Second to being a reviewer for the World’s world’s best software site, wizardry is represents perhaps the ultimate job for kids growing up today. Following the success of Harry Potter and Lord of The Rings, it seems everyone is fascinated by the idea of learning magic spells and performing mysterious tricks, and. Magic Academy aims to provide you with the chance to act out your these fantasies by sending you to wizard school where you’ll have to learn the ropes in order to find your missing sister.
Magic Academy is essentially just a hidden-object game, but it’s been dressed up with an elaborate plot, slick graphics and moody sounds. Moving through the game is a matter of meeting various characters and solving the puzzles they set you in order to garner information before moving onto the next character. While most of these puzzles involve simply finding items on a screen or solving spot-the-difference games, the developer has been careful to make these as lively as possible. We liked the way that you’re not just given a list of things to find, and instead must work out what to find based on silhouettes of the objects, find items before the next ones are revealed, or find several of a particular item, such as mice, keys or documents.
The complexity of the game is just about right. At first we thought the time limits for each level were a little generous, but it only takes one particularly well-hidden mouse to get your pulse racing as the clock ticks down to zero. There’s no doubt that the game requires a very sharp eye, so it may not be suitable for younger children or people whose eyesight is slightly poor . However, there were only a couple of occasions where we needed to restart a level.
Unlike many games in the hidden-object genre, Magic Academy holds your attention well and there is a genuine incentive to solve each puzzle in order to meet new characters and piece the overall mystery together. The characters are graphically impressive (including one of your character’s sister’s friends who bares an uncanny resemblance to a certain bespectacled teenage wizard), although the interaction with them is limited. There are no voices and conversations are limited to clicking through preset statements. We didn’t like the way they kept referring to us as ‘Annie, ’ and given that you have to enter your name before you play, it would have nice if it was your name that was used in the conversations.
The game adopts a very linear approach, and if you’re looking for a strategy game where you get to explore different places and piece together cryptic clues yourself, you’ll be disappointed. However, Magic Academy is by far one of the best hidden-object style games we’ve played, providing challenging gameplay within a well-crafted environment. Now, where’s that pesky mouse?