By Joshua Temblett
Magi Nation is a game directed at the pre teen demographic. What does that mean to you? That means there’s no communication between players whatsoever and that the only other people playing the game are children whom have yet to embrace puberty in all its greatness. Yes, I agree, they are lucky. I remember when I was a preteen who lacked adolescent, oh the happy days. I remember one particular summer whereby I would watch the anime series Digimon, everyday, at the same time, rain or shine. Yes…you could say I was a sad preteen. That’s beside the point though; Magi Nation Battle for the Moonlands is based on the TV children’s series, Magi Nation. Despite what you may think (you’re probably smashing your head on your keyboard right now, pondering why you ever clicked on this review) Magi Nation isn’t half bad and to be honest, the gameplay is actually fairly addictive for a children’s game. Overall Magi Nation is a fairly solid game.
First things first, like said above, in Magi Nation Battle for the Moonlands, there is no communication with other players. This really baffles me. How come a piece of interactive media published by Disney, Club Penguin (in which you participate in various mini games), has a communication system, and Magi Nation Battle for the Moonlands (a MMORPG) doesn’t? To add to that, in Magi Nation you don’t get to see any other players apart from yourself. The only time you get to see another player is in the PVP (Player Versus Player). I’m not going to lie; this totally ruins the experience for the game. They could at least have had a safe chat system, whereby there is a predefined menu of words and greetings.
In this world of unspoken communication, there are well designed NPC avatars and nicely drawn 2D backgrounds. The graphics suit the small world; however there is one down point to them, the backgrounds are constantly repeated, meaning there is no real variation of backgrounds in each themed world. This does not ruin the gameplay at all, as the backgrounds are beautifully done and are fairly relaxing. The graphics will definitely draw you into the game, as they are full of style and they suit the world you play in. Since we’re talking about presentation, I would also like to mention the music that echoes through this wonderful world. The music, like the graphics, suits the world it inhabits, with music that absolutely matches the areas you explore in the game. Overall the presentation is visually stunning in Magi Nation, and this makes the game a joy to dive into and play.
The game play in Magi Nation is fairly addictive, and this is clearly the stand out point in the game. In Magi Nation, you basically run around certain themed levels (for example, a water themed level), fighting the monsters that inhabit these levels to obtain Animate Shards (which can then be transformed into Dream Creatures, monsters that fight beside you in battle) and to do the quests. One quest for example may have you defeating all the monsters in a certain area in a time limit, or finding a treasure chest of some sort. The quests don’t vary that much and can get fairly boring sometimes, however, for some strange reason, you do get a desire to complete these quests. When exploring the beautifully designed worlds in Magi Nation, you’ll come across wild Dream Creatures. These beasts will take any chance they have to inflict a certain amount of pain onto your avatar. When you encounter one of these wild Dream Creatures, you will be sent into a turn based battle. These turn based battles use an ATB style system from the Final Fantasy games. In combat you have to wait for a bar to fill up, once the bar fills up you can perform an action. I’ve got to say, that this is a fairly refreshing take on a MMORPG battle system. The battles are fairly short; however they don’t really pose much of a challenge. The thing is though, the battles aren’t short enough. You can get easily bored and agitated as you watch your bar fill up so slowly, that you feel old, useless, and fairly dead inside, by the time the little bar fills up. I must say though, that the turn based concept for this MMORPG is a very original and fulfilling idea. It’s nice to see a MMORPG which isn’t all about clicking on enemies and then watching your puny avatar slash away at them dealing next to no damage to them. Overall the gameplay is fairly solid and should amuse children who enjoy the Magi Nation series.
The question is though; if you’re an adult (or someone who is still in/beyond their puberty years) should you play Magi Nation? My answer to that is, if you feel like you want something new and exciting, and you have spare minutes on your hands, take it for a whirl. You may find it’s child like appeal unappealing, enough so that the gameplay is underlooked, or you may well find that beneath the lovely 2D graphics and the pre teen storyline, there’s a wonderful game just waiting to be tried. If you lack any other reason to play this game, then I recommend playing this game just so you can reanalyse your opinion on the MMORPG genre.