I first wrote about Mage’s Initiation for a preview five long years ago, and now the adventure-RPG hybrid finally has a release date. It’s taken the team around ten years to make and will be released into the wilds on January 30.
There aren’t many adventure romps in the style of Quest for Glory kicking around these days (which is disgraceful). In Mage’s Initiation, you’re a teen wizard about to be unleashed upon the world to put your skills to the test via three quests. Also, the kingdom needs to be saved, so I guess you could help out with that, too?
Magic can help you solve puzzles, but it can also fry any goblins trying to start a fight with you. One of four elemental specialisations can be picked at the start, conferring unique spells for use in and out of combat. You can try to avoid fights, however, and play Mage’s Initiation more like a traditional point and click adventure, though one with branching paths and some light RPG character progression.
I jumped back in after five years away and, while I’m not sure how much has changed since 2013, it still has a nostalgic hold over me, calling to mind adventures in not just Quest for Glory, but games like King’s Quest, too. And it boasts some cracking background art, though the higher resolution pixel art used for the character models looks a bit out of place.
Mage’s Initiation uses three different adventure game interfaces, which you get to pick at the start but can switch between whenever you want. Lamentably, there’s no parser for the masochists, so you’ll have to settle for either a verb coin, a compact interface that brings up a menu when you click on an object or the traditional Sierra icon bar.
Himalaya Studios, previously Anonymous Game Developers Interactive, has plenty of experience working with Sierra-style games. Before Mage’s Initiation, it made free remakes of Sierra games, as well as a Leisure Suit Larry-inspired adventure about a pathetic, middle-aged fella trying to find love.
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Fraser is the UK online editor and has actually met The Internet in person. With over a decade of experience, he's been around the block a few times, serving as a freelancer, news editor and prolific reviewer. Strategy games have been a 30-year-long obsession, from tiny RTSs to sprawling political sims, and he never turns down the chance to rave about Total War or Crusader Kings. He's also been known to set up shop in the latest MMO and likes to wind down with an endlessly deep, systemic RPG. These days, when he's not editing, he can usually be found writing features that are 1,000 words too long or talking about his dog.