The Mageseeker brings the action in a game that both non-League fans and diehards can enjoy
While at PAX, I had the chance to check out Mageseeker, the latest game set in the universe of Riot’s immensely popular League of Legends franchise, and the latest game from developer Digital Sun. Known for their previous title, 2018’s Moonlighter, this latest release from Digital Sun is a stark departure while still retaining the same high-quality sprite work and focus on gameplay that they excel at. I’ve only dabbled in the wide world of League of Legends, and even then, it has been a number of years since my last match, but even with lacking in the knowledge of League’s lore, I still came away from my time with Mageseeker impressed and eagerly awaiting its impending April 18th release.
Mageseeker puts you in the shoes of Sylas, a former mageseeker (think a police force that tracks down and deals with rogue mages and spell users) who was imprisoned prior to the start of the game and has managed to break out. Taking place in the land of Demacia, a world where magic and splendor can be found in equal parts. All is not as grand as it may appear on the surface as Sylas will be forced to contend with his past as a mageseeker while working to bring down their oppressive regime while trying to discover the reasons behind his wrongful imprisonment.
The demo I played erred more on the side of showcasing the Mageseeker’s gameplay and mechanics than on the story. Played from almost an isometric camera angle, I instantly was reminded of Hyper Light Drifter, albeit slightly slower (Sylas is pretty buff for having been chained up for so long). I was dashing around to avoid enemy attacks and over gaps all felt great. The responsiveness of the controls never felt like they got in the way or kept me from feeling like a badass as I quickly maneuvered around the beautiful world that Digital Sun has adapted.
As much as I loved the movement, what really stole the show was the combat with Sylas, with his fists, chains, and magical abilities. Deciding that the chains that bound him were too nice to just get rid of, Sylas decided to incorporate them into his day-to-day implements of pain. As you dash around taking on foes ranging from armor-clad knights and spell-slinging wizards to grotesque beasts, you will be putting together combos using light and heavy attacks utilizing both his fists and those chains, but the benefits don’t end there. These chains can also be utilized to assist in battle control and movement as they allow you to pull yourself to distant objects or enemies, deal damage, or even steal the very spells that enemies are attempting to send your way!
By hitting an enemy that is preparing a spell with your chain, you will be able to halt their casting while also granting you access to limited uses of that ability as well! These spells can be your typical giant fireballs to, area-of-effect thunderstrikes, and more. The best part is that once you have stolen an enemy's spell this way, you will unlock the ability to equip them permanently. By the end of the game, you will have access to upwards of 20 plus different spells to custom choose from, unlocking slots for additional spells as you progress through the game!
As much fun as I had with Mageseeker's gameplay, there were a couple of aspects that I came away a bit disappointed by. My first annoyance (even that may be a bit too strong of emotion) is more of due to a personal preference and less a dig at the game itself, is the commission of a New Game+ mode. With its plethora of magic spells, it bums me out that I won't be able to play through again but with all my goodies from the start. In the scheme of things, not that big of a deal, but I do know a lot of folks like New Game+ modes as well, and who knows, perhaps one day it will be added in a patch. Fingers crossed. The second issue I had, however, will be a much bigger deal to some players.
Mageseeker is lacking in options and settings to help with accessibility. Outside of the different difficulty options, which can be changed at any time, there aren’t any offerings present. This means no settings to adjust the font size, color blindness options, or other similar helpful tweaks. It’s a disappointing omission, and hopefully, post-release, we will get some of these missing toggles added in with a patch.
The hour I had to try out Mageseeker was over in the blink of an eye, and I had to bid the Digital Sun developers and game a sad farewell. Even without extensive knowledge of League of Legends, I still came away from my time with impressed. Getting to speak and try the demo alongside the game's producer, Dani Garcia, and the programming director, Jordi Llopis (just Llopis to his colleagues), it is clear the love and attention that the team at Digital Sun gave to Mageseeker. From the care given to all the animations and sprite work (that's twice as dense in terms of pixels compared to their previous game, Moonlighter) to working with Riot to make sure the game works and flows with the narrative of their expanding League of Legends universe all in an effort to provide players the best game possible. Everything I got to experience left me with a feeling that they have succeeded with flying colors in all those regards. The fact that they made a non-League player interested is proof enough of their magic.
I’m excited to dive back in and get the full story behind Sylas and the mageseekers, and so should you, and thankfully players won’t have long to wait as Mageseeker - A League of Legends Story is releasing next week on April 18th on Playstation 4 / 5, Xbox X / S, Switch, Steam, Epic, and GoG!