The ideas are there for a mix of combat and puzzle-solving, but the clumsy controls make it stumble a bit
Given the popularity of the Harry Potter franchise and the variability of your typical roguelike title, a marriage of those elements seems overdue. Spells & Secrets has some ambition, setting out to establish you as a new student in a school of magic where there’s some nefarious stuff afoot, and you’ll need to try to quickly grow into your power as you acquire spells, solve puzzles, and take on what are frequently a bit lame enemies. The main problem? The controls for manipulating objects and engaging in combat aren’t very polished and generally feel clumsy. Perhaps this is tied to my expectations from playing so many twin-stick shooters, but while I was able to get acclimated to the controls and make them work it felt like more effort than it should have been. In addition, the general construction of the procedurally-generated areas you’ll move through didn’t feel as smooth, with it sometimes being unclear where you’re supposed to go and everything beginning to look roughly the same pretty quickly. The ability to play with others is a plus though, and for people looking for that spellcasting experience there are absolutely worse options out there.
Justin Nation, Score: