If you were born in the late 1980′s to mid 1990′s then you (including me) are blessed with the golden era of RPG (Role Playing Games) gaming through the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Lots of RPG’s have spawned in that particular console, including Zelda, Breath of Fire and the legendary Final Fantasy series. If you love the 16 bit RPG goodness, then you should download Mage Gauntlet ($2.99 via iTunes) because this game is Rocketcat Game’s love letter to this era. And it is a rather sweet homage to the genre.
Lexi – the Anti Magician
Most RPG’s are set up in a familiar plot — one of which is: you are searching for apprenticeship and while on a rather simple mission, you are pushed through a series of events that gives you no choice but to get rid of the bad guy and save the world.
This is the case of Lexi, the heroine in the game. However, Lexi is incapable of conjuring magic, although born in a magical community. She does, however, can use a gauntlet (given by the teacher wizard) that absorbs magic so she can use them.
Somebody plant the peashooters! Oh wait...
The Magic that Mage Gauntlet Brings
The most interesting in mage gauntlet is the way magic is played. As someone who can only store magical spells in a gauntlet, it only follows that there is a limit to spells you can carry — four at a time, to be exact. These magical spells are are obtained from certain containers and enemies. Oh, and these spells come at random, too. Because the magic spells you get are random and limited, magic is super valued and you are not in a position to repeatedly cast your favorite spell. You are therefore, must resort to saving them up for tougher battles and hacking and slashing the enemies, which fortunately, Lexi is good at. If you are to cast a spell, though, the GUI for spell casting is easy — you pause the game, select the spell you want to cast, select a target and tap on cast, and the game resumes.
Another great feature is the item system. Various items are found in the game and many of those increase the likelihood of spawning certain type of magic or boosting the attributes of the hero. The game also features hats… and oodles of hats. These hats are found from enemy drops and these do not add to Lexi’s stats, but rather are for aesthetic purposes only.
A pet pig that boosts magic!
A role playing video game is not complete without the leveling system. Each level up gives you point to distribute to three of Lexi’s atributes — magic, vigor and luck.
However, my favorite in Mage Gauntlet is the humor. Mage Gauntlet is not afraid to get silly. At one stage, the game pokes fun of the “kill x number of enemies” missions that most RPG’s offer. Lexi’s a smart mouth lass, too, and I found myself laughing at her remarks.
Are you a perfectionist?
Mage Gauntlet offer tons of replayability, but it only depends on how much of a perfectionist you are.
If you are someone who dashes through enemies, ignore secrets and does not like collecting stuff, Mage Gauntlet does not offer much.
For those who are completists or perfectionists, finishing the game, opens up Master Mode, where there is more secret areas, more unforgiving monsters, more loot and an alternate ending. And of course, there are hats to collect. Lots and lots of hats.
The Problem with Bosses
The only problem I found with Mage Gauntlet is that the strategy to defeat all bosses is the same — kill minion that holds magic, cast magic at boss, rinse and repeat. I would like to use my brains next time.
Summing it all up
Mage Gauntlet is a super fun homage to the 16 bit RPG era. I enjoyed it so much and I am not afraid to recommend this. We could use an iPad version, but the iPhone app is cool in 2x zoom as it is because the game is a pixellated masterpiece to begin with (Update: 12/15/2011 – it now supports the iPad! Yay!). Also, I would love a sequel to this. 5/5.
Mage Gauntlet at a Glance:
Pros: Awesome pixel art, superb magic and combat system, humor, tons of content for hard core players, tons and tons of HATS!
Cons: Bosses are defeated in the same fashion
The Point: Mage Gauntlet is definitely a must have for those who love role playing games.
Download Link: Mage Gauntlet – Rocketcat Games