Magic Pengel: The Quest for Color Review
Those intrigued by the game's unique concept or style should at least give Magic Pengel a try.
If nothing else, Agetec's Magic Pengel: The Quest for Color can be described as quirky. Magic Pengel is a one-of-a-kind title, partially because of its art direction, and partially because of its incredibly unique character-creation system. Whether or not you'll take to Magic Pengel will hinge largely on your tolerance for the game's simplistic fighting system and your appreciation of the game's bizarre, distinctly Japanese style.
The story of Magic Pengel takes place in a Pokémon-esque world where people use Pengels, small fairylike creatures with paintbrushes on their rear ends, to draw doodles, which are crude drawings that jump off the page and magically turn into fully three-dimensional beings. Those with the skills to draw doodles--these people are called doodlers--regularly enter their doodles into friendly, nonlethal combat against other doodles. In this world, you play as an anonymous doodler who befriends a young girl named Zoe and her brother Taro and helps them on their quest to find their father and vanquish the evil government that desires control over all the doodles. The story can be a touch convoluted at times, and it has some none-too-subtle spiritual overtones that may rub some gamers the wrong way, but it's nothing worse than what you'd find in your average bit of anime, and a deep understanding and appreciation of the story isn't necessary to enjoy Magic Pengel as a whole.
The most fully developed aspect of Magic Pengel: The Quest for Color is the doodle-creation system. Magic Pengel uses a unique system that is able to turn simple two-dimensional drawings into fully animated 3D models. You start off with just a basic body and a choice of four colors for your doodle, but as you win competitions against other doodles, you'll gain access to more colors and more types of body parts. The size, shape, and placement of parts like arms, legs, and wings will determine your doodle's stats, the way it moves, and how it generally performs in combat, while the colors dictate which kinds of moves your doodle will be most proficient at. You'll eventually be able to have a stable of up to six different doodles, and you can add or remove elements from your doodles whenever you please. Nothing is set in stone with the doodles, and if you don't like what you've created so far, you can scrap it entirely and start anew.
The whole doodle-creation system is incredibly flexible, and the form that your doodles take is truly limited only by what you're able to think up. It might've been nice if the game had included support for a USB mouse, which would've given you more precision when drawing your doodles, but the analog stick on the Dual Shock 2 controller works well enough. The whole process is downright fascinating, and you'll likely spend a large portion of your time while playing Magic Pengel just tweaking the design of your doodles.
The combat system in Magic Pengel is essentially a glorified version of rock-paper-scissors, though with just a smidgen more strategy. The action is turn-based, and on each turn you have four options. You can attack, block, use magic, or charge. Attack, block, and magic are all offensive attacks, and each is strong against one kind of move and weak against another. So, for example, if you choose magic and your opponent chooses attack, your opponent will sustain damage and you'll go unscathed. If both you and your opponent choose the same type of move, both of you will execute your move and sustain damage accordingly. The charge move is outside this little loop, and though it leaves you vulnerable to any kind of attack, you'll regain a few hit points, and your next move will pack a little extra wallop.