Mages of Mystralia - PS4 Review

With a core concept such as 'creating magic', Mages of Mystralia gets off to a great start. The visuals ooze charm and the game itself is a lot of fun to play. There are some rough edges here and there, but fans of fantastical adventure games should find a great deal to enjoy here.

You take on the role of Zia, a young girl who learns that she has magical ability. However, because magic has been outlawed, she becomes determined to make the best of the situation and learn what she can on her own. Along the way, she will meet other wizards who have become exiled while discovering runes of power that help Zia to realize that she does not just possess a sense of magic, but the ability to shape and control it.

The coming of age tale at the heart of Mages of Mystralia is a cute one that matches the bright, colorful visual aesthetic perfectly. Unfortunately while the game's visuals continue to hold up and become more engaging as you explore new locations, the story does not hold up quite so well. It becomes a pretty generic tale that fails to completely grip my imagination with either its characters or its narrative. By no means are they bad, but some voiced dialog or a story with some deeper, potentially darker corners would have made this a more interesting prospect for me personally.

Luckily what the plot may lack in depth, the casting system makes up for in spades. Spell types are mapped to face buttons on the controller and essentially fall into some pretty standard categories. They can be melee or ranged attacks, or provide status boosts or increased defensive tactics. In and of themselves, those base types are effective if not terribly interesting. Thankfully, the layers of this system begin to present themselves pretty early, and while the tale might not have gripped me as much as I had hoped it would, gaining new modifiers proves to be a pretty fantastic carrot to dangle at the end of the stick. Altering everything from elements to movement to the ability to create combos out of spells and more really adds a layer of trial and error to the mechanics that made Mages of Mystralia a great deal of fun to play.

This is all ably assisted by a pretty robust yet easy to navigate system. Crafting your spells can become pretty complex, but the system is enough enough to use that I never got frustrated with it. The ability to mix and match characteristics that can take a defensive spell like shield and turn it into a battering ram attack shows just how open-minded the development team was in crafting it, and by the time I was halfway through the game, I actually felt as though Zia was owning her spells.

If it was just combat, the spells would likely have grown stale just a bit sooner, but they are also made use of when solving puzzles in the world. Most of them can be bypassed, but if you want to tickle your brain a bit and try to engineer interesting solutions, then these provide some solid brain teasers. I don't recall any one puzzle being too hard, or feeling unfair and the rewards for completing them are usually some new runes, so they are worth the effort.

While I adored the visual presentation, which is vibrant, with lots of movement and plenty of things to look at, the audio did not really click for me. I already made brief mention of the non-voiced dialog, but the sound effects are relatively simple and can become rather repetitive, and while the music was never jarring or bad, nor was it particularly memorable in any particular scene. Usually with most games there is simply a tune or two that stands out for the right or the wrong reasons, but here the music for Mages of Mystralia was simply there. Adequate for a time, but not something I was taking with me when turning off the screen.

With a pretty fantastic system at its core and a charming visual style to boot, Mages of Mystralia is an enjoyable fantasy romp that encourages you to play with magic and make it your own. It perhaps lacks some of the bells, whistles and polish found in larger AAA games, but the magic system is incredibly clever and makes it a unique if imperfect title that I stilled enjoyed my time with.

Game Information

PlayStation 4
Borealys Games
Borealys Games
Single Player
Other Platform(s):
Xbox One

Provided by Publisher

Article by Nick


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