Do you like spells? How about danger and romance? Have you ever wanted to attend witching school and interact with all types of different people or have your choices dictate the ending? Welcome the colorful, anime style world of ‘Magical Diary.’
Released for PCing gaming back in 2011 by Hanako Games, ‘Magical Diary’ is an interactive visual novel type game, a narrative simulation with RPG choices sprinkled throughout play. The player gets to design a female student, right down to skin tone and hairstyle There is, unfortunately, no male student option which was the one thing that disappointed me. I wanted to see how a gender swap would change the story. However, the make-her-your-own aspect was quite well done, letting players craft the type of new freshman young lady they wished to. The student is accepted into Iris Academy under the term ‘wildseed’ which means the magical potential did not run in the family. She is placed into Horse Hall, where the occupants are known for their daring. The player then meets numerous other characters, some being teachers and others relationship options. From there, the player decides what type of magic to focus on and how this will help him or her get through the tests that the professors impose later in the plot. Can this new student make it to sophomore year or will she be expelled long before then?
At it’s heart, ‘Magical Diary’ has a choose your own adventure core, very typical of visual novel genre. The story progresses with little touches from the player here and there, the choices made effecting the climax and outcome of the little tale. The focus here is to tell the story of a new ‘wildseed’ witch and what transpires at her first year at school. There’s fun and detentions with heartbreak and explosions. What could be more fun? The graphics are usually static but beautiful and render the atmosphere perfectly. Another point positive in this title. Though the animation doesn’t move too much, character’s emotions and setting backdrops still capture the imagination and tug at heart strings.
Though narrative is main component to this game, there is some combat. Students are placed in dungeons to utilize the spells they’ve learned and how to implement them in a particular scenario. The dungeons are no more than a few halls long with traps and obstacles thrown in to test the player’s mettle. Some of the dungeons require fast thinking, others make no sense. One example was when a Hodag, a creature from this universe, was placed to hinder the player from finding the proper exit. There was hardly a mention of any other creatures in class or in conservation To simply have one dropped into a dungeon seemed a bit of a stretch. He was an obstacle none the less, but a rushed and wasted one. There could have been some build up to the fact that the player was going to deal with an actual monster.
Overall, if you’re in the mood for some fun story telling and romance, give ‘Magical Diary’ a try. Spells, shopping, and subtle life lessons are what make this title great and worth the sitting time.