The Magic Obelisk Review
The Magic Obelisk box art
System: Wii (WiiWare) Review Rating Legend
Dev: Game Arts 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Game Arts 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Dec. 28, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Throughout the years puzzle games have been known to come in all shapes and sizes. In one you may be tasked with fitting different shape blocks together in order to make completed lines disappear, and in another you might be spinning colored spheres into various formations. More often than not, though, these games are completely focused on the act of completing puzzles and have no story or other motivations to speak of other than just finishing more puzzles in order to move on to the next ones. The Magic Obelisk, on the other hand, attempts to deliver both a touching and thoughtful story as well as some deviously clever puzzles to overcome, and, for the most part, largely succeeds on both accounts.

The Magic Obelisk screenshot

The story in The Magic Obelisk is a simple one that tends to skew towards a younger audience, but it has a good message and is conveyed rather well through conversations with other characters and cutscenes. It follows Lukus, an eager tree spirit looking to help as many people as he can on his quest to eventually find the perfect place to settle down and take root. Tree spirits look like young children but upon stepping into the sunlight will transform into a tree, providing shade and protection from the elements to anyone in need thereafter.

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While this may sound like a standard video game story, there are a couple things that occur during the course of the game story-wise that I didn't expect out of a five dollar downloadable title aimed at a younger audience that really impressed me. If you want to avoid any spoilers involving this game's story, skip the rest of this paragraph and the next one now. [**Begin spoiler alert**]With all of the good that Lukus is doing for others throughout his journey while in his humanoid form, he begins to question whether or not he should turn into a tree. The reasoning behind this is that he'd then have to stop directly helping these other people who are seemingly in constant need.

The Magic Obelisk screenshot

At another point in the game Lukus also comes into contact with one particular robot, robots being a recurring enemy type in this game, that is planting seeds and making a garden. A few levels after this it is discovered you are helping a bear to find a birthday present for his mother and you decide to raid this robot's garden so that he can give his mother a bouquet of flowers. Instead of the game simply moving you along to the next level, the camera sticks around a little longer and actually shows the robot discovering his recently decimated garden. At this point viewing the reaction of the heartbroken robot actually made me feel somewhat bad about what I'd done and gave me a feeling of sympathy for what is otherwise just supposed to be one of the enemies in the game. {**End spoiler alert**] While it may not impress everyone as much as it did me, it is still hard to believe that a five dollar downloadable title aimed at younger players would even be attempting to tackle deeper, thought-provoking issues such as these, but it is a very welcome surprise.

Much like the game's story, the gameplay itself in The Magic Obelisk is also pretty well done. Every level in the game involves getting Lukus from where he starts off to either a goal point or to whatever item he is currently looking for in order to complete it. Since Lukus is also in search of the perfect place to take root, he doesn't want to step into the sunlight until he is ready to become a tree. This is why the entire crux of the puzzles in the game is you trying to connect the shadows and shade provided by objects so that Lukus can proceed on his journey in the safety of darkness.

The Magic Obelisk screenshot

Screenshots / Images
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