You’re a witch, Belle.
I had never heard of the Dizzy series until I played and reviewed Spud’s Quest on PC. It was blend of platformer and adventure game that I actually found intriguing, and wondered why there weren’t more games in this style. Well, Mystic Belle comes along and adds one more to the genre. A game I had honestly never heard of before mixes platforming, shooting, puzzles, and backtracking to make an item management Metriodvania game that I can actually get behind.
Players control Belle MacFae, a freshman witch at a wizard school. Belle gets blamed for a failed school ritual and is forced by her teachers to gather the ingredients for the spell again or she will be expelled from the school. Now, she must traverse the school grounds solving puzzles, gathering items, and taking on the dangerous creatures that roam the halls in order to keep her school life afloat.
Platforms: PS4, PC, XB1
Price I’d pay: $14.99
The game takes elements of both a puzzle game and an action platformer. Belle can shoot fireballs from her broom, or if an enemy gets close enough, she can swing her broom and hit them. The more enemies she defeats, the more she will level up her attack strength as well as change the attack patterns. There’s not much variation in combat, though. It’s mainly just shoot, whack, and jump. What the game revolves around the most is the puzzle solving.
Belle will find things around the school that can be used or even combined with that will either help her get past a blocked area, or obtain yet another item. Think of it like trading items for items the player needs at the moment. I need to get an item guarded by the lunch lady. Well, the lunch lady hates flies. I have an item that attracts flies. I got to a dumpster that has flies around it, use the item to have the flies follow me, then go to the lunch lady with the flies to distract her to grab the item. Things like that.
The map is laid out much like a Metroidvania game, with checkpoints and fast travel spots in certain rooms. This allowed me to get items and bring them to areas that needed them quickly. One issue I had with the game was the fact that Belle’s inventory can get full rather quickly. If I picked up something with my inventory full, Belle would drop an item from her inventory to make room. This is circumvented via an item box where I could place things and it would appear in all found item boxes, but it still became a bit of a drag and really felt like padding to me.
While the combat was simple, the boss fights were at least different and offered up a decent challenge compared to the rest of the combat. Although I did have an issue both with the platforming feeling a bit floaty and the fact that many jumps felt like it was trying to be too difficult to make. Almost as if I wasn’t supposed to make the jump, but could and then realized that most of the jumps are like that. This is partially because the entire game’s screen feels like it was zoomed in too far. Belle takes up a lot of the screen, and when trying to dodge enemies and make precise jumps, it became really tricky.
In the end, Mystik Belle is a decently fun game that has a few issues when it comes to the action more than anything. Luckily, the puzzles and item trading are the main focus of the game, and it is the best part of the entire experience. Fans of old school Dizzy games and puzzle games in general will enjoy this title. If you’re coming here for the action parts of a Metroidvania game, beware. It’s not the best in that department, but for fifteen bucks, you can most certainly do a lot worse.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.