Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Mage's Initiation
 BLOG ABOUT THIS

Preview: Mage's Initiation channels Quest for Glory

1:30 PM on 03.07.2013 // Fraser Brown
  @FraserIBrown

A pyromaniac's first steps

The adventure/roleplaying game is one of my favorite hybrids, next to the Liger, and undoubtedly the first series that the mind conjures up when thinking of this genre is Sierra's Quest for Glory titles (other than the fifth game, an action RPG). Puzzles and puns mixed with classes and combat, the two genres made excellent bedfellows. 

Lamentably, neither the franchise or the genre really made it out of the '90s, and publishers weren't exactly keen to support anything with lots of pointing and clicking. That's why we have Kickstarter now, right?

Himalaya Studios, the team behind several Sierra remakes, is working on a brand spanking new adventure in the vein of Quest for Glory, called Mage's Initiation. I recently got to take the alpha demo for a spin -- a very, very short spin -- with one of the classes, and I've come away with the desire to play more, if only because the press demo was absolutely tiny.

Mage's Initiation (PC)
Developer: Himalaya Studios
Publisher: Himalaya Studios
Released: February, 2014

The peaceful land of Iginor is about to get a nasty shock. Evil is afoot. Isn't that always the case with these fantasy adventures? It's never the threat of people being far too nice that sends the protagonist off on some grand journey. In this case the protagonist is D'arc, a teen mage. He'll be off gallivanting on some important errand for his masters throughout most of the game, but for the purposes of the demo, he's just learning the ropes from the safety of the mage's tower.

Mage's Initiation will feature four mage classes, each corresponding to the elements of earth, wind, fire, and water. The different spellcasters come with unique spells, strengths and weaknesses, and personalities -- the point is to play the game more than once, clearly. I didn't have such a choice, however, and was restricted to playing a fire mage. It's okay, I thought as I consoled myself, I would have chosen that anyway.

D'arc's home is a rather wondrous place, with the three rooms being showcased all suitably elemental. The library area looks like an indoor forest, with tree-like bookshelves and mossy tables with grubs that protect the parchment; the training room is all stone and flames, with armor and weapons covering the walls, and even a wee dragon standing guard. There's also the beautiful fountain room, and aquatic paradise with aquariums for walls and a large central water feature. 

Everything is presented in detailed VGA-era art that sent me back twenty years. It's nostalgic, but still very easy on the eyes. During dialogue, character portraits pop up next to the text revealing more realistic visions of the characters complete with lip-syncing. The voiced dialogue is absent right now, presumably because it has yet to be recorded.

I was presented with two challenges in my brief playthrough, the first being a traditional yet satisfying puzzle. I was given a conductor, a device that allowed me to increase my magical aptitude, and was tasked with activating a gem which would power it.

The puzzle retained the elemental theme established from the get go and was both simple and logical. With it, a divide between the different elemental mages was hinted at, and it served as an unobtrusive tutorial.

Mage's Initiation may look like it's just popped out of the '90s, but it has been designed with some modern sensibilities. Most notably, the robust interface and the way players can customize how they interact with the world make for a less obfuscated experience. You like the classic "verb coin"? No problem, toggle that on and you can employ that for the rest of the game. If you'd rather scroll through potential actions you can select that instead. You could even just hover over the bar at the top of the screen and choose your action from there. It's all exceedingly convenient. I'm a verb coin man, myself.

With the gem powered up, I was able to equip it and reap its benefits. Only two gems can be equipped at a time, and this one gave me a minor boost in my magic attribute. Continuing my task led to me gaining my first level, where I was able to spend three points on my strength, magic, intelligence, or constitution. I like my mages buff, so I pumped it all into strength and then drank some creatine. 

Level 2 mages get to kill lots of goblins, it turns out, and that was my second challenge. Battles take place in real-time, and I could direct D'arc to move around the battlefield, avoiding the nasty midgets' maces and arrows, even hiding behind a bush at one point, while casting three different spells. I was able to select my spells using hot keys and then fire them off with the right mouse button, but I could also just select them directly from the interface. 

The sole combat scenario felt a bit like another puzzle, really. With only two potions -- one for magic, one for health -- and slowly regenerating HP and mana, I had to be thrifty when it came to unleashing my arcane onslaught, waiting for the right moment and using the right spells. Even the environment came into play as I led them around in circles, and, as I mentioned above, hid behind a bush.  

While I did find myself enjoying the fight, the controls are a wee bit fidgety and not particularly responsive, so one would hope that this aspect will be tightened up over the next year. Even at a paltry level 2, I did feel like I had quite a few options when it came to dispatching my tiny green foes, though, and no small amount of power, so it will certainly be interesting to see if Mage's Initiation can keep the momentum going. 

With the tiny slice of the game I played, I'm cautiously excited for Mage's Initiation. I confess that this is as much due to my love for Quest for Glory as it is due to the demo, but it appears to have some substantial depths for players to plumb and certainly nails the sorely missed, by me, VGA aesthetic found in Sierra adventures, among others. 
Photo Gallery: (10 images)
Click to zoom - browse by swipe, or use arrow keys



Fraser Brown, Former Contributor
 Follow Blog + disclosure FraserIBrown Tips
Fraser Brown is that bearded, bespectacled Scotsman that covers PC gaming who is not Alasdair Duncan. Got a splinter stuck in his hand nineteen years ago and just left it in there. True story. ... more   |   staff directory





 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Mage's Initiation


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Gravity Rush: The 6th generation game you didn't play

The Witness Review

Waifu Showcase: Rei Ayanami

Gaming's Beautiful People #3: Waifu Warfare (Bloggers Wanted)

Understanding How Street Fighter is Played

Cblogs of 2/05/16 + Digital Preservation

Music Notes: "Tied Down" by Forever Still

Desert Golfing - The Model Mobile Game

Review: Pony Island

Do you even Bebop?

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

KnickKnackMyWack avatarKnickKnackMyWack
So I decided to tinker around with some assets in Source Filmmaker and make a still image. Kind of a Jurassic Park-inspired thing with dino assets from that Ark game. Care to offer some comments, critique, etc.?
LaTerry avatarLaTerry
I think I broke it...
Torchman avatarTorchman
I have joined the discord group! Now I can call your waifu shit in more than one place!
TheBlondeBass avatarTheBlondeBass
Everyone's posting about waifus and I'm just here posting a blog about why I enjoy a recent game instead. This is why I'll never be promoted.
Gundy avatarGundy
There is a Spelunker themed dungeon in Megadimension Neptunia called Neplunker. It even comes complete with Spelunker music and dying from falling off waist high ledges! 10/10 would game over again.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Reminder: We have an unofficial chat page on Discord! It's fast and easy to sign up and join, too! Just create an account and click this link to join: https://discord.gg/0koh7AdmqhhpYQe4 (Expires after 24 hours)
The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
You know among all the bosses I've fought I didn't expect Vagina Tooth Dragon to go down like a bitch.
TheKodu avatarTheKodu
News Tip off for anyone who wants it. Seems Binding of Issac has been banned from the Apple IOS app store.
Nathan D avatarNathan D
Waifu Wars piece is up. But also, I got the Trails of Cold Steel limited edition in the mail the other day and just now looked at the pin you get with it. Wow, that horse is one smug looking son of a bitch. Kind of makes me want to punch him...
ScionVyse avatarScionVyse
You can now buy Naruto movies on Steam. At least sell some good movies if you're going to get into anime Steam.
Niwannabe avatarNiwannabe
All right, you guys, time for the important questions. Fuck, Marry, Kill: Tharja, Sully and Sumia?
Fuzunga avatarFuzunga
The time has come for me to play Earthbound.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
As the Ultimate Waifu gazed down upon the Earth from her Celestial Throne, she sighed, for mainly shit-tier waifus were being chosen. But one fairy gazed into the stars, declaring her love, sacrificing dreams and spiders on an alter of glitter for her.
ikiryou avatarikiryou
When a new Destiny article comes out
Alphadeus avatarAlphadeus
Thanks to my girlfriend, we own a PS4 now. ID is Ikaruszino. I don't own any multiplayer games (yet) or have PS Plus (yet :p), but feel free to add me so in the future maybe we can play something.
Bardley avatarBardley
My absolute finest moment in all of Metal Gear. Also, the first time I had driven a truck.
JohnSmith123 avatarJohnSmith123
Ok. That EDF 4.1 game is really really good. You can even sing and shout "EDF!" with your soldiers! Holy crackers.
StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
I want to goad my wife into playing RE Revelations 2 with me but I don't know if she can deal with the whole 3D spatial movement thing, even if she plays the supporting character.
Lawman avatarLawman
Heads-up: Mega Man soundtracks are free right now at the Capcom Store. Guessing it's a glitch. All of them are digital downloads, except for Mega Man 9, which is a physical CD that requires money for shipping. Link in comments.
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
My Brawl in the Family books finally came! It took a while but Matthew (guy who made the series) has been super busy so I totally understand. =D
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -