Spell Disk is an upcoming roguelike with a huge focus on magic combat and building skill combos.
Our protagonist has to climb up several floors in this enormous tower after awakening at the bottom, but the game doesn’t really give much explanation as to why this is happening.
Spell Disk doesn’t really concern itself with plot; it’s definitely a gameplay-first type of title, which I don’t mind at all. I’ll take not having a story over a boring story any day.
As you ascend through the floors, you are given a chance to craft either spells, artifacts, or disks. Every enemy killed gives you a few gems, and those are the resources needed to create your equipment.
Spells can be cast as is, but they can also be attached to disks, which will make them trigger automatically under certain circumstances. The biggest mechanic in the game is balancing what spells will be cast automatically and deciding if a disk’s requirement to trigger a spell is worthwhile or not.
Getting a really good combination of spells and disks that trigger often is the key to combat, and most disks have very straightforward requirements, like hitting two enemies at once or just using your attack a few times.
Some disks, however, have ridiculously low requirements, like being near an enemy or simply dashing, which means that whatever spell you attach to it is going to go off constantly.
Each weapon also has a unique spell attached to it. The demo only gives us two weapons to play with, but there are at least seven planned for the final release.
The starting weapon is a staff that throws a fireball that keeps dividing into more projectiles, while our other weapon of choice is an ultra-fast katar dagger that gives us access to a dash attack.
These weapon attacks also have synergy with disks and spells, meaning that they will be an integral part of your build, depending on what you get in your run.
My favorite strategy so far is weaponizing the main character’s dash while using the katar. The player can use the katar’s special move, which also counts as a dash, as well as their normal dash to trigger disk effects.
Getting multiple disks with dash effects only enhances this, as you keep dashing and casting multiple things at once, cleaning out rooms by barely attacking.
Another fun effect comes from the disks that trigger from explosions, which can just start causing chain reactions with a single spell. There are so many of these effects to play around with, and every run is insanely different.
Enemies start out very passive, but eventually you start getting mobbed by huge groups, which can overwhelm you quickly. Each floor is much tougher than the previous, and the game’s difficulty ramps up fast.
I usually don’t like complaining about visuals, but not every enemy in Spell Disk looks great. What’s weird is that some have great sprites while others barely have any shading, so I assume that the bad-looking ones are placeholders and will be fixed in the future.
Still on the topic of visuals, some work is also needed when it comes to some specific enemy attacks, since not all of them are easy to see. It’s a very common thing to keep getting hit by some small effect that you don’t even realize is draining your health.
Spell Disk does have some visual indicators for when enemies are going to attack as well as for the attacks themselves, but the moths and mushrooms, for example, make it difficult for the player to understand what is damaging them. It’s something I got used to eventually, but the fact that it isn’t instantly understood means that it could use some work.
Mechanically, Spell Disk is great; the disk system allows you to tackle encounters in whatever way you want and there is a lot of freedom to experiment with crazy synergies and combos.
The game is excessively difficult, but with a good combination of spells, the player can turn the tables on the enemies; it just requires some creative thinking and a little luck. The disk mechanic is definitely a highlight, and I really want to see how other players will make completely broken builds when the game fully releases.
Overall, Spell Disk is a great game for people who love looking for synergies in RPGs. It’s a brutal title that still needs some work when it comes to the visuals, but I am very positive towards it.
Spell Disk is set to release on September, 2023, for Microsoft Windows (through Steam).