Mages of Mystralia is one of the few games to come from Kickstarter that we can truly call an unmitigated success. Quite simply, it’s a wondrous adventure game in the vein of Zelda, but with a gameplay style and magic crafting mechanism that makes it an experience all its own. Borealys Games should be absolutely pleased with its work on n their freshman offering. Mages of Mystralia is simply wonderful. But it’s also short, a bit buggy, and ends somewhat abruptly. It’s an excellent game, marred by a few issues that keep it from being truly great. This is our Mages of Mystralia review.
A Well-worn Path
Mages of Mystralia follows a well-worn path. It’s basically a Zelda game, for all the good that it entails. In so doing, of course, the game is going to be sharply eyed and compared to the subgenre of Adventure RPG that Zelda occupies. For the most part, Mages succeeds in aping Nintendo’s biggest strengths. As you progress through the world you’ll uncover and unlock new ways to use spells and interact with the world. Then you’ll retread older parts of the game and find you can reach places you couldn’t before. It’s all familiar, but it also works really well here thanks to the spell crafting system.
There are four basic spells in Mages of Mystralia, and as the young mage Zia you’ll have to use them all to drive back the darkness and the evils being unleashed in Mystralia. From ice to fire, to explosions, and movement, you’ll unlock lots of different runes to add to your four core spells and in so doing you’ll create new spells. An exploding, heat seeking fireball quickly became my go to. Health, currency, and mana can be plentifully found throughout the world so resource management never becomes too much of a chore. Heck, just like Zelda, you even add more health when you beat bosses.
Over too soon, or just right?
It took me about 7 hours to beat Mages of Mystralia, but even with loads of secrets and the Trials arena to toy with, I’m not sure I’ll play through it again. It feels like it would be mundane, as even at 7 hours the game’s basic gameplay loop was starting to feel old. Perhaps the back-tracking, lack of impactful story, and eventual wariness brought on by killing too many goblins started to get to me. Mystralia is a fun game, but its world ultimately feels mundane and “been there, done that” in the face of greater adventure RPGs released this year.
The fact remains, despite drawbacks, Mages of Mystralia is a promising start to Borealys’ life as a game studio. There’s abundant charm, tight controls, and enough ingenuity to make me confident that Mages’ real story is only just beginning. Bring on a Switch version, and bring on a sequel!