What is it?
In SpellCraft School of Magic for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, the teachers have been taken prisoner and it’s up to the students (you) to go rescue them. The graphics are well done and the artwork is well designed with an impressive level of detail. The environment is fairly rich even for the small screen of an iPod Touch.
How does it work?
The gameplay is turn-based and reminiscent of a Dungeons and Dragons or Magic: the Gathering set up. As you go on your dungeon crawl, you can turn over a card to encounter an enemy or collect a treasure. Cast your spells to destroy the monsters in the dungeon.
This is a two step process: first you need to select a spell from what is available in your “spell book.” Once the spell is selected, you need to tap your hand/wand and hold your finger down until the spell is ready to launch. Once you select your spell (represented by a “card” in your spell book), a small ball of light will travel up and down the length of your wand. To get the best effect of the spell, tap the wand when the ball of light is at the tip of the wand. Hold it there until the ball of light is as big as it can get and lift your finger to fire. Be very careful with this step, as there is a short window where the spell increases in potency (about 2 seconds); if you hold it too long, the spell will fizzle and do almost nothing.
There is much more, however, than just waiving your wand at monsters. You can collect plants and tend them in the greenhouse. You will need these as ingredients for spells. The spell library area is where you can use the plants you have grown or purchased to brew spells. These get filed in your spell book as selectable cards. Remember, if your brew yields five copies of a spell, you can only cast that spell five times in the dungeon. When you run out of spells, you need to brew more.
Another handy area is the Dormitory where you can equip (wear) any gear you find in the dungeon. You can also buy new robes, sell items, or change your character’s appearance. The dormitory will also allow you access to some in-app purchases like gold or gems. These are the currency of the game; some things will require gold and others will require gems, so it helps to have some of both available.
Additionally, there is a bestiary for your animal familiars (available at higher levels), an area for “social” interaction, and a “dueling” arena for going head to head with another wizard.
Is it contagious?
SpellCraft School of Magic has a pleasant level of detail and variety in the game play. There are plenty of types of activities in which to engage without having too much stuff or too many rules going on that make it hard to remember everything. This keeps the game challenging and fun.
Coupled with the artwork and classic dungeon crawl, it has great appeal for the old school RPG gamers along with the new digital age set that has only known portable electronics as a game platform. If you’re having fun along the way, I suppose it’s okay to rescue your teachers (maybe they’ll take it easy on you at exams time…)