NOTE: This article was updated on 11/28/2017 to reflect our thoughts on the Nintendo Switch Version.
Letter Quest Remastered is Bacon Bandit’s revamped version of their mobile game Letter Quest: Grimm’s Journey. Blending RPG elements and word crafting, Letter Quest brings an enjoyable casual experience to the Xbox One that requires players to think. If you are a fan of word games, Letter Quest is a no-brainer. It goes beyond just the word genre and expands into a fun adventure that offers a lot of replayability. With multiple modes, a bunch of upgrades, and unpredictable outcomes, Letter Quest is not short on offerings, even if it is presented in a small package.
The gameplay is simple and effectively translates on Xbox One. Using a grid of letters, you can pick and choose as you please to make valid words with varied power. It isn’t like Boggle, where you have to chain adjacent letters. This makes it easier to play on the RPG styled battles. With similarities to both Puzzle Quest and 10000000, Letter Quest makes battling monsters interesting in a variety of ways. For one, your range of letters have three different strength tiers, with harder to work with letters like X and Z having higher power while vowels all have lower power. You will also get some crystal tiles that award you with a variety of perks after using them. Your enemies also have some skills to set you back, like creating negative effect tiles such as poison or spike. Some of these are more detrimental, and can hold you back over the duration of their turn counter, while others (like one that sets your letters upside down) are kind of pointless. Bosses even have special restrictions that will either work for you or against you.
The story mode follows the titular hero Grimm on his journey to get some pizza. On what should have been a simple trip to a restaurant, a variety of monsters and ghouls try to stop little ol’ death himself for seemingly no good reason. He just wanted to fill his boney mass with some cheesy goodness. The story is told in short comics, skipping the fluff and fashion that would be otherwise unnecessary in a game of this kind. The comics are cute and have humor but again the game does not really need them so they are a welcomed sight. Across 30 different base levels, players can craft words to thwart those pesky creatures, some of which include the previously mentioned bosses. Beating these levels will grant players one of three stars, which are different variants of a level as opposed to a ranking. I much prefer this as opposed to a ranking system considering its mobile game history, because it gives the title a certain finesse you may not find otherwise in some mobile to console ports.
Along the way you’ll save friends, earn upgrades, and maybe muster up the strength to attempt to win a Crystal Star, which is the award for beating a level’s hardest variant. These levels require players to strategize, whether it be with equipment or upgrades. There are different items you can equip like books and scythes, which offer various boosts. One of my favorite books added damage to words with double letters, so words like “books” or “letters” would get boosts! The scythes are cool too because they let you add a little flair to your character in addition to getting some positive perks. The graphics fit the title perfectly, with colorful cartoon animations that shine. There are a whopping two soundtracks on the game, one from the original and an all new one. It is nice to have such a variety, but some of the tracks do admittedly grow tiresome.
After earning 88 of the games base stars and 14 of the crystal stars, I am still all the more eager to finish the game 100%. It’s great, casual fun that requires the player to actually think and is a title that many will see themselves grow better at over time. Though some things like enemy diversity and tile variation could have been cleaned up a bit more, I truly wouldn’t change a thing. Letter Quest Remastered has humor and heart, all wrapped into a passion project. With an endless mode attached to the rerelease, I’ll be sure to play it again and again when looking to challenge myself in short bursts. Letter Quest is bound to please any wordsmiths out there, and even those looking for an excellent casual game.
VITA VERSION NOTES: On the Playstation Vita, you can expect the same great game and experience that you would find else where. This time it is back to its portable roots, fit with touchscreen controls. The only downfall here is that there is no option to use the D-Pad or the analog sticks for letter selection, meaning you have to use the touch screen. This sometime makes it awkward for longer play session when it can be uncomfortable. Other than that, it is a great addition to the Vita's library!
Nintendo Switch Notes:
Ahhh I am once again visited by that familiar title screen jingle. Letter Quest is now on Switch, bringing yet another great port to Nintendo’s current flagship device. Letter Quest Remastered is an excellent word building game from Bacon Bandits, and now on Switch, this is the third platform I have tried it out on. I do this without hesitation too, as it is honestly one of the most memorable games I have reviewed. As a game that started on the go, it makes a lot of sense on the Switch. Everything good about it on the Xbox One version is present here. A charming, witty adventure with challenges and upgrades to keep you working out your brain. The shortcomings of the Vita version, specifically the noticeably darker colors, are not an issue on the Switch in handheld mode as Letter Quest Remastered look and runs amazing. Only issue on the Switch I have is this versions responsiveness, specifically when using the Joycons. I tend to move pretty quickly when building words, which makes this a huge issue on my end, as the A button is very finicky in this situation, sometimes requiring several presses before the input is recognized. I switched to a Pro Controller which almost fully remedied my issues, but for whatever reason did not allow me to use the analog stick. I have reached out to both Bacon Bandits and Digerati and if the issue is fixed I will update this section accordingly. But otherwise, if these issues get addressed, it is a fantastic port. The touch screen controls work well, it’s the same great game as it has been, and it looks fantastic in handheld mode. Once a patch comes through, it will be another great port on the Switch, one worth picking up if you haven’t yet already.
*Note: A copy of the game was provided for the purposes of the review.
Final Score: 8/10
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