Unlucky Mage (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Eric Ace 02.02.2017

Review for Unlucky Mage on Nintendo 3DS

Unlucky Mage is part of a fairly large number of releases by Kemco on the 3DS of SNES-esque JRPGs. To anyone who is not a fan of the genre, each game looks indistinguishable with its anime portraits and RPG Maker worlds, but those who have a desire for an RPG fix might want to take note. The interesting premise of this story is that the main hero is misanthropic and discriminated against by the world he has to save.

Unlucky Mage looks bad. Let's get that out of the way right now. Beyond that, though, the writing is surprisingly competent. It is not going to reach some untold layers of depth, but it goes beyond tropes in enough capacity that the story retains interest.

It follows Jasper, who is a mage, and is essentially a slightly different species that was responsible for a massive war. As a result, most people hate mages. To avoid them, he lives in the mountains alone and becomes a massive loner who would rather read. Events lead to him getting drawn into wars overtaking the lands, and thus begins a typical JRPG story.

One welcome difference, though, is that the writing feels realistic in that Jasper doesn't jump right away to help people. He is often wary and suspicious of others. There are certainly tropes in Unlucky Mage, like the "evil empire" and the princess with a heart of gold, but the main core of characters is believable enough that they maintain interest. To give an example, one character is a former king who was conquered, turned into a slave and his wife was killed; such a heavy background is dealt with beyond the typical ham-fisted ways that many RPGs would handle something like this.

Screenshot for Unlucky Mage on Nintendo 3DS

The story and characters are the best part, but the rest of the game is lacking. The graphics are notably bad, with a quality not much better than any RPG Maker clone, with uninspired level design and bad tile sets of trees or rocks randomly scattered on each level. Furthermore, the characters have exactly two frames—arms forward and arms back—so they are constantly "running." The overworld looks just as poor, and it is not an exaggeration to say some SNES games looked better.

Battles are typical turn-based affairs, with a little modification of formations and skills that hit areas. Certain moves, for example, will hit an entire line of enemies, or will hit horizontally, and so on. There are passive skills that can be learned, which add a little customisation, such as randomly doing critical hits or gaining extra gold. It's a nice extra touch on the battles, but they still are nothing special. Anyone playing this will be in it for the story and simply cranking along as fast as they can through these battles.

Screenshot for Unlucky Mage on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Unlucky Mage is a game that people looking for a specific itch will find attractive. There is nothing here that is going to grab players who aren't already into the JRPG genre, but those that don't mind the bad graphics and simple battle system will like the throwback. The writing is much more mature than what the visuals may imply, and the story is the main draw of the game. Going in with moderate expectations, the game will surprisingly deliver them.

Developer

Exe-Create

Publisher

Kemco

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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