According to Ryan the game is shaping up nicely, but it’s very slow-going, and the team has to keep taking contract work while trying to squeeze out enough of a margin to keep working on Spellirium. “Most of the time, the contract work we take is just barely enough to keep the lights on, so Spellirium sits collecting dust. We were originally funded by the Ontario government to work on Spellirium, but the project scope and our own admitted lack of experience running large-scale projects saw the money run out quickly with very little to show for it” says Ryan. Now that they are apparently back on track, they’re dedicated to being far more careful with money and project management.
As for the game itself it takes a fun word-building grid and folds it into a puzzle-based adventure story. To shear a sheep, you have to spell synonyms for “cut”: TRIM, CLIP, CHOP, TRIM, etc. To defeat a two-headed monster, you have to spell palindromes. To turn a wheel, you have to spell words across, down, back and up in a circular motion. To defeat a green monster, you have to spell words using only the green tiles. These challenges are all tied into a story about a post-apocalyptic world that’s been busted back to the Dark Ages, where reading and writing have been outlawed. You play Brother Todd, an apprentice Runekeeper, who is tasked with curating a secret underground library of “findage” with writing on it. When the other Runekeepers go missing and one turns up dead, it’s up to Todd and his motley band of companions to unravel the mystery.
Spellirium: It’s the End of the Word as We Know It.