Mage Gauntlet is an action RPG that has strong similarities to an old school Nintendo game, meaning it’s 16-bit, fantastically fun, and totally engrossing. It’s actually one of those oldie but goodie games, having originally come out in 2011.
In Mage Gauntlet, you will take on the role of Lexi, a would-be hero on a quest to prove herself. Lexi is equipped with a set of spells and sent to off adventure in a gauntlet, hence the name. As Lexi, the idea is to progress through the game, slaying an array of ever-more-difficult monsters and bosses.
The game has platform style controls with a virtual joystick. Touching on the left side of the screen controls Lexi’s movement while sword (or other weapon) attacks are initiated by tapping on the button on the ride side of the screen.
There’s also a dash attack button, but spells are cast by tapping the magic button on the top right of the page and then targeting an enemy. It’s a process that’s a bit tedious for a game called Mage Gauntlet. Additionally, you can only retain four spells at once you don’t get to choose which spells they are.
Instead, when you slay enemies you will earn magical energy, which translates to a random spell. It might be something useful like a fireball, or it might be something less useful like a time slowing spell. It’s not a bad system, really, especially because it takes into account magical items, which are used to influence the frequency with which you obtain certain abilities. For example, an earth robe might give you bonus earth spells, which means those particular spells would come up more often.
The randomness of the whole thing is actually kind of refreshing because what you get is always a gamble, and because you don’t always have a spell at your fingertips, you need to choose when and where to use your magic. Combat will often come down to timing – it’s important to dodge and strike at the right times to avoid serious damage.
In addition to earning items that can up your spell frequency, you will also come across treasures and trinkets that can enhance your spells in other ways, such as improving crit ratio or damage. There are even pets to get, which bestow bonuses on your character. You get items at a very decent rate in the game, which means your character and your gameplay style will be updated often, so it’s always a dynamic experience.
Mage Gauntlet is level based, which means you will progress through the game using an overall area map. Touch on an area, fight through four different stages, battle a boss, and move on to the next area. That’s all there is to the game, really. You’re just traveling around fighting, but thanks to the magic system, fights are always interesting and since there’s no shortage of loot, the game always stays fun.
This isn’t a particularly long game, but after you beat it you will unlock Master Mode, which adds in more loot, new game areas, and more enemies, so it’s almost like playing a fresh game. There are also Game Center achievements to earn, which will keep you busy.
What I liked: There were a lot of things that I liked about Mage Gauntlet, from its 16-bit graphics to the endless loot and the random magic system.
What I didn’t like: Essentially opening a spellbook to cast magic never gets more intuitive. It’s an irritating way to cast spells since you need to open the book, choose the spell, and then target an enemy, thus taking you out of the action. Since you can only store four spells at once it seems like it would have made more sense to go with four spell casting buttons, but it’s not enough of an annoyance to take away from gameplay.
To buy or not to buy: Mage Gauntlet is a great iOS RPG. If you haven’t yet played it, I highly suggest giving it a try.
- App Name: Mage Gauntlet
- Version Reviewed: 1.30
- Category: Games
- Developer: Rocketcat Games
- Price: $2.99