Check out the playtest of magic school simulator Mind Over Magic

An upcoming management game will challenge you to build and expand an ancient academy of magic, exploring the vast dungeon beneath it known only as the Underschool in order to stave off a deadly fog. In Mind Over Magic you'll construct a magic school in cutaway view, staffing it with teachers and populating it with students ready to learn.

Mind Over Magic is developed by studio Sparkypants and published by Klei, developers of Don't Starve and Oxygen Not Included. It's probably at a level of accessible whimsy between those two, really, requiring management and planning to survive, but not quite the full-on gas/temperature/pressure physics simulation of Oxygen Not Included. There are also magic battles between your students and monsters in the Underschool.

It's currently available as part of a playtest before it launches into Early Access in the near future. That'll be available on Steam until October 26, just click the nice button to request access.

For my part, the best bit of this playtest is that when you build the roof of your magic school there's a slider for how wonky and off it is. Which rules. I think we all know that whimsical magicians of this sort have buildings with rambling and weird rooflines, and the wonk slider is a perfect emulation of their architectural choices. More wonkiness sliders in games, please.

I didn't have quite enough time to get into it during the playtest, but the magical combat is also pretty intriguing. You can send expeditions of students and teachers into the Underschool, where they'll fight against magical monsters and undead abominations to recover lost arcane scrolls—scrolls you need to advance your school's understanding of magic and research new things to build.

Your people can of course die in these expeditions, whereupon you're apparently able to build magically powered gravestones that return them to life as ghosts to haunt the school and also help with mundane chores. Nothing like dying between two classes and getting conscripted into your Alma Mater's ghost army for eternity. Classic wizard stuff.

You can find Mind Over Magic on Steam and sign up for the playtest, and you can also go see it on the Sparkypants site. They have a discord and all that.

Jon Bolding is a games writer and critic with an extensive background in strategy games. When he's not on his PC, he can be found playing every tabletop game under the sun.