Runespell: Overture (Mystic Box)
System: PC (Steam) Release Date: July 20th, 2011
(Suggested) ESRB rating: E10 for everyone 10 and up
Runespell: Overture opens to the sounds of snow rushing past your ears. A figure stands in the distance and just on the horizon raises a citadel. You are a changeling. A creature of legend and you have but one desire, to reach that distant citadel and regain your lost memories. Does this sound like a opening to an rpg? You’d be half right if you said yes. It is in fact the start to a rpg/poker/puzzle game of epic proportions.
Set in the year 1046 A.D. Runespell follows a newly awakened changeling who has been drawn to a citadel hidden deep in the English mountainside. Along the way he meets friends and foes that wish to help and prevent him from reaching this mysterious location. What sets Runespell apart is the well written storyline. Dramatic fantasy elements are woven in with historical facts to create a very believable setting where these legends and events may just have transpired. Each character is well fleshed out and likeable, even the enemies which can be both terrifying but at the same time comical in their attempts to stop you from reaching your goal.
Now onto the fun part, Runespell employs a unique system called Mythic Poker; which is the lovechild of Yatzee, poker, and a Puzzle Quest-esk Skill system. What comes out of this whirlwind of ideas is a solid, strategic and heart pounding battle system that this moogle has never encountered before. More often than not I’ve found myself on the edge of my seat as I wait for the next turn as my enemies try their best to knock down my health only to have a massive assault of flushes and 5-of-a-kinds wipe them from my sight. This combined with beautifully rendered 3D character models that spark and flourish and you’ve got something special. Balancing how you use your skills with your card combos is fun and not once have I felt that the battles are repetitive, a rarity in the puzzle genre as of late.
For fans of monster collecting Runespell has something for you too; how does over thirty unique monsters to find and collect, each with their own card sets and attack styles to use and master sound? You’ll spend a lot of time hunting down the right monsters to give you an edge to fight your battles. As mentioned above all of the monsters are fully animated and come into battle in a torrent of elemental rage. The same goes for your allies who can be recruited from both friends and foes. Seeing “The Bell Breaker” rush at your foes swinging his massive hammer is always a great experience and totally worth saving your energy to see happen again and again.
With future [free] content updates planned and a multiplayer game-type in the wings Runespell: Overture is shaping up to be one of the best hybrid-puzzlers of the year. An epic storyline and good solid game play for the price of a burger and fries at a certain fast food chain, there is little doubt this game is worth checking out and I don’t know why you wouldn’t Kupo?! (After all amnesia, friends, and puzzle solving are a few things it takes to be a hero!)
Addictive mythic poker battle system and a grand epic adventure accented by beautiful characters and animations bring to life one of the best puzzlers of the year.
I rate Runespell: Overture 5/5 Kupo!