Letter Quest Remastered from Bacon Bandit Games is a turn-based RPG that took me by surprise. From Bacon Bandit Games, Letter Quest Remastered is an improvement upon their previous endeavor with the main character, Grimm. I haven’t played Letter Quest: Grimm’s Journey, and I am not reviewing that title, so this review is based upon my cold approach of Remastered. Using “words as your weapon”, this new eShop title admittedly looked like it just used the vehicle of making words to cause your reaper to attack like some glorified high score. However, that could not be further from the truth. Letter Quest Remastered stands strong as an lighthearted and accessible role playing game with enough depth to accommodate different play styles, that uses spelling as an addictive hook to keep you progressing through the game.
Let me get the first thing out of the way and assure those apprehensive of a game about creating words that it is an essential aspect of gameplay that adds to the game in unique ways. For those excited for word games, let me stoke your excitement further by telling you that Letter Quest Remastered will reward you for your expansive lexicon. No matter your take on spelling words as entertainment, you will find that you learn some new words along the way as you attempt to use specific letters on the grid. To those that enjoy a role playing game that is easy to pick up and play while still providing depth, read on.
Your main character is a cute little grim reaper named Grimm. He employs spelled words from a grid of assorted letters as a means to dole out attacks, and the bigger the word the more damage is done. Also similar to Scrabble, is that certain letters are worth more than others. I hadn’t thought much until recently how I don’t often use the letter J much in writing until I’ve been stuck with it in Letter Quest. Now here’s where some extra layers get added to the game. Achievements can be earned throughout the game that provide you with extra gems. These achievements are tasks that reward you for doing certain things in the game, and you’ll find yourself using every letter in a column of the grid, for example, to nab yourself some more gems to spend. Giving gems to different vendors is what you will find yourself doing often. You will always have something to spend your hard-earned gems on, with something else to make your purchase that much more of a consideration. How you choose to progress your character depends not just on your play style but how you spell. Do I choose to buy a spell book that rewards me an attack bonus for spelling words with double letters, or do I improve my armor to lessen the damage received from the monsters I face? The options continue to broaden, and they will vie for your gems as you advance your character. This is why you will appreciate that you have three profiles to start from when playing the game. That said, you are able to crank it up by choosing between normal and expert difficulties in each profile.
The default audio is fun to hear as you are flexing your brain muscles and slaying baddies. For those that want to listen to the original soundtrack, it is also available. I prefer the new music, but both are good and appropriate for journeying. The bright visuals match the audio well, with the animation of characters bobbing like RPG characters should do when waiting for a command. The various enemies all look crisp and convey the humor found throughout the game.
On paper, Letter Quest wouldn’t sound nearly as lighthearted as it is to actually play. I mean, you are playing a reaper using your choice of scythe to take out monsters and ghosts by spelling words. But then you play it, and realize you are fighting enemies like a giant duster-wielding rabbit named Dust Bunny. You are choosing how to improve your character so you can return to that level you had a problem with before, because you know if you buff a certain aspect of your stats you will do better. You will have to contend with tiles afflicted with stone, poison, and other detriments until you use a purify potion to remove the bad tiles from the board – if you have one on you. You might have used the last of your gems to upgrade your scythe. You might stop midway through a stage where you are presented with a puzzle to gain assistance if you can complete a word, similar to Wheel of Fortune. As you move along the map, you gain stars that allow you to move further along your path. Each start has four different ways to play. Play through the first star and then try the second star to beat the time trial. Try the special challenge star and face challenges like banned letters, words over five letters not dealing damage, and so on. And attempt to beat the fourth star of each stage, the crystal star, to unlock that star type. These are “ultra tough”, featuring monsters of elite strength and special conditions.
Letter Quest Remastered features touch screen capabilities in handheld mode, a built-in dictionary of over 192,000 words, 40 stages each with the four aforementioned ways to play, and 70 challenges to collect extra gems. There’s also an endless mode if you don’t want to continue with the story. Though I wasn’t particularly tied to the story, told in comic scenes you can revisit, I was compelled to continue playing it because of the ownership I felt in my advancement. And maybe I’m just a word nerd, but I truly enjoy discovering a new word by accident and reading the definition as I play. There’s plenty to keep players of all ages entertained, with elements of a puzzle and RPG genres blended together to keep players entertained.
If I had any gripe about the game it would be what is becoming a particularly snobbish thing among Switch players, and that is the game icon. The icon for Letter Quest Remastered features characters Grimm and Rose in a fun pose, but I would like to see the title added to the top. It’s something that could be done easily in an update along with anything else planned, as some developers of other games have either done or are planning to do when their otherwise stellar game features a basic icon that could use a bit more polish reflective of the game.
Letter Quest Remastered is fantastic and tough to put down because you want to improve your character and advance through the game, and you feel good about doing this because you earned that progress with your choices in vocabulary and strategy. There’s times I would have shaken my fist at ghosts for interfering with my letter grid, but didn’t let go of the joy cons because I soon felt smug after finding a word that would deal significant damage and provide vengeance. Pick up Letter Quest Remastered if you enjoy word games in the slightest and especially if you also enjoy RPG and puzzle elements, because you will be rewarded with a quest game about making words that is much more than the sum of its letters.