The Last Spell
The Last Spell is a rogue-lite tactical RPG developed by Ishtar Games (formerly known as CCCP) and published by The Arcade Crew. Set in a dark fantasy, post-apocalyptic world, the player controls a group of hardened warriors who defend the last bastion of humankind against hordes of bloodthirsty monsters. Careful management of scarce resources is required to ensure that the characters survive long enough to cast The Last Spell and banish all magic from earth.
The Last Spell
The Last Spell is a fast-paced, turn-based strategy game in which the player's hero characters slay hundreds of attacking enemies while protecting their base, the last Haven of earth. Characters, items and enemy waves are procedurally generated, making each battle unique, while collecting Magic Essence and achieving feats unlock bonuses for future .
In retribution for the magical destruction, most mages are exiled or killed, but some are spared. Under The Commander's watch, those spared mages discover a spell that could banish all magic from the world, thereby ending the purple mist and stopping the undead hordes. However, the mages need time to channel enough energy to cast the spell, so they need The Commander, along with a ragtag team of heroes, to protect the mages, at any cost, until the last spell is cast.
Players must initially complete a tutorial in which they defend the town of Swampfurt; however, after the tutorial, players use a world map to select which town they want to defend (e.g., Gildenberg, Lakeburg, Glenwald, Elderlitch). Each town has a unique map consisting of a two-dimensional, isometric battlefield with a magic circle at the center. The player must protect the magic circle from the attacking horde of undead, otherwise the player loses. When selecting a town map, the player can choose a limited number of Omens to modify their play experience on that map. Omens are positive buffs, such as giving all heroes one additional movement point or increasing each hero's damage, and last the full length of that map.
During a night phase, the player enters into a turn-based battle alternating between the player's turn and the undead horde's turn. During the player's turn, the player uses their heroes to move or take actions. Heroes move on a battlefield composed of square tiles. Actions include using physical, range, or magical attacks; casting spells; using defensive actions such as temporarily gaining armor points; or using equipped items such as potions. Unlike in a character class system, a hero's available actions are determined by their equipment, and each type of weapon and armor provides the hero with numerous unique actions, making it possible to highly customize a hero for a multitude of battle roles. After the player ends their turn, the entire undead horde then moves some squares toward the magic circle and attacks anything in range, potentially dealing damage to heroes, buildings, defensive walls, or the magic circle. The player then gets another turn, and this back-and-forth between player and undead horde continues until either the player successfully destroys all enemies or the magic circle is destroyed. If the player destroys all enemies, the night phase ends and the player goes into the next day phase, earning themselves some gold and items.
The best way to describe The Last Spell is a mystical black elephant that emits a dark aura that you as the commander must take bites out of with each wave, death and triumph until the elephant is devoured whole. I only hope that my last bite is as remarkable and succulent as the first.
So, as we all knew they would, wizards broke the world and now there's purple hell mist filled with monsters that come for us each night. To fix this, they're making the wizards do a spell that deletes magic from existence forever. Now you just have to keep them alive for the days of uninterrupted casting it'll take to pull it off.
That's the metal as hell setup for The Last Spell, a tactical RPG roguelite that has you in control of an all-too-small band of heroes whose job it is to defend a crumbling city and its mages against the onrushing hordes of mutants, demons, zombies, and demon zombie mutants. Every day you spend resources to build up the town and level up your heroes, while every night you fight off a horde of monsters to the last gasp. When you lose, well, you've earned upgrades for next time.
It's a pretty cool setup, where movement and positioning are just as important as damage, and squeezing all the potential you can out of every last action point is vital to survive. The characters you recruit, meanwhile, are very customizable. Skills are determined by weapon held, so there's not so much classes as specializations in different pieces of equipment backed up by stats. Finding good combos of weapon and role is part of the fun.
The Last Spell is yet another of the seemingly infinite firehose of tactical and strategy RPGs that indie gaming is blessing us with. There are so many SRPGs on PC that midway through last year I had to publish an article just gawking at them all (opens in new tab), and Jody did the same earlier this year with his list of strategy RPGs to look forward to in 2023 (opens in new tab). I think it's a real statement that there are so many coming that neither of our lists included The Last Spell.
Remember the last spell we cast? It was forbidden purple magic, cast by an Archmage at a neighboring town. So a king ordered his mages to use purple magic. This was considered a bad move because as soon as the use of purple magic stopped, a purple mist appeared. The people that survived the wonton purple destruction banded together to survive as, from the mist, hordes of monsters appeared every night. Right now, these people are looking for a new commander. Could it be you? Well, if you pick up The Last Spell, yes, it will be you.
As the protector of the last bastion of humanity, you fight against the zombie apocalypse. You get heroes to kill the zombies. The Zombies intend to kill the last humans. Your heros get magic and physical powers to win against the zombies.The Last Spell is special, due to the difficulty of the game. You have to protect the humans day and night while Zombies come from every corner trying to kill humans. Mana is quickly lost when using magical powers so it gets even harder.
With a nice pixel art graphics, the game is an interesting mix of a tower defense game with base building and an active gameplay typical of a tactical rpg. Set in a medieval fantasy universe, with humanity always at war the sudden cataclysm at the hands of the mages, has brought the last remaining humans together to fight against the monsters appearing from a purple myst. In all of this we take control of a group of heroes trying to defend a city to let the last surviving mages to finish their Last Spell, capable to banish those monsters and get rid of the magic from the world.
Set in a post-post apocalyptic scenario, the video game gives us a few valiant heroes attempting to defend the world's last remaining haven -- a tiny, ramshackle village besieged by an onslaught of what seems like the entire forces of hell.
Desperate to save what little remains, humanity's remnants have gathered at the world's last haven to cast a final spell that will erase all magic from the world, forever. But the mages must be protected for 12 days and nights as hordes of abominations swarm the town.
A desperate attempt to end decades-long conflict resulted in the apocalypse. A powerful spell cast by the mages caused near-complete destruction. From the purple mist that appeared in the aftermath came horrible monsters that left only death in their wake. There are very few safe places left, and each night the monsters come again. Now a handful of heroes must protect mages hoping to cast The Last Spell in a desperate attempt to rid the world of magic and bloodthirsty beasts.
The game is set in what was originally a Tolkien-esque High Fantasy world full of standard fantasy fare before a Well-Intentioned Extremist archmage discovered - and subsequently cast - a spell capable of devastation on an extreme scale, in the hopes of ending all war under threat of complete annihilation. What follows immediately after the initial test of the spell is nothing less than the near-total destruction of all life in the world, as various kingdoms use the discovery of such a powerful spell for their own ends.
Action Bomb: The Boomer's whole purpose is to run in and blow up, dealing significant damage to heroes and fortifications alike.
Action Girl: Any female hero that gets generated.
Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Helping the last remnants of the world survive against the undead and you really need that fancy, powerful weapon for the upcoming night? Better have money to pay for it, or else you're not getting it.
After-Combat Recovery: Every morning, your remaining heroes recover some health (if they can) and mana.
After the End: The game takes place in a fantasy setting where only 5% of the world's total population survived a magical nuclear war.
Airborne Mook: Winged undead fly everywhere, allowing them to bypass low obstacles and gaps in the terrain.
Always Accurate Attack: A few abilities (typically for bows) completely negate the target's dodge chance, meaning the attack is guaranteed to hit.
Amazon Brigade: A party of heroes comprised entirely of women will kick just as much ass as a party of men.
Anti-Frustration Features: There exists several options that the player can enable in the "Easy Mode" tab prior to starting a run that can take some pressure off of any attempt. Effects include an extra starting hero, extra materials/money, less enemies, etc.
Anyone Can Die: None of your heroes are immune to being overrun by the hordes of undead. Carelessness can readily result in a unit getting swarmed and unceremoniously killed off permanently (at least for that run).
Armor Piercing: Daggers have an ability that can entirely bypass enemy armor, no matter how thick. Considering how squishy most heavily armored units are, this can potentially clear a number of enemies from the board very quickly.
Apocalypse How: Starts off at a Class 2 at the beginning of the game and can potentially upgrade to a Class 4 in failed runs.
The Archmage: Heronymous Teller, the mage that started the entire thing by casting a spell he really shouldn't have.
Autosave: Of the "Ironman" style, where the game will save after every action save for moving, which can be undone as many times as you want as long as you don't take any other actions.
Awesome, but Impractical: The Meteor Ring trinket grants whoever has it equipped access to the Meteor spell, which is a powerful ranged ability that hits a massive (relative to other weapon abilities) radius around the impact point. It also requires a whopping 3 Action Points and 10 Mana to cast once, which means whoever is casting it is likely not doing anything else for the rest of the turn and just burned through a sizable chunk of their mana reserves.
Badass Cape: Some of the trinkets heroes can equip include some rather impressive-looking capes. It's just a shame they don't appear on the characters.
Banishing Ritual: Conducted by the world's remaining mages in the various havens across several days straight. Upon completion, the magic seals are broken, and the world's magic can be wiped completely.
Bilingual Bonus: The names of the two goddesses that provide the player with various boons to improve their chances of success in every future run are named Schaden and Freude. Schaden translates literally to "damage" or "harm", while Freude translates to "joy". Additionally, the concept of schadenfreude is finding amusement in another's misfortune.
Bittersweet Ending: Victory in one haven is simply a single step in achieving the goal of wiping magic from the world for good. Every haven has to break their magic seal for it to work. On top of that, once all magic is banished from the world, the fact remains that the world is still almost entirely devoid of life. In addition, achieving total victory in one timeline means you will simply get pulled out and tossed into another to save that one as well.
Black Comedy: Sometimes, the heroes will comment on their situation in rather grimly amusing ways.
Body Horror: All of the undead are visibly mutated humanoids that look almost eldritch next to the living or typical undead in other settings.
Bond One-Liner: For being the defenders of one of only a few remaining bastions of civilization, the heroes are surprisingly full of quips when killing any undead.
Boring, but Practical: The various hammers available in the game have a hard-hitting single-target basic attack.
Daggers likewise don't do anything fancy with their basic attack, but make up for a slight lack of damage with being able to attack a little more often per turn, Action Points allowing.
Shortbows have a basic attack that targets single units for decent damage, and entirely negates the target's dodge chance, allowing a hero equipped with one to reliably hit even the dodgiest of undead.
Wands have a basic attack that is just Magic Missile under another name. Ranged attack that deals decent damage, and does absolutely nothing else of note.
Bottomless Quivers: Arrow and bolt management for shortbows, longbows and crossbows is non-existent.
Bow and Sword in Accord: It's entirely possible to equip a hero with both a sword and a bow, and have them be effective at both.
Can't Kill You, Still Need You: The remaining mages, despite the majority of their peers having been hanged or executed in some other fashion, are absolutely essential to the plan of banishing all magic from the world. Their vitalness to the plan, however, does not stop everyone else from making it clear what they think.
Cast from Hit Points: Some heroes can acquire a perk that allows them to use MP-consuming abilities by instead sacrificing HP.
Chain Lightning: A powerful ability available with tomes and the occasional (consumable) scroll. Hits hard, and can chain up to at least 8 additional targets.
Character Customization: The player can edit almost everything about a hero's appearance, and can even save them for use in future runs (though only cosmetics, not abilities/perks/traits).
Crapsack World: A High Fantasy setting full of war that was eventually destroyed by magical nukes, whose remaining sapient beings have to deal with nightly undead sieges. The Last Spell's world is not a wonderful place to live in, even before the game starts.
Critical Existence Failure: Played with. Heroes can continue to fight even if they have only a single point of health remaining. Once they lose that point, however, they immediately drop dead.
That said, taking health damage and falling below certain thresholds will result in the "Wounded", followed by the "Badly Wounded" status effects, which apply debuffs to the wounded hero(es) until they heal enough HP to go back above those thresholds.
Critical Hit: A percentage chance on any attack to deal extra damage, which can be further modified by increasing a hero's critical hit damage percentage.
Damage Discrimination: Averted hard. If you aren't careful with those powerful area of effect attacks, you can accidentally kill your own heroes - or destroy your fortifications - with friendly fire.
Darkness Equals Death: All of the game's combat takes place in the dead of night, with the undead rising from the mist to siege settlements from sunset to sunrise.
Death World: Anywhere the mist has covered, effectively. The mist will kill anything living that walks into it, and the world map shows the landmass almost entirely covered by said mist.
Despair Event Horizon: The king whose family was killed in the initial testing of the Fantastic Nuke goes over the edge and orders his own mages to learn the spell so he can use it on other kingdoms in retribution.
Does Not Like Magic: Mages sit at the bottom of the totem pole after the destruction wrought by Heronymous Teller discovering that one spell.
Early Game Hell: Until you start unlocking upgrades for your heroes between runs, expect to lose far, far more often than you win.
Elves Versus Dwarves: Implied to be a rather standard occurrence during the intro sequence.
The End of the World as We Know It: The obvious result of numerous kingdoms slinging magical nukes everywhere. See Crapsack World above.
Failure Is the Only Option: Swampfurt, the tutorial haven, is doomed to be overrun no matter what. The lone mage trying to break the seal there can't channel the magical energy it requires, causing the magic circle to get destroyed no matter how well your heroes perform before that point.
Fantastic Nuke: A forbidden spell discovered just before the game starts turns out to be exceptionally powerful and destructive.
Fighter, Mage, Thief: The three heroes you start with in every run will each be focused to one of the three archetypes.
From Bad to Worse: A mage discovering how to cast a magical nuke was already bad enough, but the initial test of the spell accidentally killed a king's entire family. The king then had his mages learn the spell and use it against his enemies. Several steps down the line, the world is almost completely dead, and all that wild magic is now reviving the millions who died, forcing the survivors to fight every single night just to live one more day.
Glass Cannon: You can build heroes to be like this, buffing attack power at the expense of letting their health pool stagnate. There is even a perk heroes can take that chops off a significant portion of their HP in exchange for a big boost to critical hit chance.
Gone Horribly Right: Heronymous Teller wanted to stop all wars for good with his research. He certainly got that wish in the worst way possible.
Great Offscreen War: We never see the total annihilation war happen outside of the intro's snippets, nor the wars before that war, but it's thanks to all of those that the game's story is happening in the first place.
Hammerspace: Averted. The heroes can only carry what they wear, two sets of weapons, and a set of potions/consumables. Depending on traits, some heroes can't even equip all of that!
Heal Thyself: Heroes carrying a health potion can chug it to instantly restore a portion of their lost health.
Hold the Line: Your only objective in any given run is to defend the magic circle at the center of every haven from undead attacks at all costs. Nothing else matters, even if the entire haven is otherwise destroyed.
Hot-Blooded: Numerous lines said by the heroes during battle are very bombastic.
Improbable Aiming Skills: Anyone wielding a shortbow will get a basic attack that never misses. It may not hit all too hard, but it's one of the only attacks that entirely negates an enemy's dodge chance.
Jack-of-All-Trades: Some heroes can generate with traits that grant them a small boost to all damage types.
The Last Title
Large Ham: The heroes are often quite fond of shouting at the top of their lungs, both in triumph and sheer horror.
Luck-Based Mission: Ultimately, success or failure of a given run comes down to if your heroes can acquire equipment and