Simple Sophistication

Yesterday, I downloaded MAGI, a shareware PC indy game. The premise is that you’re an magic user strengthening yourself for a confrontation for the day when Death comes to claim you. The actual gameplay was quite simple: It’s a one on one fight between you and another mage, add spells to the casting cue in the right order to win. Then, after winning the battles, you might “level up” and pump 5 core attributes that improve your abilities in some way or another and occasionally earn another spell.

Magi screenshot (older version). I can tell the player has been at it for awhile because they’ve unlocked most of the spells.

The interesting thing to consider about Magi is that it’s the purest form of RPG combat mechanics, and really no less complicated than many MMORPGs out there. In ways, such as considering the wide variety if differing effects available to the user, it’s a little more complicated.

It’s disappointing, but at the same time sort of liberating. If a person is seeking to make a good computer RPG, it’s not all that hard to code the mechanics of it. From there on out, it’s all about the presentation: Magi uses some nice particle effects and musical score to good effect. The game is enjoyable, a simple game leading to a sophisticated-feeling result.

Tile based games are another kind of simplicity that can be garnished to be a more complicated thing than they are. To these ends, I think that I would like to code a good Roguelike game.

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