I was able to play an early press demo of the game, and highly enjoyed it. Not only for the gameplay itself, but for the potential in the final copy. You play as D'Arc, a student eager to show his potential to join his fellow mages. Gameplay is through classic mouseclick adventure stylings, with a right click cycling your options, left interacting, and clicking the center mouse wheel brings up your main menu. A few moments and the intuitiveness of this shone through. I was able to move my character around and do what I wanted with very clear-cut understanding. In the demo, I was able to play as D'Arc training to be a fire mage, but there will be four options when the full game is released: fire, water, air, and earth. Each option will change up how the game is played. I was charged with powering up a crystal in the demo, which required me to find some earth to bury it in, water to soak it with, wind to blow across it, and my fire spell. Had I been a different mage, I'm sure I would have had to come up with a different solution to the puzzle.
Mage's Initiation adds an action/RPG styling to the mix as well. Battle sequences require you to move around the field, utilizing potions and magic spells on your attackers. As the battles go on, they become very fast and frantic, yet simple enough to run via mouse. I had three spells: a projectile fireball, a delayed yet large-area mine attack, and a defensive fire ring. Again, combat is bound to change with each elemental option you would choose, allowing you to go through the game multiple times to find all the different solutions to the puzzles and battles. I can see why the game got funded so easily: the pedigree behind it, the quality story development, and the replayability is bound to make a fun title.
Two stretch goals have been realized, adding new enemies for D'Arc to battle as he faces his quest. At the next tier ($95,000) each character class will recieve a new quest specific to their skills. At $100,000, the funding will be available to add more animated cutscenes for major game moments. Later goals will allow full-screen artwork, ports to Linux, Mac, Android, and iOS, a novelization made specifically for backers (with a hard copy signed by the artist if you support with $100 or more) and lastly, full translation into French, Russian, Italian, German, and Spanish. Developers are also offering polyresin figures crafted from characters in the game as the tiers go up for top supporters. Look below the article for a set of pictures that depict the swag available to the top donors (coming soon-you can click through the below link to the Kickstarter if you want to see the items now). The developers at Himalaya Studios aren't just grabbing for extra cash; they're truly looking to improve the quality of an already solid-looking game.
I hope I can get in on the review board as Mage's Initiation gets near completion, but right now you can help support the team toward their stretch goals! For a $16 donation you will recieve a DRM-Free copy of the game upon completion, a soundtrack, and some bonus artwork for your desktop pleasure. Of course, you can always go all out and drop in for the limited $5,000 tier, and get the privelege of being an opponent in the game, complete with your likeness and voice.
Mage's Initation looks to be a wonderful harkening to classic adventure games of old, with a polish that the old games were incapable of having. Art is beautifully fluid and smooth, and even the preliminary press build of this game is solid enough to capture my attention even without the quality voice acting this Kickstarter plans to fund. Click on over to fund the Kickstarter here or help get the game greenlit on Steam here!