7 Mages certainly stands out on few counts. First, its sudden launch on mobile platforms without much hype or fore-warning by its creator Napoleon Games. While inspired by many dungeon and wizardry games, there are quite a few unique aspects imbibed in the game. The story of the game is similar to the film story of the Seven Samurai and the Magnificent Seven and you will often be reminded of these movies in some parts of the game. 7 Mages is a classic RPG, similar to games in late 80’s and early 90’s, that combines turn-based combat while exploring the world and solving pain-staking puzzles. Here’s the story.
The game hosts a magical village which is considered to be the home of the gods, where they reside after creating the world. Hence, all the elements of the heavenly place i.e. the air, the water and the land get some magical powers from the gods. The game lets you feel the presence of some magical powers around the environment and will give you feel of ancient or traditional times. The members of the village hire some guards to protect their land by mystical or magical creatures that are out there to rob the petty villagers. Hence the game is aptly known as the story of guards (The Mages) who battle these creatures to protect the land from their evil clutches.
You play as a first person in the Dungeon Master like RPG, similar to Legend of Grimrock, which puts you face-to-face with all the mystic creatures. What’s interesting is that it lets you split up your team members and allows controlling each of them individually. This turns the game into a turn-based strategy game which needs effective planning and execution to take down the evil creature. The added layer of puzzles in the game makes it more akin to an ancient adventure or wizardry that needs you to find things and decode the cryptic mysteries to proceed further in the game. The game includes fourteen different types of environment to play in and about more than twenty five types of different enemies are there to fight against. The environments are extensive including, traditional dungeons with multiple levels or a Dragon’s Gut, which is an underwater level, each presenting unique puzzles and enemies to overcome before you proceed ahead. The puzzles become progressively difficult. The early challenges can be as simple as finding a lever to open the door, while they become difficult with each passing level and may also need you to split the party to decode it.
The game borrows a lot of inspiration from varied games but does add a lot of its own elements to stand out. One may notice it when they come out of the undercroft and land in the glorious city of Caredbar set in the medieval age. You can travel anywhere you like from here to track and join other Mages. While a few hints guide you during the journey about their whereabouts.
The game runs almost on an auto-mode, allowing one to chart their course, solving puzzles, collecting gold and potions. The lack of direction extends a certain degree of freedom to the gamer, while marking the annotations on the map to mark spots to find hidden areas.
• Graphics and Controls:
The game creates a nostalgia of yesteryears with a traditional type graphics from late 80s and early 90s. The graphics are rendered beautifully smooth. The environments are well-designed and detailed in every aspect. Even Monsters and NPCs are well-constructed with good animation. Although you may feel a certain void in the battle with slow-movements and maneuvers, leaving you wanting more for a better gaming experience. The music is rendered beautifully that highlights each action and execution in the game. The gesture based controls too are executed pretty well in a classic arrow layout.
• Final Take:
7 Mages combines the most elementary things like gameplay and customization in a very basic manner, but turns it into a very interactive and interesting game by adding other unique elements of exploring the medieval wizardry world and puzzle solving. The game is constructed in a grid-like manner to create a user-friendly interface allowing gamers to play one bit at a time.
It only feels a drag when you get stuck at a particular level too long for the lack of direction or having too much time on hand for lack of enough gold and supplies to do the deed. But even with this, the game is pretty interesting with its puzzles for someone who is quite into the mood for a medieval-era combat.