Mighty Mage – PS4 Review

Mighty Mage is the latest top-down, (sort of) auto-shooting Survivors-like to hit PSN and it comes from Brazilian-based coders Afil Games (essentially the home of solo dev Antonio Filipe).  It hit Steam a year ago but has now been ported to PSN and the Switch.

There are quite a few of these games now but they rarely live up to the genre standouts Magic Survival, Vampire Survivors and Brotato but Mighty Mage does something to change up the gameplay a little and that’s all to do with the primary shooting mechanic.  Where those other games just auto-target, leaving you to only worry about moving and dodging, this game does let you affect the shooting.  But before we go anywhere near that, what’s the game all about?

Well, you play as the titular mage who has to defend himself from waves of enemies who spawn around you within a small arena.  Your first choice is to pick your elemental speciality from fire, water, electric (or ‘elecric’ as the trophy list calls it) and earth.  These all handle pretty much the same though, so pick whatever you want and then your mage will summon a little portal that you’ll step through and that’ll take you to… er… the exact same room.

Soon after you arrive, enemies will start materialising in and you’ll need to dodge them with the left stick and take them out with your magic.  So, as we said, while the game handles the targeting of enemies you do have a little bit of input.  Holding down will generate a large (but poorly drawn) circle around you and you’ll start blasting enemies at a regular rate.  However, this will slow your movement so we found that tapping the button was more effective as it lets you move faster and has a faster firing rate.

Once all the enemies in that wave are cleared, you’ll be offered a choice of upgrades, pretty much in the same way as Brotato.  These range from increasing your damage, improving your critical attacks, adding new attack spells, boosting your speed, increasing your max HP and healing.  Here’s the thing though.  Just go for damage whenever possible and if your health starts to deplete, take the heal.  But, yeah, damage is everything.

Go through that cycle fourteen times and you’ll find yourself on the fifteenth wave.  Beat that and you’ll get a little text message ending congratulating you on completing your “long and tough” journey.  We were sort of taken aback by it because it’s so abrupt.  The problem is that all fifteen waves are basically the same.  They’re in the same room for a start.  There’s no larger enemies, no bosses, nothing to suggest the game is progressing.  Sure, you get more and more enemies each wave but the game is so easy that you’ll barely notice any rising threat level at all.

It took us less than an hour to complete the game with all four classes and earn the Platinum.  All at the first time of asking.  And that’s a problem.  We’ve put in 230 hours on the Switch version of Brotato, a few more hours Platinuming the PS5 version of it and we’ve completed Vampire Survivors on both Switch and Android, investing hundreds of hours there too.  Those games cost around the same as Mighty Mage and that took us an hour to beat.  In fact, just 13 minutes to beat with one class.

It’s not just that though.  There’s no sense of tactical progression, no feeling that new spells are doing anything at all, no interesting power-ups to try out, no hidden quests.  There’s nothing but the same room.  The choice of holding the attack button or tapping it is about all this game adds to the genre and that no longer ends up being a choice when you realise that one way works better than the other.

Throw in the fairly ugly visuals and there’s really nothing here to recommend.  Even the mage’s movement feels ‘off’ because the analog stick can only move you in eight directions which feels restrictive.  For a game about dodging, you’d think that 360 degree movement would be essential but, no, Mighty Mage does it differently to the games that made this genre great.

Overall, this is just a very amateurish effort in all aspects and one that doesn’t bring anything to the genre at all.  If you’re looking for some dodging action, start by dodging this game entirely.

Mighty Mage
2 Overall
+ The semi-auto shooting mechanic has some promise
- Restrictive eight-way movement
- Poor visuals
- We beat it on our first attempt
- Uninspiring upgrades
An amateurish Survivors-like that'll last you less than an hour and will provide you with pretty much no enjoyment at all.

About Richie

Rich is the editor of PlayStation Country. He likes his games lemony and low-budget with a lot of charm. This isn't his photo. That'll be Rik Mayall.

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