We’ve been seeing a lot of action/create games on the Wii U and 3DS eshop lately. All of these games have a similar blocky art style and areas where you create things with big blocks. Some of these games have been pretty good, while others have been just ok.
The Magic Hammer for 3DS is an action rpg with the block creating element of those other games. It shares a similar look and features a stand alone create mode to boot. But is The Magic Hammer any good? Well, you’ll have to read the rest of my review to find out!
The Magic Hammer’s story is too simplistic. The game’s main character is one that you design and he has no personality at all. In fact, the only character in the entire game that has any personality is the hammer that the game is named after. The hammer talks and will tell you about itself and its situation at various points in the game. I wish there were more characters to get to know in this game and a better story. As it is, the story is the least important (and least interesting) aspect of the game.
There are three gameplay modes in The Magic Hammer: Story mode, Create Mode, and Multiplayer mode. I’ll talk about Story mode first.
Story mode has you going on a quest to save the day. You start off by creating your own character in a very simple character creator and then you’re plopped down into the game’s world. The game is an action rpg, so you level up and get spells, but even after you get those spells, the combat can be a bit boring. I suspect the audience for this game will be Casual Fans and kids. Even so, that doesn’t mean there is no challenge at all in The Magic Hammer.
Some of the boneyard challenges pretty tough, especially later in the game. I think by the time the player gets to the challenge, they’ll be equipped to take it on or know that they have to level up a bit more. Though the experience of leveling up can get very repetitive.
Story mode isn’t always exciting. At first traveling those large fields will be interesting, but after awhile, it gets boring because you keep seeing the same towns, enemies, and areas over and over. You’ll be able fast travel to locations you’ve been before, but unfortunately, the map doesn’t zoom out enough to go back to every location you’ve been to, just immediate locations. Also its easy to get lost and not be able to find your way back to a previous boneyard. I wish that you could have made a bigger map to use or at least a better fast travel option. Still, it can be fun discovering new locations and there are occasional surprises to be found in the new realms.
Despite its simplicity and repetitiveness, The Magic Hammer can be a very addictive game, especially early on. You can spend hours playing the game as long as you’re able to get past how basic the game is. There are lots of items to collect and trade with certain villagers, you can tame pets & team up with them, and even hire a miner to follow you around to get blocks for you. The Magic Hammer does not lack for things to do. In small bites, the game can be really fun. Though, as mentioned before, the repetitiveness of the game will wear on experienced players after awhile. Thankfully, the controls have no real issues other than they could have been a little more complex.
The story mode’s controls, including the touch screen controls, work well and are easy to pick up and play. As with the rest of Story mode, though, the simple controls are a mixed blessing. For people who are new to the action-rpg genre, the controls will be easy to use and enjoyable, but those who are long time fans of the action/rpg genre will be wishing for more options. There is such a thing as being too complicated, though, and the game‘s Create mode controls are almost that.
Create Mode is a bit more complicated then Story Mode; the controls are not as easy to pick up and play. I wish Create mode had used touch screen integration instead of using the 3DS’s buttons to place objects. All of the gameplay takes place on the top screen and so the touch screen is only used for selecting blocks to place. I think it would have been a lot better if all of the gameplay in this mode had been on the bottom screen. The touch screen would’ve been perfect for this game. I’m not sure why create games like this always insist on using buttons instead of the touch screen. You can create some stuff in Create mode, but I think you have to be a very artistic person to do so. There is one more mode to talk about and it might the one some people like the most.
Multiplayer mode lets you play with friends either locally or via the internet. I did not get to try out the Internet multiplayer. You can only play with friends during online play and none of my friends had this game. I did, however, get to try out the local multiplayer thanks to the developer providing two review codes for this game!
Local multiplayer is kind of neat. Its handy to have someone around to help you fight some of the tougher enemies. There are some basic chat phrases you can use during local play which I’m sure come in handy for online multiplayer. Overall, multiplayer mode is a lot like single player, expect you have a buddy to help you and there are many people who will love this. It all works very well too.
The Magic Hammer plays well overall, but the content can be very bland and experienced gamers will get bored of the game fast. The Magic Hammer is definitely a game for people who never played an action-rpg before.
The Magic Hammer has a very blocky style to its graphics. I liked the style early on, but I came to wish the game had more variety in how the towns, dungeons, people, and enemies looked. As I played the game, I kept seeing the same graphical looks repeated over and over and over again, with only an occasional surprise to add variety. It should be noted that the game does have 3D, but I found the 3D a bit overwhelming and had to turn it off early on. In the end, the graphics are just boring and bland.
I like this game’s music a lot. The music that plays when you’re out in the field is especially good. As for the game’s sound effects, its not bad, but not great either.
The Magic Hammer is a pretty basic action-rpg with a bland art style and an ok story mode. It has some other interesting modes, like Create and multiplayer, but its not a game that experienced gamers will love. Casual gamers and kids may like this game a lot though. It could be a good first action-rpg for some people. I would not recommend this as a good first Create game though.
The Magic Hammer is, overall, an ok game that has moments of addictiveness and surprise, especially early on. Its far from the worst game I’ve ever played, but it could have been so much better.
Shigeru Reviews Score: 6/10
The developer provided two copies of the game for this review & most of the above screenshots (expect for the first one which was taken from their twitter).