Guardians of Magic – Amanda’s Awakening falls into the strict adventure game category. The focus is on the story, puzzles and inventory items. There are no hidden object scenes. It falls on the short side, but the puzzles and fun gameplay do make up for that a bit. It feels more like the first episode of a game than a whole game itself, akin to what Telltale Games does. For the price, it’s a solid adventure experience, and one we can only hope will see another release.
Amanda finds herself suddenly alone after her grandfather passes. She goes to his home and starts to investigate, discovering more about the world of magic she didn’t know. She was aware magic existed and her grandfather practiced, but she chose science over magic at an early age. By the end of the game, she’s decided to devote herself to her grandfather’s causeÂ – as the title suggests. The story involves a conflict between the worlds of magic and science, with her mentorÂ smack dab in the middle of this battle.Â This title ends with Amanda embracing her heritage and defeating the evil scientist, although because of the wonderful job the writers did with the backstory, we feel for the scientist and can somewhat understand his point of view.
At its core, it’s a point-and-click adventure game. Amanda has to figure out how to access pieces to two different machines that will aid her along the way. One allows her to see hidden magical items and the other drains electronics dry, never to be restored again. There are a lot of puzzles, many of which are cleverly disguised as just part of the gameplay. Each piece to the aforementioned machines is hidden in a box which has to be opened through completing a puzzle – these being the most obvious puzzles in the game. They range from matchingÂ games to puzzles where the player has to direct a shooting current towards a goal. There is a repeatingÂ challenge where players direct a telescope to the correct coordinates and then trace a constellation. This one was also fun because it hid trivia in short bites, explaining a bit of the backstory behind each constellation.
Outside of the puzzles, which never get very challenging but remain fun nonetheless, the adventure gameplay is well done. Each constellation solved opens up a painting which Amanda can then go through, using a teleportation spell. There’s a mechanic in the game that allows players to trace the screen to activate a spell (and there are four in all), but that can be skipped with a quick menu on the top right, thankfully. After the first few teleportation spells, tracing it would get repetetive. Throughout the game, Amanda learns more and more about magic and eventually ends up managing the main objective, saving a colleague of her grandfather’s from the evil scientist. Hints are available in the game, although at times, they end up pretty useless since they don’t direct the player where to go or what to do – and if a player ends up truly stuck, a walkthrough may be necessary to get past that bend in the road.
Guardians of Magic – Amanda’s Awakening has a cute art style that never lets the player take the game too seriously. From top to bottom, it’s a whimsical and fun title. The difficulty level is low enough than even beginners should be able to understand most of what is involved in the game and the puzzles are never too obscure or hard. For a point-and-click adventure, it’s an excellent start to a series.
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