This title was reviewed on Nintendo Switch, but is also available on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
The Action-Adventure genre is one that has been around for decades now, arguably being popularised by the original Legend of Zelda. Because of its longevity it is certainly a bit oversaturated, so it takes a lot for a new action-adventure game to stand out. Does Mages of Mystralia manage to standout in an oversaturated genre? Let’s have a look.
Right away, Mages of Mystralia looks great. The visuals overall are a bright and colourful, with some solid world and character design to boot. There’s also some decent visual variety, with the thick swamp/forest section looking visually distinct from the peaceful village for instance. The only problem occurs during cutscenes, where the more zoomed-in camera reveals some low resolution textures, although that might be the Switch port.
The story here is rather charming. The backstory is that every decade or so, someone is born with latent magical abilities, and you play as Zia, one of those unlucky (?) enough to be born with these abilities, and she accidentally burns down her cottage and gets exiled as a result. She then meets another mage who mentors her before finding a talking spellbook and going out to clean the world of a plague of goblins. The story here is your standard fantasy fare sure, but I like it because of how the world builds a stigma towards mages, which, for lack of better comparison, kinda reminds me of X-Men, with Zia trying her hardest to help her former village, but them still being wary and against her throughout the story.
Mages of Mystralia is a pure action adventure in all accounts. Similar to the likes of Zelda, you’re given a massive world to explore, although you’re limited to where you can go dependant on your powers. In this world you’re often given quests to do, whether it be to clear an area of enemies, collect items for an NPC or fighting a boss. What makes the world so good is how alive it feels. There are so many secrets to find and puzzles to do that it makes the world way richer than it appears on the surface.
On your adventure you’re gonna run into your fair share of enemies, which you’re gonna have to kill. You have a variety of spells to use in this regard, each with their own effects. You have offensive spells, defensive spells, and a few elemental ones for good measure, like a fireball or the ability to freeze water to walk across rivers. All of these spells become customisable later on when you start collecting runes, and these have massive effects on them. For instance, the basic fireball spell at the start is stationary, and is mainly used for puzzles, but after you get the movement rune, it is able to lock-on to items and enemies and becomes a lethal long range attack. Despite the pretty solid customisation, combat does get repetitive, as your basic offensive and defensive magic act like your basic melee and block abilities in any other combat oriented game.
The sound here is solid too. While there’s no voice acting, we get plenty of sound effects that are all well-done and don’t get repetitive even after long bouts of playing. The music is great too, with it fitting the fantasy atmosphere very well.
Mages of Mystralia is a fantastic game that honestly surprised me. Besides some low-res textures on the Switch, it looks fantastic overall thanks to some solid variety and colourful art direction. The story is charming and manages to highlight the stigma the mages face, and the game’s audio is solid. Where the game shines though is in how it does the action-adventure genre justice. It takes place in a massive world with plenty to do and filled with secrets to find. The spell customisation is also surprisingly in-depth, but the basic combat can get a bit repetitive. Despite that, there’s a ton to like here.