Sunday, November 11, 2012

Secret of the Magic Crystals

So Secret of the Magic Crystals is a horse simulator.

Can I choose neither of these players? They both look like the dorkiest guys ever.

Yeah, no duh nobody believed him, because that's stupid.

Okay, so the gameplay is pretty simple. You get a horse. Here's my unicorn in the stable. You can click these things on the left to groom her and feed her, and she has stats that affect her performance in races and such.

Things you can do with the horse. First: training. You can practice on these training courses to improve the horse's stats.

The training just looks like this. You press the arrow keys when arrows appear. Higher accuracy means more xp for the horse. Simple enough.

You earn money by sending your horses on quests. They're nothing special. Your horse walks off, then wanders back a little while later, bringing back money and an item.

This is what it looks like to enter a race. Just text popups. From what I can tell, the outcome is randomly determined based on the horse's stats. If you win, you get prizes.

You can spend the gold to upgrade the items in your horse's stable, which will give it stat buffs. Gold can also be used to level up buildings, giving access to higher-level features.

Items, which are things like herbs and metals, can be used to make horseshoes and potions, which boost the stats of the horse you use them on. You can spend gold to find new recipes for this stuff.

If you win enough races, you eventually get trophies and win the Magic Crystals. Collect them all...I guess?

Also, after a while, horses can breed, which results in higher-level horses.

I dunno, this is basically just one of those Facebook games, y'know? It doesn't have much play to it. Just the Skinner Box. I don't think it's the game for me. More like the sort of game you'd give to your grandmother. Or if you really like horses.

I enjoyed the Chao Garden in Sonic Adventure 2, but it had a pretty different aesthetic. The creatures were cuter, and you could walk around the garden to play with them in real-time rather than through an interface. Chao would change color depending on the items you gave them, making training feel more meaningful and less arbitrary. And the whole minigame was stapled onto an actual fun main game. Bottom line is that Secret of the Magic Crystals has a similar spirit, but is a vastly lower-quality experience.

So, verdict: meh.

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