GAME REVIEW | Casting and Crafting Spells In "Mages of Mystralia"
There once was a game called Magicka, where you could mix different spells together to produce all kinds of neat effects. While that game was a bit darker and focused on zany humor and multiplayer gameplay, Mages of Mystralia focuses more on a more light-hearted experience both narratively and from a gameplay standpoint. What follows is a brighter and more accessible game.
Mages of Mystralia is about a girl who's the descendant of a wizard king from ages ago. Their kingdom was built with the great magic they used, but in the process went mad, forcing a ban on spell-crafting. However evil has run amok in the world once again, and magic is needed. As an apprentice to a master who teaches you in the way of magic, you can improve enough in your spellcasting to prove to the people that magic has a place and that the ban should be lifted.
You'll basically go through a series of quests to advance the storyline, although there are quite a few sidequests to do (i.e. looking for hidden treasure to increase your health or discovering new spells). The spells you start out with are basic things like slash for cutting grass and such, but you'll eventually get spells to blow up walls or clear other obstacles. It's very much like a Metroidvania-meets-Legend of Zelda in this sense, where you'll have to go back to areas you couldn't access before.
Spells can also affect the behavior of other spells like having the effect of moving in a certain direction. There are enemies to fight and puzzles to solve, but the combat is actually not a big focus in the game. It's mainly puzzle solving and exploration here, but considering Mages of Mystralia's lighter tone this aspect is fine.
Its graphics have a simple cartoony look, but the colors are vibrant and make the environment look nice. There isn't much in the way of voice acting, but the game employs Simlish-like phrases as substitution for speech. It's actually kind of annoying at times, but at least this way the developers didn't have to record voice acting in different languages for different regions.
Mages of Mystralia controls well on PC, although it's highly recommended that you play with a gamepad, as it's just easier to have all of your controls centralized to one thing. Not to mention, this game has clearly been designed with console versions in mind. If you are a fan of Zelda-like games, and want a magic-based gameplay experience that's simpler than Magicka, Mages of Mystralia is a good recommendation.
The Good: Mixing different spells for new effects is fun.
The Bad: The Simlish like gibberish is a bit annoying at times.
The Ugly: The cute creatures that get real nasty if attacks will destroy you immediately.
SUMMARY: Mages of Mystralia is a fun little action adventure game that will hopefully be just as good on the Switch, if it ever happens.
Promotional consideration provided by Dan Adelman of Borealys Games. Reviewed on the PC.
Eric Kelly is a freelance writer of games, and has a podcast called RPGrinders. You can donate to his Patreon here.