Reviews - Updated on March 30, 2022

Card battlers and different variations of CCGs are still one of the most popular topics among indie developers. But the good news is that more and more games are appearing that do not seek to copy Slay the Spire once again, but do something unique. For example, The Magister is an almost full-fledged RPG, with quests, dialogues, exploration of the world, detective investigations and turn-based battles. And with cards, of course.

Village Detective

We act as the titular master – this is such an agent and judge in the service of the local Emperor, called upon to investigate crimes and settle conflicts. In general, someone like the hero Tyranny. He (or her – we choose which master to play) was sent to the village of Silverhurst to investigate the murder of another master, whose body was found in a local hotel. Moreover, this must be done within 10-15 in-game days, otherwise His Imperial Majesty will start to get angry.

Everything is according to the classics of detectives: we examine the crime scene, collect evidence, interview people, asking them traditional questions in the spirit of “What did you do the day before yesterday at nine?”. All the information received is displayed on the board, where you can see the evidence, motives and draw conclusions.

The Magister: Review

The investigation has just begun, but there is already a lot of information and suspects.

Another thing is that the characters will begin to specifically answer and tell what exactly they did on the night of the murder, only after we raise the relationship with them to the third level. And for this you need to follow their instructions or, for example, actively buy / sell from a merchant and use the services of a blacksmith – in general, the game does not immediately focus on the investigation, but starts to drive us through the mandatory RPG program.

We complete quests – find the missing peasant, remove the leader of the bandits, figure out who killed the local resident, neutralize the cultists, deal with the werewolves in the cemetery (you can only meet them there at night), hunt with the huntsman, and so on. Plus, a system of random events – moving between important points on the map, we can stumble upon bandits, a local aggressive redneck (they don’t like the Empire here), a merchant or, for example, a resident who will offer us to hunt deer.

The Magister: Review

Rumors from the hotel give clues to interesting events.

In addition, every new day, one of the characters important for the investigation gets into trouble – if we don’t help him before nightfall (after sunset, only a hotel is actually available to sleep and restore health), then this NPC will be unavailable for some time, which means that our investigation will be delayed.

The Magister: Review

Sleeping in a free bed increases fatigue levels.

Maps, money and a bunch of suspects

We solve all quests and problems with the help of cards – in battles or during negotiations. Yes, in The Magister, as in Griftlands, you can try to settle things peacefully – to persuade, for example, the bandits to surrender, to convince the waitress from the hotel to share information or to calm the aggressive locals. To do this, in the tactical diplomacy mode, you need to reduce the level of aggression of opponents to zero in 12 moves. Every turn we accumulate empathy points and use them to buy talking cards, among which there are jokes, lies and stuff like that. Some can, depending on what falls on the die (yes, there is a die), give empathy points, remove the level of aggression, or, conversely, add irritation and impatience to the deck – in fact, these are curse cards that clog the hand and complicate the solution of the problem.

The Magister: Review

Right during the duel, some cards are allowed to pump.

This card-conversation mechanic has been worked out, of course, not as detailed and interesting as in Griftlands, but it also leaves a positive impression. In battles, on the one hand, everything is more traditional – in turn-based mode, we use attack cards, alternating melee and shooting from a revolver, increase defense to block direct damage to health, and so on. And a cat or a dog can help us, which are allowed to be tamed here, as well as a partner hired in the Signal Tower (although he asks for two gold per day).

On the other hand, even though the fights are turn-based, they spend not turn points, but seconds – we increase or decrease the time before our turn, depending on how “second-consuming” actions we use.

The Magister: Review

There are always many people involved in battles.

The starting choice of a hero or heroine affects the contents of the deck and, in general, the style of passing. There are three classes – a conditional warrior, a clever man and a dodgy thief who does not disdain pickpocketing. It is clear that each has its own set of pros and cons. The warrior is physically strong, but weak in diplomacy (it is not initially available to him), the cunning one has the opposite, and the intellectual knows how to replace cards in battles for free.

In addition, the game randomly gives everyone a set of not very pleasant features – someone has problems with alcohol and sleep (you constantly need to buy booze at the hotel), the other will become an ardent religious fanatic (this gives a curse card that needs to be removed every day in the temple) . The third is too aggressive and very bad at diplomacy.

The Magister: Review

In the service of the Emperor, as you can see, there are alcoholics, psychos, drug addicts – choose what is closer to you.

Finally, the chosen hero is randomly given a starting skill, such as thievery or deduction. The latter is needed in order to find a hidden passage or find a place where a local resident disappeared during the mini-game, choosing words according to the meaning. But in the future there is every opportunity to adjust both the deck and character development. Gaining experience and levels, he will learn new skills. And you are free to open the skill of tactical diplomacy or the same deduction to your strong alcoholic, and give access to skills (and cards) for athletics to your nervous intellectual.

The Magister: Review

There are many perks and their combinations.

From some merchants you can buy new cards, from a blacksmith you can upgrade your defense, health or attack. And after communicating with the courtesan (intellectual, not carnal), the hero’s mind will be cleared and he will be offered a choice – buy new cards, remove or upgrade those in the deck.

The Magister: Review

The temple also provides useful services for money.

Everyone lies

However, the main thing in The Magister is still the investigation itself. There are a lot of suspects, and everyone is hiding something one way or another. And our task is to find evidence that will lead them to clean water. For example, the temple priestess says that on the day of the murder she was in the Signal Tower, but we already know that it was closed for two days – now we need to find this evidence and present it.

Also, from conversations with other characters, we learned that she had a motive – one of the masters did something bad to her brother. But does this mean that it is the priestess who is the murderer? Is not a fact. I repeat, everyone lies, and everyone can find their own motive. And when you catch them in a lie, everyone starts blaming others – they say that they saw a blacksmith or a huntress that night in a hotel. Once I, for example, got to the last supper of cultists who oppose the church and the Empire. And among them I recognized three characters at once.

The Magister: Review

So which one is the killer?

Companions called through the Signal Tower help in the investigation. They are different, with their own characteristics in combat and in investigative activities. They can be assigned to study the crime weapon or the documents found if their own skills are not enough (for example, alchemy is needed for the chemical analysis of evidence).

As a result, when the time comes, we must decide on the conclusions and evidence, submit a report and name the killer, and then reasonably defend our position.

The Magister: Review

You can also clear random dungeons for rewards of your choice.

It is also interesting that in each passage the details of the crime, the killer himself and his motives change. In one case, a mug and poison were used to kill me, in another, a knife, and so on. Of course, ideally, I would like the crime scene and other more important points to change, but thanks for that.

In battles, the picture is filled with special effects.

The Magister, despite its unpretentious (and for some, repulsive) appearance, should appeal to connoisseurs of card and role-playing games, especially those who love intricate detective stories.

Pros: fascinating detective story; addictive gameplay; entertaining mechanics of dialogue fights; many options for the development of characters and decks; pleasant music.

Cons: I would like the details of the crime to change more seriously and globally in the new races; ugly picture.

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