Spellcaster University

Genre: Simulation / Building / Strategy
Developer: Sneaky Yak Studio
Gamemode: Singleplayer

The game lets you build a magical university by drawing cards from a magic deck. Build rooms to cover the needs of your students and teachers, add items to them to boost their abilities and learning speed and to remove boredom and hunger. Your card deck has 6 different decks and only money and the magic energy you produce while learning in this specific area will uncover new cards for you. Your pupils will graduate and get a degree in all kinds of mage titles, as teacher of magic, such profane professions as grave digger, gardener, peasant, craftsman, librarian, clock maker, caligraph, scholar, minion, imp, ghoul or adventurer, but also in such fancy professions like assassin, high priest, paladin, rune master, hero, elementalist, druid, time monk, necromancer, shaman or werewolf.

You will have to hire teachers and choose between two of them each time, compare their traits and keep them happy if they desire anything. Add artifacts to their rooms and improve their classrooms by adding features like trophies, statues, decorations and creatures. Customize dormitories, teachers offices, refectories, janitor rooms and private sleeping rooms as well as infirmary and the psychologists room, that keeps the sanity up. While you are playing you can get a few cards that let you produce ingredients for some powerful potions, that can give you additional gold or magic energy. Special beds and aquariums can also give some gold, but the cards usually don't appear very often. You might want to select the students by their traits, very aggressive or chatty pupils will not be helpful.

The game got a few problems at the game play. First of all you can often not really choose which kinds of magic gets supported by your university, because it is a matter of luck which classrooms you'll get diced in the beginning and usually you are then pretty much stuck with those. It can take an hour or even longer to get the one opened up that you'd like to have because you need money and a lot of luck to finally get a different kind of magic. The bugs and problems aren't game breaking but bothersome. I played it in english, but I read that some translations might still cause confusions. If you save the game it can't be loaded at this point but just continued where you left. Removing any room that you accidentally did build twice is impossible. I never understood why you need to run from the lord of the evil till you reach the last level of the campaign, while you are able to fight orcs or skeletons. There is nothing showing how low your fighting abilities are or that they would raise. You could buy yourself time by paying the adventurer guild to keep the lord of evil busy by distracting attacks, but I could never afford them. Also it seems to be possible to build that wrong, that you end up not being able to add rooms anymore, I had often a hard time to place especially libraries and the belvedere. Sometimes it brought up the feeling that there would be a restriction and limit to place certain rooms and items.

You will be attacked by fractions on your map, if you do not gain their sympathy and negotiate with them. While dealing with parents and locals you'll need to find the balance to gain the trust of inquisition, the guild, the king, and the orcs and minimize the pranks your students play. Also the armies of darkness will arrive after a while and force you to escape. After the lord of evil invaded your place you'll get two new choices for a good card and a bad one influencing your next university at a new location. Your goal is to educate students so well, that they graduate as outstanding mages, because this grants you a permanent bonus until you can finally beat the lord of evil. While the game is very unique and complex, I did not really have the impression, that any of my levels got any easier except to the amount of students that applied to join.

The graphic is adorable humorous and cute animated. It's definitely inspired by Harry Potter's Hogwarts. The sounds are still kinda missing, there is only some music coming with it. If you play the game for longer you'll pick up cards that you don't want to use and then they pile up on the bottom of your screen. At a certain amount of cards new ones will then not show any description anymore, when you got to choose one. Probably it would be better to be able to skip cards and delete them. Also they should add the possibility to see which rooms you owe before you choose a new one, but the game only shows this when you try to place another one. That kind of overview would be helpful for your choice. Prepare for not having much of a tutorial, you only get a vague idea what to do, but it is still very fun.

We recommend: If you like management games, you can still buy it, it is a brilliant game, but expect an unfinished game, it's early access after all!