Lost Magic

Review: Lost Magic

DS Review

On hearing a description of the Lost Magic story you'll mostly likely think it's a basic RPG, and you'd be right. In terms of the story this is a by the numbers RPG, but in fact the game does hold a few surprises and is perhaps best described as an RPG/RTS.

You play a young boy called Isaac who has been raised by his grandmother and taught the art of spell casting. They live in a world protected by several "Sages". However when one of those sages decides to go evil and start taking the magic wands off the other sages, Isaac (with his father's old wand in hand) sets out on a journey to stop her.

The games graphics aren't anything special and wouldn't even push a SNES near its limits. While on the world map you move around (Baten Kaitos style) on the bottom screen, the top screen displays a background picture of the area your in and a small description of it. While on the battle screen, the action takes place again the bottom screen with a top-down view of the field and the top screen displaying stats. Cut scenes take place on the top screen and these are the better part of the graphics. The characters were designed by Yoshiharu Sato, from Ghibli Studio (who worked on the wonderful anime The Cat Returns) and definitely look great. However as the cut scenes play out they're more "comic book" than "animated", with characters only changing stances/expression to display their change of emotion or tone.

The games music is again not something to get excited about, it's not something that will stay with you when you turn the game off, but its not something that is going to annoy you either as you play (you'll be too caught up in the gameplay to care). One thing that would have been great for the sound would have been if they used voice acting for the cut scenes, its not like the graphics took up much space on the cart and it may have helped make the characters and story more endearing.

As for the RPG elements of this game… they are few; only the story and levelling systems seem to barely make this game part RPG. When I first started to get to move around the world map I was looking forward to exploring various towns and meeting different characters, but to my disappointment this was not so. You just move over each area on the map and if some story is going to take place it does, otherwise you could either move on or get caught in a random battle.

From how this review is going so far you must be expecting me to say that this was a poor game and that I didn't enjoy, it but you'd be wrong, because now we move onto what saves this game and makes up its short comings, the battles and gameplay. The main draw of this game (pun intended) is that your character Isaac is a wizard and in order to cast spells you must use the stylus to draw the rune of a corresponding spell on the touch screen, e.g. hold down the L button, draw an upside down "V", release L button and you shoot a fire ball in a direction that you indicate with the stylus. There are six types of magic (fire, water, wind, earth, dark, light) and as you progress you end up learning 3 runes for each type, that's a total of 18 runes to master.


Adding to this, not far into the game you will learn how to combine runes to create even more powerful spells, in total there are over 390 spells to discover. You don't have to draw the runes perfectly but the better you do draw them the more powerful the spell will be. most of the runes are easy to draw (only the 2nd water rune gives me trouble) but drawing them "perfectly" isn't, and in the heat of battle might not happen too much unless you're really good using the stylus, but its not really that important to draw them "perfectly" anyway, so don't worry about it.

Since the characters main (only) power is spell casting he's going to need some muscle to help him in melee situations. To help with this one of the early spells you learn allows you to capture enemy monsters which you can then have fight on your side (in following battles), allowing you to build yourself a little army to command. This is where the RTS element comes in. Battle maps take up much more than size of the DS screen; you can use the D-pad to move the camera around the map to see what awaits you and try to come up with a strategy. You move monsters by touching them with the stylus and then touching the area you want them to go to or the enemy you want them to attack, you can move multiple units by drawing a circle around them. The one downside here is that the AI is pretty poor and they won't avoid obstacles/walls on their own so you will have to guide them around. Also, if you want to know how strong your enemy is just simply touch those with the stylus and their stats will appear on the top screen.

This might not sound too interesting to read but when you're playing it does become very addictive, especially when you come up against bosses and find you really need to think of a good strategy if you want to progress as a higher level does not automatically mean an easy win. Even if you start to get frustrated from dying so much and turn off the game you will find your mind thinking of the game trying to work out different strategies and monster combinations to use. There is also a time limit on battles to help put you under pressure, most boss battles have a limit of 10 minutes and while this might seem like a lot of time you may find yourself wishing for an extra few seconds more than once. But once you do (finally) get the win you will feel pretty good and all the hard work will have been worth it.

There are multiplayer options over LAN and WiFi and while you might only be able to have one-on-one duels with other players this is still great fun. Like with boss battles you can't go in relying on strength alone and will need to have a plan and be able to alter it quickly if it doesn't work as you hoped. And no in-game boss battles can compare with the thrill of trying to out smart another person and since every person is different and plays in their own way, every duel is unique. And if your game character is still of a low level and you want to try online duels but don't want to be too out classed, you can choose to play using a pre-set character who is set at level 40 (the games max level is 50), but fighting with your game Isaac does allow you to earn experience points and level up which can then be carried over to your game save.

Lost Magic is a game not without its problems but they don't stop it from being enjoyable, and that's what counts most.

N-Europe Final Verdict

The game might have a number of faults but the enjoyment of the battling makes up for it, add to that the WiFi duelling and you'll be glued to your DS for a long time.

  • Gameplay5
  • Playability5
  • Visuals2
  • Audio2
  • Lifespan4
Final Score



Rune Casting
Hard Boss Battles
Wifi Battles


Uninspiring Story and Characters
No exploration of towns
Very Hard Battles

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