All Features


  PlayStation 3
  PlayStation 4
  Wii U
  Xbox 360
  Xbox One



Score: 80%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Interactive Imagination Corporation
Developer: Interactive Imagination Corporation
Media: Cart/1
Players: 1
Genre: RPG

Graphics & Sound:

The graphics in Magi-Nation are quite sharp, considering the system they're being displayed on. The characters aren't little square sprites as in most RPGs, but instead two 'blocks' tall, moving around smoothly. The environments are well-coloured, quite detailed, and huge, which is more than can be said for most RPGs that run on the aging GBC hardware. The battle screen is a little more static, with black-and-white (or close approximation) monsters duking it out, but when you actually score a hit, the game shifts to an anime-style zooming battle screen. It's cool looking, and colourful, but it ends up just dragging the battles out too long. Thankfully, you can skip said anime cutscenes. The overworld is a little goofy looking, but that's a minor problem.

Sound in Magi-Nation is pretty much as good as you can get it on the GBC. The music is quite solid, the sound effects are, well, Gameboy Color sound effects, and there are even a few themes you might find yourself humming as you play the game. That hasn't happened to me for a long time with a Gameboy game, so I'm suitably impressed.


And, for the most part, Magi-Nation is a very impressive game. The plot is intriguing, there's lots of humourous text, plenty of beasties to give you a challenge, and lots to do. If it weren't for the too-slow battle system, Magi-Nation would be absolutely amazing. As it is, it's just very good.

Magi-Nation tells the story of one Tony Jones, a young boy who goes into a cave on a dare and falls through the collapsing floor, ending up in a completely different world. His main quest is to go home, but of course prophecy will have none of that--he's this world's saviour. While the game starts off rather predictably, it pretty quickly veers into a more interesting direction. It's not epic, but the story in Magi-Nation was good enough to keep me going.

The core of any monster-collecting RPG is the battle system, and unfortunately this is where Magi-Nation falters the worse. The actual system is excellent. Tony has a certain amount of 'energy'. He cannot attack himself, but he can invest that energy into summoning Dream Creatures that he has the ring for. The cost for summoning a Creature depends on its type and level, so the better they get the more energy it costs. Special moves all cost energy, and damage is dealt in points of energy. If Tony wins, the energy goes back to him; if the beasts are defeated, the enemies can then wail on Tony and kill him. I like the almost-zero-sum feel of it--everything is done in Energy, and you have to balance it, because it's both points for skills and your health.

The problem is this: the battles are way too slow. The GBC just doesn't seem to have the power needed to drive it properly, and battles, even short ones, end up being more frustrating than they should be. The menus are slow, the action is slow, it's all just slow. It's a shame, too--a sped-up version of the battle system would be fantastic.

The rest of the game is good. When you defeat enemies, you get Animite, which is used as currency in the world. You may also get Infused Animite, which has the energy of the beasts you killed. You can use this Infused Animite to have rings created for you with new Dream Creatures. This is how you gain new Creatures to battle for you, and the system works well.

There's also a good deal of humour in the game, some of it outright silly (the guy in the training area, for example) and some of it a lot more tongue-in-cheek (the mocking of the various responses you get when you 'click' on everything). Considering the usually dry translations of Japanese games, this sort of home-grown humour is definitely A Good Thing.


If you follow the order of the game, and spend a little time levelling your Dream Creatures and Tony, you shouldn't have too many problems with the game. Some of the Magi battles are quite difficult if you don't have the right match of Creatures, but you can always go back and get another ring made and spend some time levelling the beast. Don't try to jump too far ahead of yourself, though, because you'll have to flee from most of the battles. Magi-Nation straddles the difficulty line fairly well, and will prove to be an amusing game for kids and adults alike.

Game Mechanics:

Controls are simple--move around, interact with the A button, run with the B button, press Start to bring up your RPG menu. There's plenty of things to do here, with equipping your Creatures and whatnot, but none of it's non-intuitive for anyone who's ever played an RPG before. The battle system is solid, if way too slow, as I said earlier; the overworld map is also too slow for its own good. The rest of the game is solid, however.

There's a lot of fun to be had with Magi-Nation, and I recommend it for any RPG fan who doesn't mind having to deal with battles that are considerably lengthier than they need to be. With a good storyline, plenty of things to do (and different outcomes!), and enough secrets to keep you busy for a long time, Magi-Nation is a solid entry into the genre. It may not be perfect, but perfection isn't necessary for an enjoyable time.

-Sunfall to-Ennien, GameVortex Communications
AKA Phil Bordelon

GameBoy Color/Pocket Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone GameBoy Color/Pocket The Best of Entertainment Pack

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated