The first thing that catches your eye when looking at Magic Scroll Tactics is that it looks like your typical isometric japanese strategy game, but with a 2d side perspective. This might be worring regarding the movement and tactical options available. I was a bit skeptical myself about it but the cute characters obviously won me over. I am glad they did. Magic Scroll Tactics bidimension approach works well with a few tricks that keep it a valid turn strategy game but also give it a unique feeling. Altitude advantage plays of course a big role in the fighting economy, with attacks being more effective from above, so you want to get the higher ground as soon as possible. Another interesting trick is that you can move into an ally occupied space, pushing the unit that occupy that tile backward and all the other ones consequently. This is effective in stepping forward after another unit has attacked, thus protecting it from enemy retaliation. Sometimes the maps do not feel as vertically developed as they should be, resulting in situations where the skirmish between the factions become a matter of switching your front characters in order to attack, like in some sort of Pokemon battles. This sensation is enhanced by the fact that, unlike opponents, your units alway start lined up politely on the left side of the screen. Another aspect I liked is that your troops start the battle without mp and gain some each turn, making it necessary to build up some power before starting to unleash powerful spells on the battleground.
In Magic Scroll Tactics you play as Nash, a summoner person which is a versatile fighter, capable of melee, ranged, magic attacks and a bit of herbalism. Other than her, you are pretty much free to assemble your team of magical creatures. You have your typical selection of classes including mages, clerics, fighters and archers and a not so typical range of races to choose from such as wolfs, salamander, mermaids, harpys and frogs, each with their own perks and weaknesses, an unusual selection which I found quite refreshing. Each character can be further personalised with equipments and via skill tree. The customisation options are quite interesting, and will allow you to create a party that suits your own playstyle.
I really enjoyed the fact that as you begin a new game you are immediately thrown into the action without lenghty tutorials or logorroic dialogs. There are cutscenes with the supercute characters but they are never long and you’ll spend 99% of the time busy battling. You won’t be left in the blind because important information is always displayed clearly on screen when necessary. Interface is great and easy to navigate, if not particularly eye-catching.
I have not completed the game yet, but at 12 hours I feel that the ending credits are not too far (my characters are about level 70 already) so I guess it can be completed in less than 20 hours. So far the game entertained me well, with battle becoming more and more challenging. Enemies are tough and hit hard, and the are some difficulty swings here and there but should you require to grind a bit of gold or experience you can go back and do some free battles, maybe using the autobattle feature to make the process painless. Watching the cpu play with your team is interesting to understand the mechanics, and sometimes I feel it is smarter than me ( but I am better at exploiting cheap tactics). You can also expect your fair share of plot twists and wee surprises along the way that will keep you engaged. Really, I am having a lot of genuine fun with it.
I had the feeling that some of the ideas could be implemented further, but overall Magic Scroll Tactics is a very solid tactics rpg worth every minute spent with it. Magical.
+ solid and satisfying gameplay
+ clear interface and intuitive controls
-some ideas are a bit underused.