Mages of Mystralia is a charming old fashioned adventure game that really evokes the same emotions that classic adventure games used to reach. An indie game that knows its own limitations and doesn’t hide that its built on the shoulders of giants of yesterday. Borealys Games do their best to achieve this in their first commercial release.
You play as a young girl called Zia, she accidently discovers that she possesses the ability to be a wizard; which in the world of Mystralia is a rare and a very uncommon occurrence. Unfortunately, this isn’t a happy event as she exiles herself from her own home and sets out to learn to be a wizard but as expected there is a much larger issue in the world. Zia is charged with putting an end to a possible war between the Trolls and the Humans and with this she learns there is someone pulling the strings to create this war.
As you may imagine the gameplay revolves around Zia’s mage abilities, the game includes the standard fire ball and lightning spells; but Mages of Mystralia actually does innovate in this space but allowing the play to apply modifiers to the basic spells. This facilitates so much creativity when it comes to customizing your spells from multiple rays of lightning to spells that include two types of elements allowing for double damage. These modifiers known as Runes are also integral to the game’s puzzles which require the play to use these to find their solutions.
As with these type of games there are many fetch quests with you having to find specific items for townspeople or go in a dungeon and fight off multiple waves of enemies and solving puzzles. This can’t really be helped but it would’ve been nice to see a bit more variety and challenge in the side missions. That said the main quest and the lore in general are well written; not surprisingly with Dungeons & Dragons’ Forgotten Realms’ Ed Greenwood penning the story. Unfortunately, it does seem to feel rushed in the later end of the game.
Graphically Mages of Mystralia really captures this fairy tale cartoonish story book look that is very enchanting and pulls you into this world. This is more defined by the isometric camera angle that really catches the eye and helps hide the less clean models that you can see up close during cutscenes. However, it has its ugly spots but the art style and colours really do a great job of pulling away from those. The music is also compliments both the art style, story and world with a feeling of whimzy and brings out the feeling of adventure as it rises and falls with all the different events in the game.
Mages of Mystralia doesn’t have what I’d call conventional issues I’d usually expect in the game. The boss fights are fun, the magic system is fantastic and the graphics and music are great; the issue lies with the game on a grand scale. The issue is it just feels average, it doesn’t do much that hasn’t been done before with the everything feeling familiar and just plain boring. With a game that’s meant to last for as long as it does it really needs to be able to hook you and hold you and it just doesn’t do that.
In the end Mages of Mystralia is a fantastic first game for an indie studio with many things done right but as previously mentioned there is just a stale feeling to the actual game. The game’s story doesn’t break the mold but does the job and really facilitates the outstanding magic modification system which sometimes justifies the entire game to me. With that all said and done it delivers a good experience that I personally feel is worth the price of admission but at times I feel like I’ve played this before. Not a bad game but isn’t new, I’d recommend this to people who are fans of the genre but if you’re looking for something that’ll leave an impression on you; look elsewhere.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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