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 to
burninate 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.
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
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
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.”