Now you think that would mean that the story is dark and gloomy, and you wouldn’t be completely wrong. Darkness covers the land; mages are hunted and killed; villagers are under constant threat of monster attacks: sounds like dark stuff. However, much of this darkness is offset by the use of an extremely vibrant color palette and overly cartoonish character and monster models. Quite a few of the character interactions you will have are goofy as well, giving a rather light-hearted air to the whole affair.
In addition to having a story written by such a famous storyteller, the soundtrack comes with a fine pedigree as well. The full orchestral soundtrack was conducted by Shota Nakama and performed by the Video Game Orchestra, who also recently performed the soundtracks of huge titles like Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts 2.5 HD ReMIX. It’s a beautiful score full of good tracks, but it never manages to become more than just the sum of its parts. When people think back on their favorite videogame soundtracks they always have one or two songs that really pop out: Mages of Mystralia doesn’t have anything memorable like that, at least not to me. But what makes Mages of Mystralia so special, so unique, is not the music or the story, but the impressive spellcrafting system.
Spells aren’t just for combat, either. Mages have to be as smart and clever as they are strong, so you’ll encounter many puzzles and challenges. Challenges can be found scattered around Mystralia and often you will need a specific set of runes/spells in order to clear them successfully. If you have trouble, there is always a mystical talking brazier nearby that offers hints in exchange for green soulbeads (the in-game currency. I have no idea what a talking torch would need money for). Players should make sure they clear as many of these as they can because they offer up important rewards, such as the special purple soulbeads that you can use to purchase health and mana upgrades and special modifiers to be used in spell customization. You will also come across sealed doors that require you to solve a special kind of matching puzzle in order to open them. They also reward you will useful things, wands included. Zia can find and equip different wands in order to gain special augments to certain types of magic. The Aqua Wand, for example, ignores an enemy’s water resistance while adding a slow effect to aqua spells.
Mages of Mystralia is a game that is as easy on the eyes as it is on the ears. Combine that with a meaty spell system and plenty of secrets for those of you who like to plumb the depths and uncover every item hidden in the game and you’ve got another excellent indie title to add to the pile. In other words, there are plenty of good reasons to stick around and explore the Valley.
*Note: A copy of the game was provided for the purposes of the review
Final Score: 8/10
+Good Orchestral Score
+Great Spellcrafting System