Now that the Harry Potter movies are finished, players looking for more magical high-school adventures will have to turn elsewhere. Appy Entertainment, who previously developed the Must Have physics game Trucks and Skulls, are stepping into the world of freemium casual games with their fantasy-themed SpellCraft School of Magic. We asked Paul O’Connor, Brand Director at Appy, about the game’s Potter-esque theme and online wizard fights.
Can you describe some of the mini-games players will encounter, like brewing potions in the cauldron?
Paul: There’s an entire planting/farming/harvesting subsystem in the game because you have to nurture the plants used as spell ingredients. Those ingredients are then brewed in the cauldron, where you need to swirl the mixture clockwise and counterclockwise (at the proper speed– a mini-game) in order to concoct spells. There’s also a timing element in the actual casting; you need to nail a “golf swing”-style mechanic to get maximum damage from your spells.
Are the dungeons created randomly? How many levels are there in the game?
Paul: The first twenty levels of the dungeon are pre-made; after that, the game will generate unlimited additional dungeon levels. Each room of the dungeon contains a “stack” of monster and hazard cards that the player must defeat to clear the chamber and collect the treasure; those stacks are dealt out randomly but draw their contents from creatures appropriate to that level, getting more difficult as you go deeper.
Can you describe the art style you were aiming for with this game?
We were aiming for a fun, cartoony style, but with a little bit of an edge. Our monsters are full of character but still recognizable as iconic orcs, demons and elementals. This first release is an introduction to the SpellCraft world so we tried to hit all the “classic” monster types as well as a few that are unique to the Appy collective unconscious. As fantasy geeks it was fun to play with the archetypes we’ve come to love from playing Dungeons & Dragons these past thirty years. We also aimed for a style that would permit additional development in other forms of media (hint, hint).
How did the Harry Potter series influence this game’s development?
We’re big Potter fans at Appy and recognized that a casual spellcasting game built around a school of magic would have broad appeal. Nonetheless, we have developed SpellCraft as an original world and concept; we also looked to other classic fantasy properties like D&D and World of Warcraft for inspiration. Potter fans will find the world familiar and (we hope) comfortable but SpellCraft has its own kinks, with unique monsters and Appy’s warped sense of humor to shake things up. We’ve tried to concoct a world that all fantasy game players will enjoy, if not obsess over.
How will the multiplayer portions of the game work? Will you be able to challenge your friends using Game Center?
Multiplayer is a turn-based, asynchronous experience allowing you to duel your friends on their own schedules, like a spellcasting Words With Friends. Challenges are issued through Game Center, with pop-up notifications telling players when they’re up for a turn. Our magic system uses a “rock, paper, scissors”-style system based around the magical schools of earth, fire, water, and chaos. Players each select a spell, and when both players have loaded up their spells, the exchange is resolved. So there is a bit of guessing based on what you know about your opponent, since you want to cast spells that take advantage of his or her vulnerability while keeping your own guard up.