Review by antiflagpunk2

Reviewed: 04/10/04

Well it's certainly different BUT...

Magic Pengel: The Quest for Color aimed for that niche market of ungodly common monster raising and fighting tournament style RPG which ends up playing off an interesting gimmick of allowing the gamer to draw the monsters that are used for battling. But the gimmick wasn’t anything special with goofy drawing controls excluding the 3d effect that MP possess, the drawing system is about as advanced as MS Paint but with far less options throw a fist full of anime stereotypes and an evil empire whose trying to control color to do…evil things that evil empires usually do, or something I’m not really sure they tried explaining everything with a few lines of text and an e-commotion if that’s any indication. Overall the gimmick above all other factors is going to be the selling point of MP, but the drawing system seems way to basic lacking options thereby trying to make up for the lose with drawing tools that end up being more for novelty rather than actual practical usage, and difficult at times to manage because the 3d turning effects of MP is rather choppy and its hard to tell at times where you’re actually drawing not to mention the half mustering of programming skill used in the battle system turned MP into just another below average RPG that will end getting a huge kick in collectors price simply for the gimmick, ow.

Gameplay

Drawing the actual monster well lets have a quick or not so quick look at them which strangely enough is more fun than anything else you ever do in MP but since the game uses the logic of “the most powerful monsters have the most color in them” it really has nothing to do with leveling while it’s certainly helpful the battle system broke down In a rock paper scissors system (RPS) is so easy that you’ll rarely if ever have a monster get knocked out. But the drawing system while as unique as the concept sounds is just way to hard to manage because you really can’t tell how your monster is going to work with things like walking even by the end of the game the leg/foot option still seems to surpass me because the foot tends to move all gangly and silly sort of like the rest of the monster which never seems to stop fidgeting in a state of eternal epileptic seizure, ha. As you win more tournaments you earn more parts and just a bit more color to maybe slap on a useless horn which somehow superpowers your monsters to the point where nothing really can stop them, that’s until you win the next tournaments run thru two boring load points because they don’t want to have an option screen unless you’re on the farm let alone the ability to save outside of the farm house, yeah whatever. Problem I was having with the doodling was while the envision of my monster was present, it just never came together even after hour upon hour of trying to perfect a doodle maybe something like preset shapes or even a circle/round off square option would have be just more helpful then could imagine and this gives MS Paint a one up on this silly drawing system. I actually liked the pre drawn doodle that you can buy from random villagers more than anything I ever drew, because they at least gave me sort of a beginning to work with not only does MP like to boast its amazing drawing system but its average at best with many of the options with doodling, just things that are never explained or if they are they’re so vague it just doesn’t matter because the system only cares about a few things when it tallies up the stats and those being the number of lines and the color used it really has nothing to do with quality because a blob with eight eyeballs and tentacle arms that took only two minutes to make will be just as powerful as something you could spend all day creating, time spent drawing should have been factored into the formula at the very least. Too many brush sizes that are really not very useful because the game will make the same depth of a monsters body part regardless of which brush you’re using, making things like the “Square Brush” completely worthless rather than ever using it in a practical drawing. It does however give you the ability to “undo” and “redo” mistakes which you’ll quite honestly be using almost as much as the normal pen option because if you’re aiming for perfection in movement the redo button will be your new best friend, ouch.

The other less invocative part of MP that seems so under developed that it tips the scale of Gameplay back below the better half of mediocrity was the battle system while again the theory of “You create the monster, then battle with it” the battle with it part was the real problem. It just wasn’t very fun, built on the dare I say lazy programmed rushed RPS battle system of “gosh darn that was really predictable I can’t believe I won that entire 3 vs. 3 fight with only one monster” kind a way. The RPS battle system makes the game so easy you’d almost have to make mistakes on purpose to lose a match because even on the 50/50 chance of getting hit you’re really just going on first instinct because the computer plays exactly the same with every dueler. Another problem was the omnipresent status effecting spells that made an easy fight, well.. lets say it makes them so easy you’d rack up the perfect victories like no ones business seeing as how spells like faint, sleep, and same skill seal turn the side of …oh it doesn’t matter there’s no tide to ever turn unless you’re again trying to lose the match and even that slight chance of ever getting hit with anything just voids that argument in the cracked grey cell shaded pavement, twice. Speaking of dodging attacks it doesn’t exist in MP unlike traditional RPG’s the RPS bible of low budget programming states “this beats that, and that beats this.” Give the doodles special affinities to either block (paper), magic (rock), or attack (scissors) while enhancing those particular abilities (ie stronger magic for the magic type monsters, more hit points for the attack type etc.) its all rather played thru, a brick wall of half mustered predictability with the dueler constantly yelling out whatever cliché the big eyed silly looking villager happens to fall into and the fighting is only to really see your creations in action and get color upgrades/doodle options which is by far the gushing head wound from flying grenade shrapnel that hurt MP the most. You also have the ability to use an attack outside of the RPS it’s an ability called “Charge” that restores hit points and causes double damage on the next turn which was made entirely to exploit giving the ability to completely decimate an opponent in three lovely head cracking’ turns.

The final element of Gameplay is actually the playability of the towns and villages, more like four or five extremely small zones with annoying load times stuck in between them while the areas are not exactly visually stunning (I’ll talk about this later) I was really wondering what the game was even loading especially in areas like the small plot of land just before the two areas, it just doesn’t make an sense. However you do get an anime style cursor mouse thing that floats in front of you in a 3rd person view that acts a guide of sorts but the view is goofy to the point where its annoying to stop and use the R3 stick to look around and talk to people in spot other than eye level, its kind of funny but I spent most of the game not even bothering with looking above and below while I was navigating the town that I realized that villagers are hidden in the little nooks and crannies of the towns infrastructure. Far as the villagers were ever concerned they’re really just doing the whole villager thing hanging out shouting inane comments about bread or how much they enjoy farming while selling useless junk and/or crappy doodles but from here you can challenge them to a duel, run back thru two mind numbing load points and duke it out which you may or may not be able to win because sometimes they have doodles that practically wipe you out in a few overpowered rounds but if you happen to beat the challenger you’ll may or may not be able to buy those doodles from them it seems so random that its almost a guarantee you’ll not be able to buy the best of the lot but least it’s a start, of sorts. But Eh, there’s really no fair way to balance a score with this mess seeing as how the highs of the Gameplay were relatively good but the lows just drug it under the ground casket nailed and all, it stings because the meat of the game should have been more focused on the battle system rather than giving you some half assed attempt its like selling a two hundred piece jig saw puzzle with randomly selected pieces, well maybe its quite a bit different but a coherent example escapes me just from trying to remember it all for worse over better if anything I’ve realized that most of what was wrong Gameplay wise in MP my brain seemed to have rejected in hopes I’d sparingly recollect it, fancy that.

Graphics

Umm. Cell shaded nonsense it really does give the impression that it’s based in a comic book of sorts
called manga by the Japanese and elite society of nerds who dictate what is considered quality over a bag of greasy potato chips, while this is certainly a push in the ultra kiddy-ish cute monster fighting genre its nothing all that visually appealing. Why you ask? Because what little character modals are used are silly sharpened blocky versions of the doodles you can create but with more sass and less importance to really anything. Outside of the town you have a flat sky that’s just a picture retiled a few hundred times that doesn’t even cascade making it even worse you get to follow a mouse cursor thing that has paint brushes for hair with everyone that doesn’t have a flat top hair cut sports the crazy block hair that seems unmovable al la anime overload to the tenth degree. With anime so follows the oh so perfect shoe fit with the giant Easter eggs eyes that to have taken over the vast majority of the characters brain, with uninteresting plain looking faces coupled with mouths that never seem to sync with the voices to the point where the camera flips the direction to make up for the har har laugh fest of even more examples of rushed playability from the translation process. Water effects don’t even exist and since you’re either outside, in the town surrounded by buildings hut things that strangely enough block out the tiled background making it look even more basic or in the arenas that look so similar to the point where you’d swear they didn’t change the setting in the least, in fact its not really a surprise at all considering everything else looks like it had the corners cut before final production.

The other half of the visual sensation that MP had to offer was the scratchy looking doodles that were simply not as cleaned up as I’d like, theirs a certain doodle towards the middle of the game that was done well enough to look like normal NPCs (you’ll know when you meet him) and I wondered why I wasn’t able to clean my doodles up and make them at least in theory have the smooth texture without the rough pencil drawing look they’re indefinably stuck with. It was done enough to the point where it wasn’t really a bother and I suppose in a game like MP that counts for something, or not.

Music/ Sound

Normal stuff, just even a glance at the box will give you exactly what you’d expect from a game like MP, thankfully it doesn’t break what was already broken or could it not break what was already broken long before? It doesn’t really matter seeing as how lips were at least a second and a half off sync only countered by the original Godzilla movies with music themes that I have to admit were way better than I’d expect but the sound effects are in the game, well yeah they’re here but its just a punching a pillow sound of a goofy looking block arm hitting a goofy looking block body. All magic has the same “UHHHHHH” almost in pain charging sound with few variations along the way most of them are changed up between different block counters, huh.

Story

Oh boy, you get your typical silent protagonist who isn’t present in this particular dimension MP happens to be in apparently, they compensate by giving everyone the ability to see your invisible character model except for you of course. Throw a half assed trimmed down legend based on the theory of creation but with color, doodles, and evil empires trying to oppressed the overly cheek members of your village (maybe, this is around the time of the legend? I’m not sure they had hieroglyphics to represent everything but it seems like you’re in backwards 20th century kind of deal so the time line is janked to the moon and back.) who go about a day-to-day routine smiling the good one despite being controlled by that evil empire and all, no one really seems to be worried but the empire guards are moody as you know, were not trying to break ground so lets hit all the stereotypes in one fell swoop. You really don’t know anything about your character, they don’t even tell you at the end of that game either so I’m going to take a wild guess and say you fit under the 18 and younger category of world saving adolescent seeing as how you’re friends with the other two NPC’s who’s names escape me at the moment but it doesn’t matter because they’re 12 and well act like 12 year olds, vegetating that personality thing JUST A BIT. Something about color and people who use color for the wrong reason? I don’t know, it can’t be worth actually trying to dissect what little story was even present seeing as how the bad guys looked like bag guys wearing the black and talking about doing bad things while the few NPC’s outside of your two friends really don’t serve anymore purpose than to tell you some small piece of information, transparent goals about oppressing the villagers WITH COLOR the empire has the wrong stuff rehashed story that I’ve heard told more times than I could imagine leaves just something you’ll wish that you had the ability skip with damn near no story interaction with the villagers, IT BURNS.

Conclusion

People are going to buy this because it really does sound kind of neat to create your own monsters and fight with them; I’ll be the first to admit that this looked very different in that positive way. To anyone reading this and questioning my methods what did you spend the majority of the time doing? If you said drawing doodles then you bought a game for the gimmick as much as you’d rather not like to admit it, a game built on the gimmick alone could not the bear the burden of a weak everything else. For me the battle system was just so pathetic that it was almost a chore to have to fight tournaments, only the extremely shall I say weak minded individual could have taken anything worth wild out of the actual battles but I needed more than just RPS, how about usable battle items, more drawing options just give me something to lull my attention away from trying to draw a leg for two hours that doesn’t move like its fractured in 10 places. Try not to praise the game for the simple gimmick seeing as how if you’re reading this now you more than likely have a program far superior; it’s called “MS Paint” and surprisingly enough it holds my attention just was well as this “might as well call it a beta”, Magic Pengel: The Quest for Color.

Rating:   2.0 - Poor

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