Magician's Quest: Mysterious Times Updated Hands-On

We don the wizard hat and wave the magical wand as we explore the curious world of Magician's Quest.

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The magical open-ended game originally called Little Magicians in Japan is now coming to North America. Magician's Quest: Mysterious Times feels very much like Animal Crossing, in which you take up residence in a colorful and wacky town, go fishing, catch bugs, and water plants. The difference here is that you can also learn to cast spells. We didn't run into the equivalent of Tom Nook in our playtime at Konami's Gamer Night event last week, but we did like the cutesy exterior and the no-goals approach in this whimsical game.

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Magic classes are scheduled through the game's day to teach you how to cast an assortment of odd spells, some of which will help you find treasure, and some of which are purely there for giggles--such as the flatulence spell. Spells can be cast only when your wizard hat is on, so to switch back and forth, you draw a tiny circle around your character and poof! It's magic time. Each spell consists of multiple bizarre-looking symbols, listed in your menu like a recipe once you've learned it. There are five categories of symbols, and each category has 15 unique images. The treasure-hunt spell was the first one we learned, and once we had a spell in our repertoire, we were able to cast it by selecting the corresponding symbols. Once the spell is cast, you can assign it to your wand and go around town tapping the ground to hunt for treasure. After finding absolutely nothing, we cast a cloud spell, which lifted our wizard onto a fluffy white cloud hammock. We were told that the spell also puts neighboring folks to sleep, but given that we weren't close to anyone, we didn't get to see that in full effect.

In class, you'll meet fellow magic casters, and it seems that you can even develop close relationships with them. We received an overly friendly note from a boy who sat next to our wand-wielding magician. His intentions seemed sketchy, so we quickly ran out of the classroom and decided to practice some spells in the yard. If you have friends who also own the game, you can visit each other's town and hang out together. You'll be able to learn spells from them, and even cast joint spells. It looks like there are plenty of items to trade for as well as purchase, so there's a never-ending list of things to collect.

We could have easily spent hours fooling around and mingling with the locals in this adorable Nintendo DS game. If you're ready for a little bit of magic and fun, check out Magician's Quest: Mysterious Times when it is released on May 5.

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