Spire of Glory is an unapologetic auto battler game, a genre often called auto chess as well. The main appeal of the genre rests on the diversity of the roster and the myriad of combinations that are designed to provide countless strategies and possibilities. The same could be said for Spire of Glory, although in a substantially smaller scale – here is a game that comes with meager content, enough for an hour or two of fun, and little more. This major flaw inflicts a devastating poisoning attack in a game that tries to add a cool twist into the mix, but succumbs right when it was starting to show its tricks.
One Floor and Nothing More
The tutorial explains all the mechanics in a consistent way, although it doesn’t really expand on the option to have multiple player-controlled characters and different classes. As a minor niggle, there are a few grammatical errors during this phase that give the game a slightly amateurish look and could have been easily avoided with an attentive eye.
As far as auto battlers go, the only twist in Spire of Glory is that you can move your characters during combat. This means that they are not entirely autonomous, as it happens in Dota Underlords and other similar games. Understandably, this mechanic increases your interaction within the battle, allowing you to use one of your characters as bait while the others attack. Positioning your characters before the battle starts isn’t as important as it could be due to this system, which I must admit I feel somewhat conflicted about – it messes with the tradition of auto battlers and throws some tactics out of the window, as you frantically run across the board as a headless chicken.
The floor layout isn’t to my liking either – while there are paths connecting the rooms in an intricate way, you can always click on every single room to enter it, even the ones that you seemingly had left behind. In fact, this is pretty much mandatory, as it’s doubtful that you have a strong enough team to tackle the final boss if you ignore most rooms. The only thing that the interconnections seem useful for is to reach the treasure room, as you must go straight to it, otherwise the treasure will be gone. An interweaving layout where your choices truly mattered, and you had no option but to leave a shop or a treasure room behind would have been more exciting than this cosmetic illusion of actions and consequences.
Reaching the Spire is your goal, which currently equals to defeating the hydra boss. To do so you must overcome room after room of randomly generated enemies and use the rewards to fulfill your potential. By the end of each battle you get to select one out of three items of different rarities, with each character capable of holding three objects as well. Naturally, these boost your heroes in various ways, being up to you to discover ingenious synergies that will turn them into fighting experts. Manipulating the item pool on the well screen may increase your chances of getting the loot you desire, so this is a recommended stop before each run.
Crucially, the Lake room allows you to trade your crystals for an extra team member; having a party of three makes all the difference in elite battles, and since some items change your heroes into a different class – Blood Mage, Life Mage, Sailor, Rock Golem, Princess, and one more, in a current total of six – this brings some welcomed extra depth.
Discussing balance in a game that is meant to be exploited is somewhat futile. It’s up to the player to make the best of whatever comes their way and to defeat the final boss, something that you will probably do in about an hour.
And that’s all there is to Spire of Glory. This isn’t labeled as an early access release, it’s purely lacking on content and somewhat undeserving of the asking price, no matter how low it may seem to some. The pixel graphics are adequate, the core gameplay is reasonable and gets better as you experiment with characters and item combinations, but there’s only so much to it. As a proof of concept, it has undeniable value, but as a full game, there’s a lot of work to justify your investment in it.
Don’t call Spire of Glory a demo because it isn’t one, despite the appearances; this is a peculiar auto battler that may leave you baffled as you defeat the first boss and realize that the adventure is over. Congratulations, it was fun, you just proved your worth but now it’s time for genre lovers to move on to a game with some more meat on their bones – read that as more floors, items, classes, and enemies.
- Character movement mechanic may appeal to some players
- Item combinations can be fun
- Small pool of items and classes
- Only one floor, it’s over in about an hour