The art of war.
Maybe you think Pikachu would look better with some big tentacles." Perhaps you want to create a mighty dragon named Trogdor toburninate some villagers."Or maybe you just want a walking, dancing pair of butt cheeks.
At long last, there's a tool for your dark, creative desires: Magic Pengel, a monster creation and fighting game."While the game bits aren't up to speed, the doodles you create can be as rewarding as your own imagination."
Long ago, the Spirit of Creation made Man and Doodles." Man was given the gift of free will, while Doodles were granted a free body, the ability to be manipulated and altered by those with the gift." You are one of the few gifted with the power to create Doodles." With these powers, you must free the realm from a cruel king.
The power of Doodle creation lies in Magic Pengel's Doodle Sketchbook." While the menu interface is a little clunky, creating a Doodle creature is pretty easy." As someone with a good working knowledge of 3D design programs, I'm pretty impressed by the ease and reward in making a creature." The various steps of design, modeling, texturing and animation are all rolled into one.
You begin by creating an outline for the body; the game automatically turns your shape into a 3D object." After creating an ample body, you can select and draw in the other features." When you first start playing, you can only add limited parts; as you beat major challenges, you earn the ability to draw in legs and other appendages.
The animations for the creatures are preset, but for the most part they work well enough." Since you designate which part is part while creating your creature, the game knows enough information to swing the arms and bounce the body." If there is a major animation error, such as parts clipping into one another, you can preview the animations and make corrections."
The abilities of your beastie are dependent upon the colors you use." As you compete in battles, you earn more colors for your palette." The size of your creature is still capped by a line limit, but as you increase in level, you will be allotted more lines to increase your creature's size and abilities.
After you've made a drawing of mass destruction, it's time to make it fight." The battle system of Magic Pengel works on a system similar to rock/paper/scissors, but instead it's attack/magic/block." Attacks break through blocks, blocks bounce back magic, and magic negates an attack.
A creature with a major statistical advantage will practically always win, but when two Doodles have similar characteristics, the key to winning are the second and third moves when you must try to react off their initial attacks. A selection cannot be done twice in a row, so after one attack, there are only two possible next moves for your opponent to make.
Problematically, this means there's too much random uncertainty, since each of the three has a relatively equal statistical margin for defeat." Once you make one mistake, the odds of another are greater. It really is just like playing a game of rock/paper/scissors, and usually that game only lasts for about 10 seconds.
Besides the basic three moves, there is also a charge to boost the subsequent attack and refill some life energy." I find this move less strategically sound since it leaves you open to any of the other three moves." Even if you refill some health, you are leaving yourself at risk.
Thankfully, Magic Pengel keeps the focus on creature creation and development." Losing matches doesn't end the game; the game rewards you with more color points just for trying." Eventually, with enough playing, you'll wield a mighty beast and trounce the competition.
Navigating the environments of Magic Pengel is done through a first-person interface." While the controls are similar to the dual-stick setup of any console first person shooter, the environment is filled with invisible walls and limiting rails."
What's really annoying is the fact that in order to save or work on your Doodles, you must truck all the way back to your seaside shanty." When you want to fight in minor tournaments to build up your skill, you must go to one arena; when you are ready for the major matches, you must trek all the way to the other side of town. Getting around is more taxing than immersive.
Magic Pengel would have been much better as a PC game." The first-person interface would have worked better and it would have been easier to trade Doodles.
Nonetheless, the images and visuals are bright and colorful, using a cel-shaded look reminiscent of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker." But the framerate isn't nearly as smooth, nor are there the vivid effects of Wind Waker. The Doodle creations look much cheaper than the environments, but I guess that's part of the charm.
The music isn't particularly memorable, but the voices work well, especially since most people are speaking directly to you. I only wish the lip synching was better.
Magic Pengel is stuck in a tenuous spot between target age groups." Even though the bright colors and designs point towards a younger audience, I doubt most will have the patience to make a good monster."And for anyone older, the appeal of a dancing butt only lasts for so long.
Magic Pengel certainly stands out as an innovative piece of software. But as an actual game, it isn't so hot. The painting is cool and the characters are likeable, but this is more about your own imagination than your own fun."