When we saw Mages of Mystralia back at PAX West last September, there was still a lot left to do in terms of content. They had a good chunk of the game done and had a pretty stable build. In five months, the team at Borealys Games essentially finished the game. There’s a full-fledged story mode and a Sandbox mode now, but the team wants to add a few more things before they release, which is why they decided to start a small Kickstarter.
At PAX East, they were showing off the tutorial level and the first dungeon of the game. So first you learn how to cast spells. For the uninitiated, there are immidi spells, which are melee attacks, creo spells, which create something in the world like a wall or a sheet of ice, ego spells, which affect you, so shields and speed-ups, and actus spells, which cast elemental orbs. Once you learn how to use the four spell types, there are modifiers that you can add that will alter how the spells act when you’ve cast them. The system for what they call spell crafting is one of the most impressive parts of Mystralia. You’re able to manipulate every little detail of the spell, including the direction it travels, which of the four elements the spell uses, and a ton more. There’s even one called a Trigger which allows a spell you cast to initiate another spell. This will all take up your mana, but replenishing and upgrading how much mana you have is not too difficult a task.
The dungeon I got to explore was set in the arctic part of Mystralia’s world. It wasn’t hard very much at all, but it was the first dungeon of the game. There were simple puzzles and barriers to get past and a couple of mini-bosses before taking on the main baddie. The big guy had a number of mechanics to dodge, block, and divert my way around, and he changed up his tactics as the fight went on like all good bosses. The whole thing was slyly reminiscent of Zelda, but with easier puzzles. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though, as you’ll want to spend more time fighting enemies with the cool spells you’ve created with the modifiers.
And in Sandbox mode, all of these modifiers are unlocked. I’m really glad they added a mode like this because creating spells is super fun, and when you’re let off the leash in Sandbox mode, it gets super interesting. You can choose to chain multiple spells together and take down bosses in one swish of your wand, or get even more creative.
The Story mode is more gradual. You won’t be able to modify your spells right away, and will only be able to use certain elements for each. And the story itself, while I haven’t gotten to see a lot of it, looks like it should be interesting. Ed Greenwood, the writer behind Forgotten Realms, which was used as the groundwork for Dungeons & Dragons and others fantasy worlds, wrote the story of Zia and Mages of Mystralia, so it’s at least promising.
The Mages of Mystralia Kickstarter can be found here. They’ve doubled their goal, raising $36,000 of their $18,000 goal. Borealys Games is planning on a summer release. There’s also a digital prequel comic that you can read leading up to the game.