The thought of playing a game where being a mage is the central selling point piqued my interest almost immediately. Casting spells in an undiscovered world filled with quests to perform and enemies to conquer sounded like a fantastic way to spend a gaming session. Mages of Mystralia, from developer Borealys Games, is an action/adventure title that takes place in a world where magic is both sacred and feared. Long ago a tyrannical king tampered with forbidden runes in order to gain immense power. Now, every so often a mage is born and because of his rule most people fear mages as if the next one will be worse.
You play as Zia, a young girl who awakens with fire power burning a part of her village. She runs away scared and then meets with a mysterious stranger who ushers her into a magical school. Along the way she finds a talking magical book which grants her even more mysterious powers and she slowly grows more powerful to take on the evil that plagues the kingdom. It’s a fairly basic ‘save the world’ type of story and the story is presented through text bubbles that can be too hard to see.
What sets Mages of Mystralia apart from other similar titles is its magical rune system. At the start Zia is given command over four spell types: Immedi which is like a lightning unfused melee attack, Actus which commands fire, Creo which created ice, and Ego which created a shield. You’ll also uncover runes which will let you modify spells, such as giving your fire the ability to shoot out like a projectile or even to be guidable upon a blast.
While there are offensive strategies involved, most of these quirks are meant for solving puzzles. Thankfully, you can have multiple custom loadouts on each spell, so you don’t have to go to the menu screen every time you need to change a spell. Most puzzled revolve around lighting time-sensitive torches with fire, freezing water get across areas, or blow boulders to reveal new paths. While I don’t mind solving puzzles, most of these seem rather generic and don’t require too much though other than just being an obstacle to slow your progress.
Taking on side-quests or exploring will reward players for their curiosity with new nodes for your spell book, but mostly will get you pink orbs that you can trade to upgrade your health or mana pool. There’s incentive to scout around, but actually solving the puzzles around these secrets can vary from enjoyable to repetitive. As stated before, they are not hard and most are simple in fact, but demand perfection within a small margin of error.
As for combat, it’s somewhat lackluster with not much strategy involved, save for the bosses. Some of the enemies are impervious to certain spell types, but nothing that attacking them melee style won’t fix. Combat is not the main focus of Mages of Mystralia and it shows with the lack of attack patterns, but you do earn money from fights which is not necessarily valuable in this world. Occasionally someone will try to sell you a magical item or some side-quest info, but you’ll always have more than enough. The bosses have such a good level of difficulty where you probably won’t beat them the first time, but once you have learned their attack patterns they become much more manageable.
The art style was colorful and stylish, and reminded me of something like Spyro. While I played in handheld most of the time and it looked fine, playing in docked mode made some of the textures look too pixelated. While the music fit the art style and was well done, there wasn’t anything special about it, having your typical fantasy arrangements.
Overall, Mages of Mystralia is a fun and enjoyable action/adventure title that features a fun spell building craft. While the combat and puzzles were generic in presentation, the way you tackled them with different customized spells was engaging. Mages of Mystralia is recommended for it’s fun gameplay, intriguing customization, and some great action segments.