Review: Letter Quest: Grimm's Journey Remastered

Last weekend saw me getting an email with our very first review code for my small little blog, thanks to the guys at Bacon Bandit Games and their brand new Xbox One release, Letter Quest: Grimm's Journey Remastered. Costing just £7.99 here in the UK, Letter Quest: Grimm's Journey Remastered sees you go on a turn-based RPG adventure in which you use the power of words to take down the opponents standing in your way. I think it's a fair comment to say the game hasn't really seen many bells and whistles going off to shout about its release to let know gamers know it's available right now. Judging on past experiences though I have learned that sometimes you can find a gem of a game when willing to take a look at something many overlook.

Letter Quest: Grimm's Journey Remastered only saw me having to playing through two modes to write up this short review for it.  But for a game with just two modes, however, it also has a ton of things that need to be brought to your attention to fully understand what looks on the outside just a simple word game.

Playing the role of Grimm (You can also unlock another character called Rose by collecting 30 stars in the game) your quest is to face off against opponents in 40 stages of turn-based RPG style word play, with each level offering you four ways to play them overall if you want to gain all four stars on each level. You unlock the first star just by beating the level and monsters found on it, which in turn will then unlock a further three ways of playing that level. Star two is gained via a time trial mode in which you have a set time to finish the level. Star three is a special challenge mode with things such as words with only a set amount of letters and such doing damage to your enemies. Finally wrapping things up with star four which is called Crystal Star (ultra tough) where all enemies are elite (much harder), as well as having certain conditions to them if you wish to defeat them. Sadly all the level layouts no matter what way you play are the same, so whatever monster you faced in the basic playthrough of that level will also be the same ones you face in the other three modes

While the mode is called "Story mode" however, I've got to be honest and say I really stopped caring about any such attempt at one once the game got going. Sure Grimm and Rose are cool characters to look at visually, but a story to me is something that has a start a middle and an end, and this mode only has a few short still images which the game calls comics popping up now every now and then with something to do with a pizza. Because of the lack of a decent story the letters easily become the star of the show in the whole game, and boy do they have a lot to them.

With you main attack being that of making up words from the bunch of letters found at the bottom of the screen, it would be easy to think that you will fly through the 40 levels quite easily. Well guess what, things aren't that easy. Not only do you have to defeat these opponents by making up words with the word tiles available, but the same tiles also have a habit of making things a little easier or tougher the deeper you get into the game. .

The game has five good coloured tiles (power crystals as the game likes to call them) that will be given to you every now and then, which when using will give you one of the below power-up/bonuses when using it in a word that you make. I'm a nice guy so have included a full list below to let you know of all good and bad bonuses. This list may also come in use if you buy the game too, as for me at least both bad and good effects were not really that well explained that well in the game, so I constantly found myself having to pause the game on numerous occasions when they did pop up just to remind myself what each good and bad power did.
First up the good.

Sapphire: Shield bonus for three turns
Citrine: Restores 15% health
Ruby: Increased damage for three turns
Amethyst: Stealth for five turns
Diamond: Gives you all of the above at once, with each turn based power up being now limited to three

Now the bad tiles, or at least the ones I've come across so far playing the game. These tiles are also turn limited, by which I mean you can choose to ignore them (you crazy person) as they go away themselves anywhere between three to five turns. Certainly with ones like plague and duplicator I would say use them up as soon as you can because if you don't things will only get harder for you.

Poison: 5% off your health
Plague: No damage points added to your word when using this tile, also spreads to surround words upon each turn
Spike: 20% damage to you.
Cracked: Adds no damage to your word
Stone: Tile can not be used
Duplicator: Letter that spreads to surrounding letters the longer you leave it
Flipped: More an annoyance this one, as the letter is simply flipped backwards and upside down.
Whirlwind: Letter changes to another letter every turn (can be also classed as a good tile because of this I guess

Now we have got tiles out the way, the final thing to talk about in story mode would be how you earn gems as well as unlockables the more you play the game. Gems being the easy bit to type about, as you get these by beating opponents as well smashing up gem piles found at the end of almost every level. You can spend these gems in the store by a press of the Y button on a ton of unlockables such as increased health, armour, new weapons, books that give you some sort of increased ability (be that increased damage on attacks and so on). I did find myself here replaying easier levels over and over to gain gems so I could tackle the harder later levels, so just to warn you that some replaying of older levels may be needed at times if you are in need of a health potion or two.

Now with story mode out the way I can just briefly touch upon the second mode the game has, that being Endless mode. Offering the same kind of experience as above only in a one-time play setting, endless mode comes across as being a mix of all the modes mentioned above as you face off against harder to defeat opponents until death ends it all. The only way to survive is to beat the monsters in front of you and use the coins they drop wisely on the merchants selling health and bonuses to you at random points. A good mode if you fancy a challenge, but story mode is where I sunk most of my time.

Overall:  Letter Quest: Grimm's Journey Remastered is a game I've found myself getting pretty addicted to the longer time has gone on. Everytime I've turned on my Xbox One to play something since the game was installed, I've found myself 5 minutes later either playing this or watching the kids playing the game with us shouting words at each other. The fact that with a press of LT button the word is also explained was also a great feature for when the kids typed a word up by accident, so them learning while also enjoying themselves is always a plus in my eyes.

+ Great way of teaching kids the meaning of words and also new words
+ Great time killer

- Some names and countries work while others don't
- Can be a bit of a grind if you get stuck on a level