The game we are talking about today is Spellcaster University, an indie video game by Sneaky Yak Studio. A few words to immediately understand what awaits us in this game: an irreverent humor set in a fictional school of fantasy magic where all the decisions we make will play a decisive role in optimizing resources.
On their website the developers define themselves like this: a young and independent studio that creates games without passion and trying to maximize profit in the short term and… No, none of this! We are a studio that draws passion from role playing and board games, where all decisions made have relevance.
And now let’s get right to the heart of Spellcaster University!
Here is our Spellcaster University review
In Spellcaster University (available on Steam) we will become the Dean of a magical university in a fantasy world. We will build our school, we will manage the resources and we will have to recruit teachers too! Will we transform the institute into a school of black magic, a place in harmony with nature or a school to train wizards ready for adventure?
– Sneaky Yak Studio (@SneakyYakStudio) June 15, 2021
Within Spellcaster University we will be the Headmaster of a school of magic made up of several houses. We can decide that our students specialize in the study of details magical disciplines, for example that of light, embrace demonology, deal with alchemy or natural magic.
Our students, assisted by the professors or by the evil janitors (who are part of dark magic, because only those who know the darkness can remove the horrible dirt of the castle!), will have to study all the magical knowledge, specializing and obtaining at the end of the course of study a real diploma that will define his future profession. Village Wizards, Adventurers, Karmic Healers or, if not applied correctly, simply villagers will come out of our school!
The setting reveals a feeling of magic that many will recognize: starting from the structure of our school we will notice many similarities with a certain very famous castle that we have come to know (Hogwarts coff coff). The allusions are really many, starting from the houses in which we will sort our students, and beyond. In short, the easter eggs are wasted!
It all starts on an empty board, where we will draw fish Cards (based on our “mana”) which will allow us to build different rooms. Proceeding in the game we can add rooms of different types (the Astronomical Observatory, the Prisons, the Refectory, etc.) and every construction we make will have repercussions on the mana we will generate and consequently on how much our institute will specialize in a particular school of magic. The system closely resembles that of others management video games very popular, even if a peculiarity of Spellcaster University is the randomness of the catches.
Anyone who knows games like The Sims will find themselves at home, indeed … at school! At Spellcaster University, the needs of our students and professors are marked with special reports bars, which will fill up if we don’t look after them. Students must study, this is true, but also rest, eat and have fun, or they will gradually abandon the castle!
Important are the events that we will have to face and the relationships with the factions that are around the school. So, we will not only have to think about our castle but also about the monastery of the inquisitors, the local king and the guild of adventurers who will be able to propose missions to us or present us with their problems, such as a die-off of cows that we can stop or declare as a consequence in our studies. necromantics.
Every decision we make will have consequences on our balance sheet or on our relations with that particular faction, with bonuses and penalties that will be activated if we know how to consolidate our alliance or if we let hatred flow between the parties. Some factions will offer us dangerous exploration missions in which we will have to enter real ones dungeon!
Within Spellcaster University there is also a part of “combat”, Although the quotation marks are required. Once we have accepted an exploration mission, a particular place on the map will be activated, a dungeon in which we will find ourselves lining up four of our students in search of treasures. The mechanics of combat are very simple: we will look at the spells that our students know, such as fireballs, healing or enhancement spells, and we will decide how to proceed through textual lines. The execution of the fight will take place automatically, but we can try to escape if the outcome is not in our favor … better to flee in shame than to lose four young wizards, don’t you think?
What permeates Spellcaster University, apart from the magical atmosphere, is his humor: We’ll be dealing with skeletons trying to make friends, orcs wanting to eat treats, and disastrous students setting fire to our precious rooms. Between puns is embarrassing situations, the game will often get us a laugh, thanks also to the graphic animations. Even the objects that we can put in our castle contribute to this humor: we can in fact add a tentacle of a great ancient, have a dragon for the rooms of the school, and much more!
Despite this humor, the statistics in Spellcaster University are always present, they track the evolution of our school’s progress and allow us to approach the game with an unexpected depth: every game choice we make will have repercussions in the short or long term, of the consequences that sooner or later we will have to face. There is only one choice that we can delay but not avoid, namely the arrival of the Great Evil, the baddest villain who will fill a progressive bar that once filled will force us to flee the place where we built our castle, to start over. However, our progress will allow us to have specific bonuses (and penalties) in the next location, ready to create new houses and new rooms.
In conclusion, Spellcaster University is a game that at first glance seems simple, but which has particular and original mechanics that make it dynamic and fun. The feeling, unfortunately, is that the game wants to put too much meat on the fire, inserting sometimes unnecessary statistics or events that are chaotic compared to the initial premise. Spellcaster University is still very enjoyable: we could finally run our own school of witchcraft and wizardry in a very successful humorous fantasy setting!
In Spellcaster University we will become the Dean of a school of magic in a fantasy world! We will be able to build our school, manage its resources and we will have to recruit teachers too! It is an indie video game that at first glance seems simple, but which has particular and original mechanics that make it dynamic, fun and full of pop citations. Will we transform the institute into a school of black magic, a place in harmony with nature or a school to train wizards ready for adventure?
Game with irreverent humor and full of pop quotes that transports us to a universe … magical!
Mix of too many game mechanics