The Mage's Tale is a VR take on classic dungeon crawlers we grew up with. It was released on Oculus Rift with relatively low fanfare, but the majority of people who have played it have had a wonderful time casting spells and slaying monsters. Not sure if The Mage's Tale is for you? These six reasons might change your mind.
The Mage's Tale's story takes about 10 hours to complete
Have you noticed that a lot of VR games have a certain fleeting quality to them? How the majority of them don't seem to hold your attention like regular PC or console games? That's completely different here.
The Mage's Tale's story is told over about 10 hours of playtime. There are a bunch of different dungeons to explore, and each one is laid out differently with different puzzles and different items to discover. That's a lot of content from a VR game that costs about $40.
The Mage's Tale is set in a familiar world
Have you played The Bard's Tale? It was released way back in 2004 by developer inXile and was generally loved for its campy style that spoofed more serious fantasy games. The Mage's Tale is set in the same world and has the same sort of humor found throughout.
Monsters will tell you where you can shove it right before you slay them, and your master mage's familiar is constantly being an ass while also keeping you company as you make your way through the vast, dark dungeons. If you like a game that doesn't take itself too seriously while also giving off a nostalgic vibe, this is the one for you.
Developer inXile also create Wasteland and Torment: Tides of Numenera, so it's clear that they know what they're doing.
Battling is fluid and fun
This is a game that's taken what we love about classic dungeon crawlers and turned them VR, so you can expect a lot of combat. Luckily, inXile took their time balancing the combat, and it's easy to quickly switch between spells and shields.
You can deflect incoming arrows, launch a few different spells to see what works best against the enemy, then deflect more incoming projectiles with your magical shield. It's an easy system to get used to, and it remains satisfying throughout the game.
There is a robust spellcrafting system
Why play through the game other than to rescue your master mage? To get loot! There are plenty of ingredients and gear upgrades to find throughout the world, and opening chests is satisfying. Everything you find is transported back to your lair via magical frog (you'll see), where you can mix and match ingredients to upgrade and create new spells.
There are more than 100 spell combinations you can create, so start dumping ingredients into your cauldron and see what comes out.
Standard, smooth locomotion has been added
When The Mage's Tale was first released, there was only a teleport locomotion option. This turned off many strong-stomached Rift enthusiasts, and the devs took note. It didn't take long for a patch to be released, adding standard, smooth locomotion to the game.
Not only that, the patch also optimized the game a bit, cutting down significantly on load times and making the game run smoother overall. inXile isn't new to video game creation, and they know their success is based on how happy they can make their players.
The Mage's Tale is detailed and beautiful
VR games this size sometimes take a bit of a hit to the appearance or the detail found in levels, but The Mage's Tale is beautiful from start to finish. What little light the dungeons have is beautiful, your spell effects are bright and dynamic, and puzzles have a surprising level of detail.
Once you secure the Rift on your head, it's very easy to forget where you are. The storyline does take upwards of 10 hours to complete, but it will hardly feel that long.
Are you playing The Mage's Tale?
Have you given this dungeon crawler a try? What did you think? Don't forget, you can play The Mage's Tale on HTC Vive using ReVive!
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