An Incredible Spell-Creation System Elevates Mages Of Mystralia Above Being A Zelda Clone

Turn a basic spell into a five-fireball homing attack that casts itself again on impact.

24 Comments

Games have allowed players to create their own spells before--that was the basic concept of Magicka--but I've never seen a system quite like the one featured in Mages of Mystralia.

On the surface, Mystralia plays out a lot like a Zelda game. You set out on a quest that has you squaring off against enemies, smashing jars to restore health and mana, and collecting treasure. You'll face puzzles where you have to find a way to light a hard-to-reach torch, avoid traps, or defeat all of the enemies in a room before you can proceed. It's fairly standard fare in that regard.

Where Mystralia becomes something more than a Zelda clone is with its spells. Rather than a hookshot, bow and arrow, or bombs, you acquire four different magic spells: a fireball, shield, electric melee attack, and a ground-freeze. On their own, these are extremely simple, as a fireball merely sits in place until it makes contact with the enemy, while the melee is a basic cleave.

Over the course of the game, you'll earn a wide variety of modifications for these spells, allowing you to potentially create millions of combinations according to developer Borealys Games. No doubt many of those are only slight variations, but they can be substantially different, and the level of customization at your disposal is impressive.

Early on in my time with the game, the modifications were as simple as making the fireball shoot in a line. Before long, I could shoot multiple fireballs at once or cause them to fire out at a curve (which will undoubtedly be useful for puzzles), or turn my shield into a dash that leaves behind a clone to attract enemies.

These mods are lumped into three categories: behaviors, augments, and triggers. You're not limited to using any one mod, and it's the ways in which you can combine these--particularly the Impact trigger, which causes a spell to then cast another one once it hits something--where things get exciting. Using this, I created an attack that launched five homing fireballs out in a line. Upon hitting something, it would then trigger this same spell to cast again, creating a devastating loop. I also watched a developer create one where you'd dash to create a clone that casts three fireballs that bounce off walls, and those would trigger another spell that causes boulders to fall from the ceiling. (You can see all of this in the video above.)

While you have a good deal of freedom in creating spells, there are some limitations. The customization screen presents you with a sort of grid centered around a spell. The spell and each mod has arrows pointing in certain directions, and in order to take effect, mods need to be connected back to the spell itself in some way. This turns spell-creation into a puzzle of its own.

No Caption Provided
Gallery image 1Gallery image 2Gallery image 3Gallery image 4Gallery image 5Gallery image 6Gallery image 7Gallery image 8Gallery image 9Gallery image 10

Your mana pool also forces you to account for more than just what would be cool on paper. Everything from the basic melee spell to the crazy ones I outlined above cost some amount of mana. Creating a hugely powerful one that consumes all of your mana can leave you vulnerable, as a dash or shield spell then can't be used to escape danger until you regenerate enough mana. Spells that trigger additional spells can easily suck up your mana, as each subsequent cast requires mana.

Even with these restrictions, it's still possible to "break" the game. After trying a more traditional approach against a boss at the end of my demo, I equipped the fire spell I described above and instantly wiped out the boss's remaining health (which was still nearly 75 percent full). That might sound like a recipe for an exceedingly easy game. Business development manager Dan Adelman, who is working with Borealys after helping shepherd indie darling Axiom Verge to success, noted that such a spell needs to be well-timed (in addition to well-designed) in order to legitimately one-hit the boss. Even so, Borealys isn't looking to stomp out these kinds of possibilities.

"If someone can come up with a spell that can do that--like, they think it through and they figured out how to do that, then more power to them," Adelman explained. "But that's why we're doing a lot of beta testing. Since there are potentially millions of spells you can make, we want to see if there is something that's really game-breaking. Being able to one-shot kill a boss isn't really game-breaking if they thought it through. That's kind of the game: can I outsmart the game? But if by doing a spell, you can bypass an entire area [where] you needed this thing and you didn't realize that, that wouldn't be fun."

Even if Mystralia does prove to be a cakewalk if you manage to create incredibly powerful skills, it looks as if experimenting with the spell-creation system will still make for an enjoyable experience. If it can provide a challenging journey over its 15 hours, Mystralia could turn out to be something special.

Please use a html5 video capable browser to watch videos.
This video has an invalid file format.
00:00:00
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to GameSpot's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Now Playing: Mages Of Mystralia: Spellcrafting and Dungeon Gameplay

GameSpot may get a commission from retail offers.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Join the conversation
There are 24 comments about this story
24 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

Avatar image for Dudeman315
Dudeman315

134

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Edited By Dudeman315

Never seen a system like the one from Two Worlds from 2007? Then why are you even writing articles?

Upvote • 
Avatar image for mowens1984
mowens1984

53

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@Dudeman315: Funny, I immediately though about Two Worlds when reading this as well. I remember level stacking fireballs until they were just insane 1 hit boss killing spells.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for DarkAztaroth
DarkAztaroth

253

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 7

User Lists: 0

@Dudeman315: And Ryzom, and a few other games too :P It's fun to customise spells, but yeah, it's not exactly like it has never been done before.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for E-Major
E-Major

50

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

@DarkAztaroth: Tyranny had a spell creation system almost EXACTLY the same too.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for louixiii
LouiXIII

7773

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Cool

Upvote • 
Avatar image for gab8
gab8

51

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 3

User Lists: 0

Dan, this is why you don't create an account and announce yourself in a forum: lots of kids trying to raise attention to themselves by bashing the developers. Still, game looks nice and I appreciate the gesture.

4 • 
Avatar image for dan_adelman
Dan_Adelman

34

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Edited By Dan_Adelman

This is Dan Adelman, the guy quoted in the article. Can't wait for everyone to be able to get their hands on the game! We've actually been doing a ton of beta testing, and it's so much fun seeing people come up with spells that never occurred to us!

BTW, (and apologies if it's inappropriate to mention it here) we're going to be doing a Kickstarter starting Thursday to help us fund the last couple months of polish and extra features we want to add. We'll explain a lot more about how the spellcrafting system works there!

5 • 
Avatar image for ArabrockermanX
ArabrockermanX

3206

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 5

User Lists: 0

Edited By ArabrockermanX

@dan_adelman:

Tip for kickstarter, make sure you can achieve all goals mentioned... Better to aim low publicly(even if you have greater goals) than miss the goals and deal with the backlash... You might also consider a playable demo area for backers.

Best of luck to you, unfortunately some ignorant shits now take offense to indie developers despite the many creative games that have come from small time developers... Independence is both a curse and a blessing.

2 • 
Avatar image for dan_adelman
Dan_Adelman

34

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@ArabrockermanX: Thanks! Yes, we're going to be super careful about that. Always under promise and over deliver!

I, for one, love being independent. Fans are almost across the board super supportive. Having spent 16 years in the corporate gaming world, I can say without any hesitation that the grass is greener on this side. :)

Upvote • 
Avatar image for unight
unight

36

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@dan_adelman: I enjoyed your recent appearance on Kinda Funny, downloaded Axiom Verge on the Vita and have been loving it. Thanks for championing the indie market, been looking forward to this and Chasm very much. Indie's on portables are a perfect match and I hope I can download these on my Vita eventually too or if the Switch is the eventual transition for indie gaming on the go I may have to get one of those eventually.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for dan_adelman
Dan_Adelman

34

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@unight: Thank you! That was a fun interview to do. I almost forgot the cameras were there. It was just like two friends talking about stuff we're passionate about. I was really sorry to see that Colin left KF so soon after I just saw them all together.

And thanks for picking up Axiom Verge and looking forward to Chasm! As I mentioned in the KF interview, I really try hard to work on games that I'm personally excited about, so if you share my taste in games, hopefully you'll like all of the games I work on! :)

2 • 
Avatar image for RS13
RS13

1123

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

@dan_adelman: Your game looks really cool!

3 • 
Avatar image for dan_adelman
Dan_Adelman

34

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

@RS13: Thank you!

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Barighm
Barighm

11406

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 19

User Lists: 0

Sounds cool. I'll keep an eye out.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for chiefwiggum16
chiefwiggum16

2826

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

Edited By chiefwiggum16

How dare you put Zelda in the same sentence as this game? Let the devs prove themselves first for gods sake.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for RS13
RS13

1123

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

@chiefwiggum16: How dare you be so overdramatic.

3 • 
Avatar image for Barighm
Barighm

11406

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 19

User Lists: 0

Edited By Barighm

@chiefwiggum16: Sounds far more interesting though. Not like you'll still be playing Zelda at the end of the year.

5 • 
Avatar image for chiefwiggum16
chiefwiggum16

2826

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 1

User Lists: 0

@Barighm: This is true,...well maybe if they have dlc released!

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Pedro
Pedro

35870

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 64

User Lists: 0

All of that writing about the game but none of it changes how much you have undermined the game by classifying it as a Zelda Clone.

5 • 
Avatar image for ArabrockermanX
ArabrockermanX

3206

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 5

User Lists: 0

Edited By ArabrockermanX

@Pedro: Games that even resemble the same type of game as a popular title will always get the "clone" treatment even when they offer something different...

Upvote • 
Avatar image for dan_adelman
Dan_Adelman

34

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Edited By Dan_Adelman

@Pedro: [Part of the dev team] Yeah, I personally cringe a little at the word "clone" but TBH, I often describe the game as "Legend of Zelda meets Harry Potter". It helps people get a quick grasp of what we're going for, but once they see the game in action, they can see that it's a completely different experience.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for rickjamesia
rickjamesia

680

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 0

User Lists: 0

Edited By rickjamesia

@Pedro: If your product can't stand up to comparisons with similar products, that's no one's fault but your own. Some random news site only seen by a small portion of your potential customers isn't going to change that. Oceanhorn doesn't seem to have been "undermined" by how many times it's been purported as a clone of Zelda.

Upvote • 
Avatar image for Pedro
Pedro

35870

Forum Posts

0

Wiki Points

0

Followers

Reviews: 64

User Lists: 0

@rickjamesia: Allow the readers to draw that conclusion for themselves. By injecting this idea from the get go the author is intentionally creating a bias. The success of a game may or may not be greatly affected by such assertions but it does affect gamers perception.

2 •