Magic Life


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Magic Life Hands-On Preview

Magic Life is an upcoming casual RPG (emphasis on the word ‘casual’) that poses one interesting question: How would you like to turn your Facebook friends into toads and pigs? The Facebook integration is easily the best hook for this colorful, breezy RPG from Glu.

In Magic Life, you play as a novice magician whose goal is to gain experience and spellcasting abilities by completing simple tasks and quests. An early mission we saw required you to track down parts of a giant stone golem, which was broken into stone arms, legs, and hands, among other parts.

Populating the game world with you are your Facebook friends, which you can import through Facebook Connect. You’ll then be able to cast spells on your friends, turning them into a number of different animals. If your friends are playing Magic Life as well, they’ll be customized based on the look they’ve chosen for themselves. Otherwise, they’ll be randomly generated characters.

Don’t go expecting an in-depth RPG like Zenonia or Dungeon Hunter from Magic Life. This is about as casual and kid-friendly as you can get. The game is entirely free to play, but you can pay to hurry along spell-creation (in a giant bubbling guild cauldron), and more opportunities for DLC could be announced down the line.

We’re not sure if Magic Life is going to ensnare gamers looking for something more action-packed, but that’s where Gun Bros, another freemium Glu title, comes in. The developers were keen to point out that Animal Crossing is one of Magic Life’s inspirations, so that should provide an interesting basis for comparison. Magic Life will be available for free in early October.

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Magic Life Review

There’s no shortage of games pushing the ‘freemium’ model on your iPhone, and given their popularity it’s safe to say that free is a good fit for casual gamers. Magic Life from Glu Mobile is actually quite similar to other strategy-lite takes on town and world building, while adding familiar role-playing game elements.

Magic Life puts players in the leather boots of a young magic apprentice on a fantasy world of islands, monsters, and mischievous spells. As a new apprentice, you are constantly tasked with all manner of quests. These include incredibly mundane things like gathering fruit and opening chests, banishing cyclops and trolls, and transforming other apprentices into animals (and back again). It’s pretty clear from the outset that the older magicians don’t like to exert themselves, making the quests feel more like chores.

Now get to work, freeloader!

Most of the quests, especially as the game progresses, involve the use of potions. Magic Life spends a lot of time forcing players to first gather ingredients, either by finding or buying them, then using these ingredients to create bubbling magical liquids.

Potions take a lot of time to make, often hours, so impatient players could find Magic Life to be a costly endeavor. As usual, everything in the game takes a certain amount of time if you want the game to continue to be free.

To speed things along, you can opt to use gems, which make things happen instantly. You’ll start with a few, but more gems can only be bought with real cash. The upside to Magic Life is that you really don’t have to spend money to play it– you just need patience.

Gold and magical energy called mana are the other two resources to manage. Mana recharges naturally, and is oddly used almost every time you do anything. It makes sense that casting spells uses mana, but the logic behind using it to pick fruit or open chests is questionable at best.

That’s one ugly mountain.

Customizing your game is a big part of the appeal of this sort of game, and Magic Life doesn’t miss a beat there. As you earn more experience, wealth, and power, you can customize your character’s look with new outfits and accessories, and even whole new body types. You’ll also get a house to accessorize, and all your mighty achievements can be linked to your Facebook account. Connected friends can even come to your island, hang out, and be turned into pigs and bunnies.

Where Magic Life largely trips up is simply the lack of variety. Even when dealing with monsters, there’s no combat or danger, and the game lazily throws the same missions at you repeatedly.

If you only intend to play in short bursts every day, this might not be a big problem, but Magic Life doesn’t offer anything substantial we haven’t seen before. It may be free, but we can’t say that Magic Life will offer you the most fun for your time.

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