Magical Diary-Horse Hall
I thought this game would be far too cutesy for my taste. I was wrong!
It cannot be underestimated how addictive this game is. I have played through it eight times already and it never gets old. Small wander this game was available on Steam not long after I bought it.
The story is simple enough. You are a freshman at the magical ‘iris academy’ school for witches and wizards. Bring forth the Harry Potter comparisons! Yes this is all well-worn territory but the game really is set in its own universe.
Your character is from the non-magical world and has much to learn when she comes to the academy. The character customisation options are fun and quirky. Want green hair and eyes that fill two thirds of the face? You can have that! There are more ‘normal’ looking options too but who wants that!
So after character creation you meet your roommates, both of which are a little on the cliché side. You have the bookworm with a bit of a sister complex and the spoilt tomboy with a massive brother complex (both hate and love.) Your roommates are nice girls, though living with them is going to be far from harmonious. You will argue and drive each other a little crazy. Be careful however, try to do the best by them or you will regret it later!
You can’t die in this game (that I know of!) but you can get expelled or lose your powers through various means. Get too many demerits and you will be kicked out of school and your memory will be wiped. Non-magic folk are not allowed to know about the magical world! (As we know people are stupid and wizards like to keep them that way.) No mention of magical wars etc unlike Harry Potter but this world is not exactly safe either. Be careful what you agree to or promise anyone, a witches’ words are binding!
Most enjoyable part of the game I found was deciding which classes to take each week. You are in control of your schedule and timetable. Choose between red, blue, green, black and white magic classes each week as well as other activities like Study (increases your smart points which increases your magical power,) and Gym (increases your strong points which increases your Hp.)
Be careful what you take, you have exams to prepare for! (Well, this is a school.) Periodically you will be tossed into the dungeon and be expected to find your way out using the skills you have learnt in class. There are multiple solutions to these dungeons and the obvious answer will get you out but there are extra merits for those who think outside their magical box.
Your school life is rich and varied, you can be a model student or you can give the teachers a rough time. You can be freshman treasurer or you can remain obscure and blend in with the rest of the school. There are many school events to participate in all related to magical holidays and these can be opportunities to find out more about your friends or uncover more of what is going on with the various mysteries you can dig up. Fancy joining a secret society anyone? How about getting accidently married?
There are romance options in this game. Not all the options are opposite gender, some are not even human! The routs are complex and have a huge impact on how you play the game. I have to say, Damien is probably my favourite but they all have their charms and involve or exclude you from school life in different ways. Remember, not everyone will be happy with your choice of romance and if you annoy your roommates too much they will abandon you when you most need them.
As I said at the beginning, this game is simple to play but with such a mind numbing choice of routes and options that have a huge impact on the end of the game it’s far from straightforward. This game has much replay value and I for one hope a sequel or expansion is made.