|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Konami||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Konami||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: May 11, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
Although no game exists in a vacuum, when a title deliberately imitates another, one can't help but make a direct comparison. Such a comparison can be made between Animal Crossing and Magician's Quest: Mysterious Times.
At their most basic level, these games are identical. Each one involves a new resident in a town who has to gather fruits, fish, and bugs to make money as well as make new friends. Both games even have a similar visual style. But there are a few important differences between the two, and the more I played this game, the more subtle differences I noticed.
When you first start the game up, the similarities to Animal Crossing will be very noticeable. You begin by talking to a stranger about yourself, and you are able to give yourself a name as well as the new school you are about to attend. However, you can directly choose how your face looks in the beginning, which is a nice option. The game also lets you know early on that everything will be in real-time, so if you are playing at 1 a.m. in your time, it will be 1 a.m. in the land of Magicians Quest. Additionally, you will have to visit this land regularly if you want to keep your studies (as well as your social relationships) in good standing.
Once you get into town, youll be able to tour the dormitory as well as your room, which is very small and empty. You can decorate your space with different furniture and accessories and eventually upgrade your space entirely. However, to do all this you are going to need money.
Getting money in the game is very simple: sell what you find. You can take on a part-time job for one of the shopkeepers to make even more money, but her jobs usually entail finding a specific item around town, so its not too stressful. Doing jobs for the shopkeeper also nets you some special items, so it is worth it to do some specific jobs every once and awhile.
Even though decorating your space and making some cash is how you might spend a lot of your time, the main focus of the gameplay is the magic education element. As I mentioned above, the game revolves around your time at a magic school, and learning magic makes up a big component of the gameplay.
I have to say that at first the magic aspect of the game completely turned me off. In order to learn spells, you will have to attend classes, and once you get past the first 20 classes or so, that act as the tutorial, you have already lost two hours all you have learned are the basics (like how to activate your wand and get around town.)
After the tutorial lessons are over, you will be able to learn a new handful of spells everyday. Most of these spells are completely useless at first, and they are specific to situations which may or may not occur later in the game (depending on what your goals are.) Since the game takes the same open-world approach as Animal Crossing, the gameplay is self-directed, and you can just leave the magic lessons alone if you want.
If you do decide to stick with it, though, the magic lessons can be a lot of fun. Youll learn a lot of different kinds of spells, including social spells which can improve your relationships with your classmates. The social aspect in Magicians Quest is actually a lot deeper than the social aspects of Animal crossing, and you can even cast love spells over classmates with whom you have a strong relationship.