Saturday, August 16, 2014

Secret of the Magic Crystals - 8/20 hours

I regret that I called this game "half-assed" in my previous post. I made a number of specific criticisms, and I feel those criticisms are valid, but that was unnecessarily personal. I don't know the circumstances behind the making of this game. Maybe it was underfunded or understaffed. Maybe it was rushed to market before it was ready. Maybe the programmers tried their best, and they simply didn't have the skill to bring their vision to life.

Or maybe I just don't understand the point of this game. That is a possibility that seems more and more plausible to me as time goes on. When I first encountered the game, I assumed it was a pet simulator, that the point was to bond with these virtual animals and take care of them while you explored a fantasy world. I'm beginning to think that the real point of the game is to be mindlessly diverting while showing animations of cute animals prancing around (though, I have to say, the animation for the sledge-pulling course looks more than a little cruel), and that me expecting it to be a hardcore simulation might have been unfair.

It certainly succeeds at those more modest goals. I've played for eight hours already, and those hours have been relatively painless, primarily because this is the kind of game that is easy to play while watching television. You barely have to pay attention to it. I don't know if I'd call that a recommendation, but sometimes you don't want to concentrate so hard, you know? I've played nearly 2000 games of windows solitaire, and that game is the definition of pointless.

Secret of the Magic Crystals at least gives you some long-term goals to give the repetitive, mindless tasks a greater context. I was pretty thrilled when I got my level 4 unicorn, though due to the game's inexplicable "only one breeding per lifetime," I now have to leave it in the stable while I go through the whole rigamarole again to get a second level four horse. And maybe that will take another 8 hours. And then I'll be practically done!

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