MAGES OF MYSTRALIA
By Diana "DumeeGamer" Dumee on January 30, 2019
The moment I heard of the existence of a game called Mages of Mystralia, I just knew I wanted to play it. I love a good story, filled with magic, adjustable spells and a fierce heroine! And the fact that this game is now released for the Nintendo Switch made it the perfect time for me to check it out!
In this grand action adventure, we travel to the magical lands of Mystralia. A long time ago, the citizens of Mystralia were happy and the kingdom was ruled by mages of the royal family. All was well... until the troll plague came, that is. A lot of people got sick and died and even the Royal family wasn't spared. A young and inexperienced mage was crowned king, but he became obsessed with the use of dark and (as is usually the case with dark powers) very powerful magic. The kingdom suffered greatly under the king's new-found power and after tragedy upon tragedy, it was decided that magic could and should no longer be practiced in Mystralia. But, every now and then, a child is born with the innate gift of magic. And, as you might have guessed, we are going to take the role of such a youngster, a brave girl that can wield magic and, even better, can bend it to fit her needs.
The first thing I do when I start playing a game, is enable the subtitles. However, in Mages of Mystralia, I couldn't find this setting anywhere which, to be honest, came as a bit surprising to me. Oh well, on we go! Luckily, I quickly noticed that subtitles are always on during the game, because the characters don't really talk, they just make a sound that indicates that they are saying something, which is shown in a cartoony-looking speech bubble. This way, you can always clearly read what the characters are saying. Plus, it looks very cool!
During the introduction, we meet a red haired girl, named Zia, who accidentally set her whole village on fire (don't you just hate it when that happens to you?) You might imagine that this can be a , to say the least, slightly dramatic experience for a teenager, so she does the one thing teenagers are exceptionally good at: she runs away. When she's resting at a pond somewhere along the way, a stranger walks by. He introduced himself as her mentor and he wants to help her to control her powers and put them to good use. Rebellious as Zia is, she doesn't want to go at first. But after a peptalk of Mentor (talking about how she will die if she falls into the hands of the enemy and more of that kind of stuff), Zia agrees to Mentor's offer and so her journey to become a mage starts. And, coincidentally, so does our adventure.
Every mage should know his or her strengths and weaknesses, so make sure you choose the right difficulty level for this adventure. There are three difficulty levels: the Mage mode is for the players who like to focus on the adventure. The Archmage level is meant for players who prefer a decent challenge and the Hardcore level is for the bravest souls among us because, in this mode, death is permanent. Just be sure to select the right difficulty setting for your adventure, or it may be a short one indeed...
Now, I have a major soft spot for every game studio that offers me an amazing adventure, but if you offer me a sidekick in the form of a talking and flying spell book, you are most definitely a winner! In Mages of Mystralia, this is the case and the book is always by your side to guide you, make funny comments and last but not least, keep all your spells safe and ready in case you'll need them. And trust me when I say that you are going to need them often in this magical but dangerous kingdom! You're going to use spells to protect yourself from goblins, skeletons and even cute looking bunny reindeer creatures that can turn evil in the blink of an eye.
At the start of the game, you will learn four spells: Immedi, which is a spell used for attacks; Ego, which is a shield spell; an item-activation spell called Actu and, last but not least, a spell that lets you create things like bridges, called Creo. All of these spells can be edited by using behaviors, augments and triggers. Try to add the behavior Movement on Actu, which now makes it possible to throw a flame, instead of just summoning it. The editing of your own spells is a lot of fun. Plus, it means that, while every player starts out with the same four basic spells, what they do while editing these spells is entirely up to them. There are countless options to use, so be sure to experiment with them as you go along.
Every step I take in the magical world of Mystralia, makes me even more curious and anxious to see what the next area looks like. The graphics are beautiful, the world is colorful and the game-play works like a charm. The fixed camera offers you an isometric view of your surroundings and is always right where you need it. But hey, we aren't here just for the view, right? There is a kingdom that needs saving, so hop to it! Along the way, there are many secrets for you to discover and challenges to complete. Make sure to try and create different spells and test every new behavior, augment and trigger you find. You'll never know, it might be the missing link in the solution of a certain puzzle.There are quite few Easter eggs to discover along the way, for instance the fact that the developers are probably fans of a certain British writer... Who, I hear you ask? Well, if you know what Hubwards and Rimwards means, you might know who I'm talking about.
When you can't get enough of the world of Mages of Mystralia, the developers have good news for you, because they decided to share the backstory in the form of a comic book. Now players can delve even deeper into the lore of the magical world of Mystralia and read all about it. Visit the official website of Borealys Games to learn more about their comic (and the game, of course).
I truly had a blast playing this game! To me, it's definitely a game I will remember as one of the best of 2019. Yes, yes; I know the year has only just started, guys, hold your horses. Mages of Mystralia has a great spell creating system, the story is amazing and Zia makes for one hell of a cool protagonist! Together with the comic book, Borealys Games managed to deliver a full action-adventure package. I can honestly say that this game is an absolute winner!
MAGES OF MYSTRALIA
January 29, 2019 (Nintendo Switch)