Mystik Belle Review

Introduction

Mystik Belle is a Metroidvania, developed by indie studio Last Dimension. It saw a Steam release in May 2015 and then WayForward published it to consoles in May 2017.

Video Review

Review

Belle is a student at the magic school of Hagmore, and she decides one night she’s going to stay up and practice her magic. Unfortunately someone disrupts the very important brew that is made yearly at the school and spills it all over the place. Belle gets blamed for it and is told if she doesn’t help get the ingredients quickly to make a new potion, she is going to be expelled! So off she goes, through the halls of the school, to get what she needs so she can clear her name and go to bed.

As you progress through the school, you don’t really get much of a story to piece together. I mean it’s all handed to you at the beginning. There’s no hidden twists or silly dialogue to make you giggle. Nothing sad will happen that tries to pull at your heart strings. The only thing the dialogue really does is help give you hints as to what you need to do, or what item you need, in order to progress.

As you start getting different abilities in the game to reach new areas, you start finding lore pieces, talking about the event that is happening on the night in the game. Little did I know you needed to collect all of them to get the “proper ending”. If you don’t you get a lackluster ending that is so unsatisfying. But I suppose in games with multiple endings, there’s always an ending like that. The true ending at least wraps everything up and has a fun little end to it, even if it’s a touch aggravating to deal with the final true boss.

For a metroidvania, the game does a decent job at being one, but at the same time it stumbles a lot. There were not many new abilities to gain throughout the journey, and I never felt like I was getting any more powerful at the end of the day. As you kill enemies, you get some experience from them. You don’t actually see a number from them, but a little bar fills up. As you level, you eventually get a new basic attack, but there were only like 6 levels. So why even have a level up system when I was maxed out halfway through the game? You don’t get to switch your spells back or choose new equipment or anything.

The controls of the game were awful. From the platforming to the combat, everything felt heavy and some abilities weren’t mapped as well as they could’ve been. One thing that really aggravated me with the platforming, is that you just got enough height in your jumps to JUUUSSSTTTT barely get on the platforms. Even with the double jump, I was just barely clearing the jumps that I needed it for. I’m used to having a good bit of clearance on platforms in metroidvanias, but I failed so many times here because of this. I won’t even talk about how annoying it made it when vertically moving platforms were involved.

When it comes to combat, you can only shoot horizontally. This was such a crutch to the game, as there are flying enemies and ceiling crawling enemies and some that jump over you. But no, you have to wait for them all to come to your level to be able to defeat them. It was such a pain. Plus when it comes down to it, you have your normal attack, a charged lightning attack that you unlock eventually, and a weird melee attack that happens when enemies get too close. None of it felt good. Luckily if you died, you at least got to restart at the beginning of the room. But if you entered with no health, you respawn…with no health.

As you run around the school, you find items you can pick up. You can only hold a few in your inventory at a time, but there’s a special magic box you put items in that go to every magic box, so long as you’re not on hard. The inventory management was such a pain to deal with, as it was completely unexpected and the magic box even has a limit. There were a few times I had to fully drop an item to get another. Then you take the items to a specific spot where you actually use them, much like a point and click. Sure you can get hints from NPCs around the area, but it’s all up to trial and error. Yippee! Some items are even completely useless, so why even include them in the game!?

Rating

Rating: 3 out of 10.

Pros:

  • Cute Design

Cons:

  • No Good Story
  • Combat & Platforming Sucks
  • True Ending Boss Fight Is Awful

Summary

I am a sucker for magic school aesthetics and anything centered around Halloween. So the looks of the game drew me in and I really did enjoy exploring the school. But everything else felt wrong. From the platforming to the combat to the inventory management. I’m ashamed to say, WayForward stumbled with the publishing of this title and I cannot recommend it. 

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Game & Developer Information

Developer Website: Last Dimension
Publisher Website: WayForward
Publisher Socials: Twitter

WayForward Presents: Mystik Belle Official Trailer

Published by oniwalker

Co-owner of NodeGamers(dot)com. Reviewer and Guide Writer. I'll play just about anything as I cry about my backlog!

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