Developed by Borealys Games
Published by Borealys Games Reviewed on PlayStation 4 (also available on Switch, Xbox One, and Steam)
I am an ardent fan of magic in fantasy settings. Magic can be something that is very limited, just waiting to be tapped into or resurfaced, or there can be settings where the world is absolutely brimming and well established. Mages of Mystralia starts with a brief story of a powerful mage who learned of great magics and used it to become a powerful tyrant. When he was finally dethroned, the Marquis banned use of magic and has held it down for a long time. A young woman named Zia, who lives out in a pleasant valley, discovers she is a mage by accidentally burning down her house. Chased out by her village mates and homeless, she encounters another mage, who realizes her potential, takes her under his wing and begins to train her in the now forbidden arts. What ensues is a wonderfully charming adventure through a young mage’s adventure to meet her destiny.
Mages of Mystralia is a beautiful game with a very charming art style. It evokes a cartoon style without going too far into silly territory. The use of color is very refreshing and Zia has a colorful design with her cloak and vibrant red hair. The animation of characters and creatures you encounter are quite fluid and charming. There also isn’t proper voice acting with the mages using simple grunts and tones. I would have liked to hear a full voice cast but this also kind of fits within the style of the world. You’ll see many different and well established location tropes, an enchanted forest, a swamp, mines, and a snowy mountain temple to name a few. Some are interweaving and sometimes block your progress until you find the right spell, so exploration is highly encouraged.
Going through each location you start with just a handful of spells, granted to you by a talking spell book. You get four kinds of spell types and each has access to different elements. As you venture further, you find more spells that you can not only use to open up the world further, but allows you to fight the many dangers you encounter such as goblins, spirits, bats, and other monstrosities. You also discover modifications that apply to certain types of spells.
This includes amplifying the existing effects of your spells, such as making a stationary object movable, or being able to chain one spell into another. The combination of spells and effects adds a nice extra layer exploring, solving puzzles, and combat. There were times when I got genuinely stuck because I didn’t have the right spell or the right modifier, but coming back a short time later and using my newest spell to fix the problem lead to treasure and sometimes even another modifier that I was looking for.
The story itself is fairly typical of a chosen hero rising to their fate. It usually involves Zia getting to a location, picking up a relevant item or spell, then returning to her teacher for the next instruction. Despite the fact that it is conventional, the locales you visit along side with the lovely composing and fun combat make the journey even more fun to stride through. Small things like the fact that Zia has a decent movement speed and mobility spells lessens any perceived burden as well. If I had to give any real criticisms, it’s that you can finish Mages of Mystralia in probably seven or eight hours if you figure out what to do right away. The puzzles when you have the right spell are not overly thought provoking. They are still fun and I felt satisfied when I solved them but this won’t satisfy those who like difficult puzzles.
I found myself taking my time to enjoy the wonderful art, music while trying to find tidbits about the world. Mages of Mystralia is worth a visit, if not just for the art and musical stylings. If anything I feel like this should be a great stepping stone for something much greater and I hope that Mystralia sticks around.
Mages of Mystralia is now available on Nintendo Switch via the Nintendo eShop.