During my early gaming days I loved game series like Metroid and Castlevania. They gave me a challenge, great story, and a sense of accomplishment, and I always loved to revisit them. Magicians and Looters takes me right back to those days of side-scrolling goodness. Not only did this game make me feel nostalgic it made me laugh numerous times along the way.
Magicians and Looters pays homage to old Metroid-esque side-scrollers and does it well. It has a beautiful 2D high-definition pixel artstyle, real time map system, items to discover, and skills to unlock. You play as three apprentice sorcerers aiming to save their mentor from the ominous castle Looter. In Magicians and Looters you switch between Brent, Nyn and Vienna. Each character has access to the same magic abilities, but also have their own personal abilities. After the epilogue is finished you are able to switch between the three at any save point.
Brent is a classic warrior type, toting a sword and shield. He is the slowest of the three, but can use his shield to block incoming melee and projectile attacks from any direction. He later gains the ability to wall jump, a useful skill for solving puzzles, gaining loot and reaching hidden areas. Brent’s personality is very straightforward. He has good intentions but is very oblivious at times.
Vienna is the sister of Brent, and she’s a headstrong fighter type who specializes in speed and hand-to-hand combat. She is by far the fastest of the three and her only weapons are her fists. She can also equip the most accessories and has more abilities at her disposal than the other two. Vienna is my personal favorite because she has an “in your face” attitude that matches her fighting style. She has abilities like a high jump, wall run and a falcon kick (a likely nod to the Blue Falcon). Nyn and Brent occasionally mention that Vienna may have a screw loose. The fact that she unlocks abilities from her talking cat isn’t helping her case.
Nyn is a hardened ex-child mercenary that doesn’t back down from a fight, and she would be considered the rogue of the group. She can equip two swords, is speedy and has an evasive roll. She later attains the ability to slide, furthering her usefulness in evasion and obstacle clearing. She was my least favorite to play as, but I loved any of the dialog involving her. She is sarcastic, quick-witted and doesn’t pull punches when it comes to her opinions.
While I did find the game’s dialog funny, the actual plot lacked a bit. The story played off the popular cliches of older successes. A majority of the game’s talking has a satirical undertone that I loved, often taking jabs at current games versus the older ones. In one instance, two sorcerers converse about how sorcerers nowadays always use tutorials and teleporting instead of backtracking. I found this hilarious and spot on as today’s games have a tendency to spoon feed players. On random occasions and at save points, the main characters might have a chat with one another. This would at times provide backstory to one or more of the characters in a witty fashion.
Exploration is encouraged and necessary. Rather than grinding to gain levels you must collect a certain number of orbs. These orbs are usually well hidden, and each time you level up the number of orbs required increases. This is a nice reward system for completionists and makes backtracking that much more worthwhile. Orbs aren’t the only things you will discover while exploring; weapons, accessories and even the occasional dungeon wall chicken are out there, ripe for the picking.
The gameplay is easy to get a feel for, and fans of older Castlevania games will feel at home here. For this review I played the PC version and used an Xbox 360 gamepad. The controls are pretty standard with jump, attack and ability buttons. The ability varies depending on the character selected; a block for Brent, back dash for Vienna, and roll/slide for Nyn. Activating the map is done in real time and fills in as you discover new areas. Holding down the right trigger gives you access to any magic abilities that you’ve unlocked including shooting fruit. Yep, in this game rapid fire fruit is a magic spell, attained from defeating the devious Fruit Magician.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Magicians and Looters, and I honestly hope that Morgopolis Studios puts out another one. With a $7.99 price tag it’s well worth the money. Magicians and Looters is available for PC and Xbox 360, and you can purchase your copy here.
This game was reviewed using a copy provided by the developer for that purpose.
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