Do you want to be a mage, eh? Well maybe you don’t but D’arc sure does! In fact he secretly dreams of being the most powerful mage ever! It is his initiation day and he has three very tough tasks to complete. D’arc is going to have to get the help of some reluctant creatures and possibly even outsmart a few of them as well – without them corrupting him in the process. But he can do it! Right?
Himalaya Studios Reign of the Elements: Mage’s Initiation is a point and click adventure game reminiscent of the old Sierra type games (only much much easier!) It also reminded me a lot of the Quest for Glory. series. Along with solving puzzles, D’arc will have to use his magical abilities to fight several creatures in his journey. And guess what! There is a battle difficulty mode for people like me who hate/suck at fighting and prefer to just solve the puzzles – or for those that want a nice challange. The battling isn’t a huge part of the game anyway, but a great way to get supplies and money. As well as leveling up D’arc of course.
Mage’s Initiation has a few RPG elements too. You can’t buy weapons or armor (you’re a mage why would you need that stuff??) Instead, you find runes and gems that you place on a magic conductor that gives you different stat increases etc. You also level up by fighting enemies and completing tasks.
Your magic depends on what element you pick in the beginning of the game. The masters give you a quiz to take that will pick it for you, but ultimately you have final say. I ended up with Air magic. The elemental style you pick doesn’t greatly affect the game outcome, it just changes how you solve certain puzzles and adds an element specific side quest - adding some replay value!
The game is pretty straightforward since you have to solve the three tasks in a specific order. There is also only one way to solve the puzzles per element, however, there are a couple times where you can make a moral decision about the characters you meet. Now these decisions don’t greatly change anything in the game – other than some angry comments from your teachers – however! I have been told that the choices you made will carry over and affect the next games in the series so keep that in mind.
I liked the characters in the game, they have a lot of personality and some can be quite quirky, especially the Air Element teacher. The voice acting was great as well. The graphics were a nice blend of old school and current gen sprites. The game is rather lighthearted and at times silly and very serious. Just like the old Sierra games were. Oh and expect to die as well! It will happen. But fortunately Mage’s Initiation autosaves often so you don’t have to start back to far.
I found the puzzles to be quite challenging in Mage’s Initiation. Some were pretty clear and straightforward where as others I needed a lot of help figuring out. It would be nice if there was some sort of hint system set up. Even something as simple as talking to your teachers and they could say “he maybe you should look here..” You can talk to different professors and people in the mage’s tower but they mainly just give you history and tell you about the things involved with the task, not so much what to do. Also, be warned, there will be a lot of “oh you need to get this thing for the your initiation task? Well why don’t you first do these 8 things for me!” Fortunately for me, I never minded fetch quests!
I think Reign of the Elements: Mage’s Initiation could have benefited from some more side quests as well. There is one main side quest that will gain you a nice gem, and a couple things that you can do for the guy at the tavern, but that’s really it. The shop keepers will ask you to get stuff for them which can be obtained by searching the forest of killing enemies.
Overall I really liked Reign of the Elements: Mage’s Initiation. It was fun, challenging, and had some great replay value. Also the addition of battling makes it different than other adventure games, and make it feel a bit more like an RPG. I just wish there were more hints offered and a few more side missions. But I am still excited to see what is offered in the following games as well! I give it 4 outta 5 Ankhs.
So do you still want to be a mage? Well you can! Kind of…well anyway Reign of the Elements: Mage’s Initiation. Is available on Steam for only $14.99! check out more info here on the Himalayan Studios site! Check it out, it’s the closest to Harry Potter as you’re gonna get!
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