Monday 6 February 2023

Magic and Legend: Time Knights Review (Gameboy)


More and more indie developers are cutting their teeth by looking to make games for older systems. The Gameboy and NES seem to be among the most popular currently as budding creators look to get creative with the limitations of the 8-bit systems. There are also emerging markets for these releases with routes both physically for the original hardware and through compilation for the Evercade and also into digital store fronts.

Magic and Legend is a five level action platformer which sees players descending through a level and dispatching alien invaders across different time periods. If you kill all the invaders you move to the next level when you reach the portal at the bottom of the stage. If you don’t then you get sent back to the start of the level to deal with any that have evaded you.

You can play as either a melee or ranged weapon character and each stage comes with its own set of weapons appropriate to the time period. It plays pretty well with your character responsive and moving in a logical manner and the five levels are undoubtedly fun. There are also bonus levels on each stage that take inspiration from things such as Ghost Busters, Super Mario Land and other iconic films and games of the time to create entertaining diversions.

The game ends with a decent boss battle as well where you have to hit multiple points in order to win the day. Magic and Legend is fun enough for repeat playthroughs which is handy as you’ll likely make it through on your first attempt. In fact, we actually got through the five levels without losing a single life, so there is certainly some fine tuning that could be done to turn this from a fun distraction into a fully polished title that could sit along side the original library of Gameboy releases.

There are some things that do make this stand out as an indie title though. Collision detection is pretty much non existent with no feedback given when you strike an enemy and the simple deletion of one of your hearts all to show for it. There is also no real point in the collectables you can grab in both the bonus and main levels as there is no score board present. This is a real shame as high score chasing would certainly have given an extra impetus to your play. We also encountered a bug where the game would let us progress without clearing each level and simply making it to the bottom, although this only seemed to happen once.

Overall, Magic and Legend: Time Knights shows a lot of promise but also a fair few rough edges. The core of the game works well with good controls and a fun gameplay loop. But it’s the details that are missing that prove to be the big difference between this and original Gameboy releases. As a result it comes across as a fun prototype rather than a fully fledged and finished title. We hope that this proves to be a jumping off point for something truly great in the future as most of the core building blocks are in place for what is a short, yet fun, distraction.

Overall 6/10




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