REVIEW: Secret of Magia

Mar
13

REVIEW: Secret of Magia

An action RPG Maker game that needs a lot of improvement before it becomes worthwhile to buy.

Released: Steam
Type: Single-player
Genre: RPG, Action
Publisher: Senpai Studios
Release date: 22 Aug, 2015

Intro

Secret Of Magia is an action RPG where you have to clear some dungeons and defeat the bosses in it. There are 4 dungeons and 5 boss fights for you to beat in this game that tries to imitate games in the classic era.

Graphics

The game tends to have unnecessarily huge maps with nothing in it. Houses are very huge and placed very far from each other – it’s as if you are living in a giant village. Doing a full map exploration also takes too much time and doesn’t feel rewarding since there is hardly anything hidden that you can get from this. Most indoor maps also tend to look similar to each other – I even noticed one building that is a complete copy of each other.

Story

The game tries to emulate the “story” from the classic games. The prologue reminds me of the old Zelda games where you are sent to the world with brief instructions, except that this time, some convenient memos will direct you where to go. There isn’t much story in the game and for an RPG Maker game, this makes it lost its value since most games tend to be similar.

The Game

Gameplay

One thing that I liked about the game is that it gives you freedom in exploration. There are 4 dungeons that you can tackle in any order that you want. However, the game’s poor design makes the players think that they must be completed in order, especially with the linear location and long backtracking that you must go through if you decide to leave the “first dungeon” for the last. Moreover, you also need to find a way to unlock all dungeons, which is impossible to do if you don’t know what you are doing.

Most features that are introduced in the game are very shallow. The tutorial covers a basic explanation about Hookshot, a skill that can be used to reach the other side of a cliff. However, there is only one area apart from the tutorial area where you can use this ability, making it useless. The same goes for the crafting system. Despite the game showing a promising concept of a simple “minigame” and crafting level, there is only one set of gears that you can use it for.

A lot of mechanics are available yet forgotten as you play the game. Hookshot is one of them.

Combat

Enemies scale on level up, and it scales weirdly in this game. Instead of making them beatable in a less or equal number of attacks, they become stronger instead, requiring you to do more attacks to beat them. On top of that, they also have more damage, turning the seemingly-easy game into a difficult one. I ended up restarting the game because of this and tried not to defeat any enemies instead.

Although bosses have varied attack patterns, most of them can be defeated in the same way. Killing the bosses by spamming your attack button while tanking their damage is also possible at some point, especially if you use potions to beat them. There is one boss where you have to dodge its attack, but it soon becomes the same game of spamming your attack button after finding the perfect position to stand. All bosses feel very rigid and repetitive because of this and they don’t leave lasting impressions.

Spamming your attack button is the common strategy to defeat most bosses.

Length and Difficulty

The in-game clock states that I finished the game in ~1h. The game’s difficulty depends on your level, which will be easier the lower your level is. You also can spam potions to cheese the bosses – the game can generate an infinite amount of money for you to afford the potions through save-scumming.

Problems

Some exits are not obvious enough, making it hard to notice unless if you know what to expect. The game also tries to introduce more controls than necessary, making it confusing to remember all of them. Lastly, some minor bugs are available in the game, where you can pick up an infinite amount of key items from the ground and a quest giver that somehow changed in one of the quests.

Specs

Intel Core i5-9300H 2.40GHz, 8GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650

Verdict

Despite the huge map and odd intro, the game shows potential at first with its combat system. It was fun slashing the enemies and the additional controls makes me think that the combat will be complex at some point, revolving around these controls. However, it was soon ruined by the enemy scaling, which shouldn’t be there in the first place. Dungeons and combats also feel the same most of the time and the additional controls become useless since you hardly use them in the game. Moreover, the content between dungeons becomes shorter after each dungeon that the game just decided to place the last two dungeons next to each other. I don’t think it’s ready for a commercial release just yet and could benefit from some polishing.

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