Magic Pengel: The Quest for Color
Tucked away in the remote corner of your local videogame store, you'll sometimes find a quirky Japanese game that somehow found its way overseas. Often, they're niche titles with a small audience that don't sell too well. Publishers who are brave enough to bring these titles stateside should be commended, because more often than not, theyre a breath of fresh air from the unoriginal drivel that saturates the market. Magic Pengel: The Quest for Color is a definite breathe of fresh air, since it offers a heavy dose of creativity coupled with a concept that has been around for a while, but whether or not you'll embrace the game will be dependent if you can overlook it's rough edges.
Although there have been loads of Pokemon-esque games to hit the store shelves in recent years, none of them have the same twist as Magic Pengel. Instead of catching your creatures, in Magic Pengel, you actually create them. Using the doodle creation system in conjunction with your Dual Shock 2, you draw characters in 2D and then watch as they transform into animated 3D creatures. Amazingly, the creation tool is very intuitive yet simple to use. The scribbles and squiggles you make with your PS2 controller, with some work, will create some nifty-looking creatures. Literally, you can create anything ' the only limits are within your imagination. How you create your creatures inversely affects what attributes your character will have in battle -- a very nice touch that adds a bit of meaning when you actually create your creatures. Needless to say, the replay value within the doodle creation system alone is huge.
With all that said, the rest of the game isn't on the same level as the doodle creation system. Besides doodling, there are only two other things you can do: explore the town and battle in the arena. While the environments are interesting and imaginative, there's not much to do aside from talking to the townspeople who have little of worth to say. There's also the battle portion, which is basically a glorified game of rocks-paper-scissors. There are a few variables thrown in and some strategy to be considered, but it just isn't fleshed out well enough to stay interesting in the long run.
Magic Pengel doesn't boast many impressive technical feats, but it still looks good due to its colorful nature. The environments are cute, but charming, with plenty of subtle details that give life to the world. And while the audio isn't en epic score, it still fits well with the game. It's mostly forgettable elevator music, but there are a few catchy tunes here and there.
Magic Pengel: The Quest for Color has an interesting concept that's executed well. The rest of the game, however, fails to provide the proper support to make a great game. Perhaps the biggest problem in Magic Pengel is that it relies too much on a gimmick'fortunately, the some of the game's shortcomings can be overlooked because the gimmick is done so well.
Download Magic Pengel: The Quest for Color
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
Sure, Pikachu is cute, but do you really feel a meaningful connection with him? Nope, he's just some corporate critter designed in a lab to sell games and breakfast cereal. Magic Pengets (formerly Color Quest) monsters are different. In this monster-raising sim, you personally design your fighting furballs, so you feel a real affinity for 'em. The doodling process is instinctive, clever, and versatile--even terrible artists can forge impressive beasts that hurl weapons (or, if you're Gary, their massive genitalia) in battle. In many ways, though, MP seems like a slapdash game built around the excellent doodle-creation system. The battles get repetitive, loading times drag on, the music often seems out of place, and the plot's a bit heavy-handed. Yet that stuff doesn't matter when drawing doodles is just so unbelievably fun. As a game, it's merely OK, but as a creative toolbox, it's exceptional.
My doodles might not be beautiful--I named one unfortunate beast Tumoria--but even for the artistically challenged, MP offers truly whimsical fun. I found the battles simple but mildly addictive as I leveled up my character and gained new drawing skills and colors. Then I really wanted to go back and create better, more complex doodles. And even if you're just in it to explore the pornographic possibilities, the weird way your creatures animate will serve your questionable motives well. At only $30, it's the perfect way to waste an entire weekend--or more.
My favorite MP moment? Seeing Shane squirm as my beastie's massive purple "doodle" wiggled shamelessly in front of his creations. Sure, I lost the fight, but the fact I could create such a delightful monstrosity is reason enough to play this game. Unlike Shane, I dug the charming story, but I agree the gameplay gets a bit dull. Thankfully, the Versus mode will keep me working on the perfect doodle to penetrate Shane's defenses.