So much wasted potential.

User Rating: 6.4 | Lost Magic DS
LostMagic has an enormous amount of potential, but it’s all wasted.

You are Isaac, a young mage who receives a magic wand from his father. An evil Diva of Twilight threatens the world and only you can save it. Story is actually more interesting than I just made it sound like with many different characters, but don’t expect to see any video cutscenes or voice acting. There is text, A LOT of text.

Graphics are not impressive by any means, but the use of colors is rich and they help to bring this world a little more alive. Sound in terms of music is good, but the sound effects could have been more varied.

Gameplay sounds pretty simple, because you use only your stylus, L-trigger and control pad: all four buttons are totally omitted. Be warned: this game is not about exploration. It’s purely about strategic battles using your stylus to create magic spells and ordering your army of previously captured monsters around the map.

Drawing spells with the stylus is a huge part of the game and some of the spells require quite a lot of practice to master. Unfortunately there is no practice mode what so ever, so you have to learn them during battles. This means lots of trial and error creating a steep learning curve to LostMagic. Game doesn’t pause while you are trying to draw the spell and in tight spots it may very well be game over if you draw the spell wrong two times in a row. This happens because there are no melee attacks what so ever in LostMagic. Also when there’s a lot of movement on the screen and you’re in a hurry, the frame rate drops and makes drawing the spell even more difficult than it already is.

The biggest source of frustration is that for some unknown reason there is a strict time limit during battles and if your time runs out it’s game over. This would be a lot more tolerable, if after a failed battle you could keep your experience points and captured monsters, but no: you start all over again from your last save point and get zero points of experience and zero captured monsters. I simply cannot see the point in having a strict time limit during these real time battles.

Very early on you’ll learn a spell which you use to capture monsters in order to create your own army from them. The game doesn’t force you to capture a certain amount of beasts during missions, so if you don’t want to capture monsters it will make your life a lot more difficult a few missions later. For this reason I had to start the game again from the start after playing for two hours. Again this would not be a problem, if it just would be possible to play previous missions again in order to get more monsters and experience points. But for some reason this is not an option.

Strict time limit and inability to play previous missions again spoiled my gaming experience. I’m very disappointed: so much potential and all of it was wasted just because of a few frustrating gameplay issues.