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Letter Quest: Grimm’s Journey [Remastered]

A word game meets a fantasy RPG.

Developer: Bacon Bandit Games

Publisher: Digerati Distribution

Release Date (of the first version): 21 November 2014

Platforms (of the Remastered version): PC, PS4, XBOX ONE, PS Vita

Reviewed On: PC

Length: 35+ hours

I am not a native speaker of the Shakespeare’s language and you may feel that. I needed to learn not only the vocabulary or how to spell particular words but also, above all, how to think in a foreign language. Back in the days, my teacher’s approach was just perfect – using games. One of those was Scrabble, and I fell in love with it. Years have passed, and my gamer’s side started to dream about a blend of a word game with an RPG. Eventually, my wishes came true. Bacon Bandit Games created ‘Letter Quest: Grimm’s Journey’.

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It starts from hunger

The game’s protagonists are grim reapers named Grimm and Rose. The story in the background is awfully simple. Grimm is hungry and he wants pizza. In order to get it, before becoming hangry, he (but you can choose to play as Rose) embarks on a journey to the nearest place which can satisfy the craving. The path leading to food is long and dangerous. Each of its stages is guarded by a monster (sometimes there’s more than one) which can be defeated with wit, speed and strategy.

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Words and Scythes

Letter Quest’s mechanic is as simple as its story. The action is turn-based: you attack monsters by spelling words and they respond to your scythe strikes with claws, bites and influencing the pool of available letters. Their tricks include poison, plague, stone, whirlwind, and other manipulations which force you to adapt and change the approach accordingly. Luckily, you have your own ways on how to handle yourself. The grim reaper’s weapon is upgradeable and has a few versions; there are skills, represented by books, which you can purchase and which will help you during fights; finally, you can buy magical potions – one for healing yourself and one for clearing letter tiles from any curses.

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Path of a Reaper

Between you and the pizza are 40 stages, some of which are optional. Each has four unique ways of beating it: the basic one, a time trial, a special challenge and ‘an ultra-tough, crystal star’. Interestingly enough, for me, the latter has proven to be, more often than not, easier than the race against time. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed how balanced and properly engaging are all the fights. Most importantly, they are not repetitive as much as one might think, and it is due to monsters’ powers or special conditions (banned letters, minimum or maximum number of letters to be used, etc.) assigned to particular levels which difficulty grows with progress and getting closer to the pizza.

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Two Faces

Letter Quest has two editions: regular and Remastered. I played both but it is the newest, polished one which is going to get my final recommendation. It is so because of its improved technical side, bigger dictionary, general ‘more of everything’, and the Endless Mode. That last element is in my eyes the highlight of the game as it puts aside pretending to tell any kind of a story and just lets you enjoy the word-spelling, scythe-swinging, intellectual monster-mashing experience. Both faces look very similar at the first glimpse but I really started to appreciate characters animations and other graphical and sound elements added in the Remastered edition. The whole thing is just made to be played by anyone, of any age and any nationality, just take a look at the screenshots. It is nicely designed and very user-friendly.

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Final… words?

Getting pizza should take you about 4 to 6 hours. Mastering the game, by completing all the quests, gathering every crystal and unlocking achievements, that’s fun for much, much longer, not to mention the Endless Mode. With both versions of Grimm’s Journey, I have spent more than 60 hours. When I am writing these words, the Remastered one costs 7,99 Euro, I’d say it’ll be money well invested. It is totally worth it!

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Pros:

+ mechanics

+ audio/video

+ good for the whole family

+ educational value

Cons:

– simplified story

Educator’s Hint:

It is a very good tool for any kind of an English class which can engage students of any age. Putting the game on a big screen and playing it is a group can be a lot of fun and one of the possible uses. Yet another one might be to create a Project Based workshop around word games – for the students to create their own mechanism and/or story (Letter Quest would here serve as an inspiration and an example) for later on to be played by their peers.

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