on the left of the screen afterwards, a surprisingly efficient learning tool, as well. That being said, the word pool utilised isn't well adapted to common British terms and slang, so the required adjustment can be jarring at first for some English speakers.

Screenshot for Letter Quest Remastered on Nintendo Switch

Beating enemies and completing levels rewards gem currency, and the Store feature on the main menu is where they can be spent. The main scythe weapon that can be changed and upgraded, purchasable special books that bestow effects when equipped and can gain experience points in battle, damage modifiers, and critical hit chances - there are many options for investment that can greatly affect the tide of fights. The rising cost of each upgradable asset does bring to attention the obligatory grinding needed at certain points, however, and this is where Letter Quest Remastered begins to show cracks in its formula. Although the basic premise of wordplay in the game is very enjoyable, there will likely be a constant stream of level replays in order to boost currency numbers and overcome occasional difficulty spikes. Early levels can be cleared in no time with later stat boosts in effect so the grinding isn't too annoying, but it does slow progression down considerably.

Screenshot for Letter Quest Remastered on Nintendo Switch

While Letter Quest Remastered is very much a single-player title, there are a lot of options for a solo runner to enjoy. Aside from the aforementioned Story that can also be played in an even more difficult Expert setting, there is Endless mode that is basically one long survival stage with a constant stream of enemies and the occasional store clerk to refill health and potion supplies. Stats and Achievements are also prevalent on the main menu; the former keeping track of all variable statistics in the game, and the latter rewarding players who reach certain milestones with in-game currency. Even if Letter Quest Remastered could be considered a one-trick-pony in how linear and glued to its core concept it is, said concept is still so notably enjoyable that both its repetition and lack of aesthetic variety become far less evident.

Screenshot for Letter Quest Remastered on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

As bizarre as the idea of Grim Reapers, turn-based battles and Scrabble-like wordplay all together sounds, Letter Quest Remastered really makes it work, and enjoyably so. The harsh difficulty hikes in later story missions can be jarring for the wallet-grinding they then necessitate, and there isn't a great deal of diversity in enemy design and environment, but once the addictive nature of word building gets its hooks in, prying them off isn't easy.

Developer

Bacon Bandit Games

Publisher

Digerati Distribution

Genre

Puzzle

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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