Top Critic Average
The Unlucky Mage lives up to its name in some ways — especially in its generic, subpar presentation — but it has a few tricks up its sleeve as well, with quality writing and a distinctly appealing cast of characters. In-between those extremes sits a gameplay template that delivers on exactly what it promises without really excelling: this is a no-frills, turn-based RPG in the 32-bit vein from start to finish, and how much you'll enjoy the experience hinges on how much that describes what you want to play. On a system like the 3DS, there's no shortage of top-shelf RPGs to choose from, but if you've played the best and are looking for a solid mid-tier effort, you might just be in luck.
Unlucky Mage is a game that people looking for a specific itch will find attractive. There is nothing here that is going to grab players who aren't already into the JRPG genre, but those that don't mind the bad graphics and simple battle system will like the throwback. The writing is much more mature than what the visuals may imply, and the story is the main draw of the game. Going in with moderate expectations, the game will surprisingly deliver them.
While simplicity and a long lasting lifespan are always welcome, Unlucky Mage relies too much on these too attributes to stand on its own. The final result is a game that feels like it doesn't go far enough and is unable to keep the player interested, mostly due to its simplicity and which leads up to a shallow effort, which could have been avoided if its audiovisual environment was more enticing and its dialogue and plot more involving.
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