My First Impressions piece for Letter Quest: Grimm’s Journey Remastered was incredibly positive, and was an opportunity for me to wax lyrical about its elegant design and more-ish puzzle-RPG gameplay. Simply put, my impressions have changed very little: this is an absolute gem that reaffirms that great games on Vita don’t need to be big, bombastic, AAA behemoths to satisfy your on-the-go gaming itch. Letter Quest is a confident, unique title that will not only exercise your strategic RPG proficiency through its myriad of upgrades and customizations, but give your noggin an opportunity to flex your mind’s thoughtful muscle memory in an astute, relaxing puzzle-RPG adventure.
If you ever wanted a fusion of Scrabble and a casual, easy-to-learn RPG in the palm of your hands, then Letter Quest is the game for you. It’s a well-designed and addictive game that will keep you coming back for more, not only to level up your cute little Grim Reaper, aptly named Grimm, but to also give your brain a fun, laid-back workout at the same time. It’s astonishingly educational, but in a super fun way – I wish this game was available when I was in school!
The main setup of Letter Quest is a surprisingly simple one; you travel across a multitude of miniature dungeons besting monsters with the power of words in strategic, turn-based combat. You are given a pool of 15 letters to create your words of choice and, as you may expect, the longer the words, the more damage you inflict on your opponents. Once monsters are defeated they conveniently drop gems, which brings the RPG elements of the game into play. Gems are used to purchase items and upgrade stats such as your HP, Attack Damage, Chance to Dodge, Armour and all the good stuff that you would expect in a modern RPG. For a game about creating words, there’s a surprisingly deep well of things to do, items to purchase and upgrades to unlock, if you’re willing to put in the time to go down its fairly deep, wonderfully rewarding and satisfying rabbit-hole.
Letter Quest does have a few neat tricks up its sleeve to keep combat fresh and challenging. As you may expect, monsters gradually become more powerful as you progress through the levels, however, the game doesn’t settle with just throwing HP-sponging enemies at you with much bigger pools of health. Instead, Letter Quest slowly drip feeds special, unique requirements that need to be fulfilled in order to damage (or sometimes cause extra damage) to the monsters that stand in your way. These requirements are pretty diverse and range from monsters not taking damage from three-letter words or, even sneakier still, being forced to exclusively use only four-letter words to cause damage. These little tweaks to the gameplay really help to keep Letter Quest feeling fresh, particularly in the late-game.
Not only do some monsters have specific requirements to damage them, but they also inflict special attacks of their own on your very letter tiles. The more challenging monsters can poison, or even break the actual letter tiles that you use to create your words, which can make things really tricky. Thankfully, the challenge is pitched just right, and the opportunity to grind for gems and upgrade Grimm is only a few button presses away.
Each level enables you to unlock one star at a time and there are 4 stars available on each level, which gives players a grand total of 160 levels to whittle through. Essentially, there’s a lot to do in Letter Quest, and it’ll take completionists awhile to unlock all of the content the game has to offer.
Presentation-wise Letter Quest isn’t exactly a looker, but its simple, unostentatious cartoon-style is admirable and actually pretty damn charming. My only gripe with Letter Quest‘s presentation is its rather insipid, repetitive soundtrack, though I do have a tip to ease the pain: change the music in the settings to the original chip-tune jingles to give your ears a pleasing rest, as the original music sounds a whole lot better than the incongruous electronica that pervades this re-release.
Letter Quest is a great puzzle-RPG hybrid that feels genuinely fresh and unique. There’s no other game on the PSN quite like it. It’s a fun, satisfying journey that confidently proves that the pen is well and truly mightier than the sword.
- Title: Letter Quest: Grimm’s Journey Remastered
- Publisher: Digerati Distribution
- Developer: Bacon Bandit Games
- Format: PSN Download
- Memory Card Space Needed: 245mb