A charming adventure game.
Sometimes you just want a nice little adventure game to sink into. It doesn’t have to be revolutionary, they’re often the gaming equivalent of a nice stew on a rainy day. It’s all about just playing through, enjoying the story, maybe messing around with some interesting mechanics. A nice palate cleanser in between the behemoths so often takes up our free time nowadays. If you’re in that kind of mood, then might I suggest Mages of Mystralia.
Set in a world where magic used to be commonplace but is now outlawed. You play a budding mage named Zia who has just accidentally burned down her house and her uncle with it. She doesn’t dwell on this for long though and ends up running into an old mage who offers to teach her how to control her power.
While he may well teach you the basics he serves as more of a guide through the game itself. He offers out many of the quests and generally serves as your waypoint. You actually learn all of your spells from a spellbook that starts talking to you. After all, who hasn’t picked up a book that started talking to them? This is how you learn the different classes of spells and the book teaches you how to channel your power into puzzle solving magical abilities.
You can also augment and alter these spells in order to achieve different effects. This makes it possible to mess around with a preferred build of mage, or just makes for chances to have some tricky puzzles strewn around the world. It’s a fun system and one that makes the game far more interesting than many of its peers.
Visually the game has a cutesy look that fits well with the generally adorable feel of the game. The characters all have an almost chibi feel to them and even the monsters look like they’d sooner hug you than hurt you. It also sounds great, each spell has its own sound effect and the music fits the moments of action and the puzzles perfectly.
There are a couple of little issues that do begin to grate the further you get into the game. There is an annoying amount of backtracking which feels as though it pads the game out. It just feels unnecessary. The combat is also fun for a little bit, but is quite samey throughout the game, despite some of the interesting boss designs. These aren’t deal breakers at all but are notable the longer you play for.
Mages of Mystralia is an incredibly charming little adventure game that has an old soul. It isn’t heart-breaking in its difficulty nor is it overly complex – it’s just good fun. The spell system is robust and incredibly interesting and it both looks and sounds good too. It’s the perfect game to sink into when you aren’t in the mood for anything heavy and just want to mash away at some buttons. The little niggles can be ignored assuming you play the game over a long enough period of time. It really does fit well in-between large life-consuming titles as a result.
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