Developer: Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team
Publisher: Gala Pocket
Platform: iPad, iPhone (reviewed), iPod Touch
Release Date: 29 August, 2012
Price: $0.99 (HERE)
Are you tired of cartoon games on your iOS device? Weary of the genre re-treads and re-hashes? Well, Supermagical is not a game that will fix your problem, but Super Awesome Hyper Dimensional Mega Team’s game does rise a cut above the rest and provide a fun, polished experience. It’s just that it’s a fun, polished experience cut from the same mould as pretty much every other portable game out there.
You are Nina, one of a group of sister witches, and you’re the only one of your siblings not to have been sent to another dimension for being evil. The drawback to being a good-hearted girl is extreme clumsiness, and when Nina tries to impress her wizard masters with a special spell, things quickly go awry. A trans-dimensional portal opens and cute, pesky creatures, called Minix, are unleashed upon the world, as well as Nina’s evil sisters.
So now it’s up to you to send the Minix and your siblings back to where they came from, using, what else, but colour matching puzzle mechanics. Because nothing says “I fight evil” quite like shooting cute furries at one another.
When you match three or more same-coloured Minix on a board, they’ll be zapped away by a spell. If by zapping a group away you also manage to disconnect some Minix from the right hand side of the screen, they too will be lightning-ed into oblivion.
The colour of the Minix in your launcher is randomised, but you can change colours using items you can buy between levels in the overworld (a la Super Mario, level 1-1, 1-2, and so forth). This map-like look of the world also harbours not-so-well-hidden collectibles and mini-games, as well as allowing Nina to find and purchase special ingredients which she can then turn into spells she can use during the game’s levels. You can also buy pets and find Warlocks to help you eradicate the hordes of Minix.
What’s great about Supermagical is the way all the various parts work in tandem. Like a Megazord created by various, typically incompatible dinosaur-robots, the game takes a bunch of different, not-obviously connected game mechanics and creates something special. You’ll never get bored, because even if you don’t spend money (real or fake) on hats and pets, there’s always some new toy to play with, and those new toys are almost always incorporated into the gameplay.
The main issue with the game (and it’s so simple it probably could be fixed in an update) is the way in which you aim and launch Minix. A lot of times, you want to launch to consecutive Minix in the same place, but it seems the launcher doesn’t quite stay still between launches, meaning that your aim can, more often than not, end up being a little off as you start clearing the board and there are fewer Minix to focus on zapping away.
Colour matching games can be a dime dozen, and Supermagical takes plenty of queues from its predecessors in the genre. However, it also borrows many ideas from RPGs and meshes them seamlessly into the game, making Nina’s adventure a heck of a lot of fun to play through.
Audio & Visual
Is Supermagical a cartoony game? Yes. But where it’s different to most of the 2-D, cartoon fare out in the app store’s poo pile, is in the detail. The game boasts serious personality, and while it’s not a personality that particularly appealed to me (let’s face it, I can’t really relate to the sibling rivalries of a young girl who’s into cute animals and magic), it is definitely a style that will draw you in from the off.
Even the stoic master wizards who say nary a word come off as strong, wise types who have to stoically clean up the mess created by one of their students; a student they believe is too useless to help them in that task. The overworld map is also a strong point, even if it is a little static. There’s lots of variety in the environments and the world of Nina comes off as a place with history. Supermagical MMO anyone?
The soundtrack for the game is good, though, much like many of the stronger iOS titles, it doesn’t blow you right out the water. If we’re to continue with that beach-y metaphor, it makes more of a pleasant splash. It’s fun and light-hearted, and you won’t be turning it off in annoyance, which can happen quite often with some mobile games.
In the end, Supermagical is a game that manages to pull off what many iOS games try but hardly ever get away with: It refined colour-matching puzzle play, mixes in RPG elements, and creates one very memorable experience. Though not without flaws, this game will keep you coming back for more.