A Magical High School Girl (PC) Review

By Gabriel Jones 17.02.2017

Review for A Magical High School Girl on PC

Akari Yamanashi was just another girl in school. She struggled with everyday problems like tests, sports, and romance. One fateful day, she made the mistake of helping a strange woman by the name of Ms. Tragedy. Ms. Tragedy is a witch, and she "thanks" Akari by making her a witch as well. Witches, for reasons unknown, are whisked away to another world. It's there that they must survive an endless onslaught of bizarre creatures and diabolical boss monsters. If they fail, they reawaken in the real world, only to become trapped again, the next time they fall asleep. Truly there is no greater tragedy than that of A Magical High School Girl.

This game is a lot like life. It's a constant series of minor successes and major failures. More to the point, it's a rogue-lite. Unlike Rogue or the innumerable rogue-likes, the penalty for dying isn't as severe, but it's still very costly. Akari retains her experience level and a few pieces of equipment, but otherwise she loses all of her items and is kicked back to the beginning of the current world. On the bright side, after making a certain amount of progress, she can teleport ahead to completed levels, rather than retrace thousands of steps.

The goal of each level is to find the exit. Items will assist the witch, while monsters will assail her. The game is entirely turn-based, so baddies will only move when the heroine does. This gives whoever controls Akari time to figure out what to do next. Typically, monsters are destroyed with spells, of which there are a great many to choose from. However, they cost mana points, which serve double-duty as hit points. In other words, if Akari runs out of MP, she dies. Therefore, she can't toss around spells willy nilly and expect to get anywhere. MP recovers with every step, but it drains HP, denoted by the bottles of milk in the corner of the screen.

Screenshot for A Magical High School Girl on PC

Sustenance comes in three forms, milk, potato chips, and candy. As if Akari didn't have enough troubles, she also suffers from bad nutrition. Anyway, milk restores HP, chips replenish MP, and candy cures bad status effects. In order to maintain hope of survival, it's necessary to eat whatever's lying on the ground. Keep in mind, however, that most of what Akari eats is junk food, and can cause more headaches (stomach aches?). A bag of garlic potato crisps gives bad breath, which saps her MP with every step. The "seemed like a good idea at the time" potato & strawberry-flavoured chips are more harmful than anything.

Then there's the matter of magic, which comes in an infinite number of flavours. Spells are divided into six elements, and will do more or less damage depending on the enemies they strike. The key to obtaining spells is through magicite. The rocks are appropriately coloured, so witches can figure out what element they represent with a quick glance. The spells produced from these stones can have a myriad of effects. Some fire off a single shot, others affect the entire screen, and still others provide buffs to the young witch, or even summon help. It's possible to hold dozens of spells, but it can be difficult to effectively use them. After all, MP is life, and monsters tend to punish anyone whose mystical experiments don't bear any fruit.

Then there's the matter of spell creation. Anonymous magicite can be quite useful or quite awful; it's all in the name. When making use of this mineral, the player is obligated to actually name the spell. Whatever they come up with determines what the spell actually does. Naming a spell "fire laser" creates a bolt of flame that strikes any foe Akari is facing. The spell "kill butts dead" releases poisonous gas that can curse or instantly kill anything in its area of effect. There aren't any rules to the system, so go crazy with names. Just try to avoid devising a spell that drops a meteor on Akari's head.

Screenshot for A Magical High School Girl on PC

The monsters range from dangerous to "stay well away at all costs". Some prefer to bum rush the witch, others will fire projectiles, and still others have curious tricks up their sleeves. Generally, if a monster can get close enough, it'll hit really hard. For example, a stone golem does about 85-100 points of damage, which usually results in Akari's demise. A handful of fiends are practically invincible, unless their weakness is figured out. The most dangerous of the bunch is basically a god, and does 999 damage if witches are foolish enough to not teleport away immediately. Strangely, the bosses aren't nearly as threatening, especially if the heroine arrives at the fight with plenty of snacks on hand.

Even when Akari survives the trials and tribulations of adolescence, she still has the "rest of her life" to deal with. This is the post-game dungeon, and overcoming it is a monumental task. The rest of the game almost pales in comparison. To put it into perspective, after two floors in most other worlds, Akari reaches the witches' corner, a comfy place where anyone can purchase items, receive tips, and combine spells to enhance their power and utility. It takes ten floors to reach sanctuary in the nightmare that is post-game. The sudden uptick in difficulty is a bit much to deal with, but it has its own unique appeal.

Screenshot for A Magical High School Girl on PC

Through her many hardships, Akari grows as a person, though the bits and pieces of story might not be enough for some players. The bulk of the game is going to be spent wandering through levels in search of the exit. While this is a speedy process, thanks to the fast-forward button, it's still a bit of a bummer that levels consist almost entirely of hallways and rooms. The environment rarely deviates from inside the school or the surrounding city streets. Perhaps this is another metaphor for life. Seeing the same thing over and over gets to be annoying, if not slightly depressing.

There is a neat amount of strategy in creating, strengthening, and effectively applying magic. It's also fun balancing the constant need for crisps and milk. Anyone who is really struggling can farm the early areas, taking advantage of the shop's constantly replenishing stock to load up on the necessities. The game is for the most part a relatively pleasant journey that shouldn't cause too many headaches. There are a couple bugs with the sound though. Sometimes a tornado can hang in place, which creates an obnoxious buzzing sound. The music can also cut off at certain points. Both of these issues are remedied by restarting the game, and should hopefully be patched sometime in the near future.

Screenshot for A Magical High School Girl on PC

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

A Magical High School Girl is an amusing endeavour with a lot of creativity and charm. The dungeons won't impress, but its inhabitants are handled in a manner that is both clever and challenging. The post-game content also does a good job of forcing veterans to rely solely on their wits and spells for long stretches of time, rather than hoarding and gorging on snacks. If a coming of age story with witches and junk food sounds appealing, then don't hesitate to give this rogue-lite a look.

Developer

illuCalab

Publisher

Sekai Project

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

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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