Maglam Lord Review (Switch)
Release Date: February 4, 2022
File Size: 5GB
Click here to view on the Nintendo eShop.
Version Reviewed: 1.00
Every once and a while, a game comes out that seems to fit right into your interests. Fun character designs, wacky storylines, and the ability to romance whoever catches your eyes. The minute I saw Maglam Lord, I wanted to play it immediately. Developed by the team that did Summon Nights, Maglam Lord was already painting itself as another niche game that would be sure to have its loyal followers. But does that nicheness come as a detriment? Let’s find out!
Maglam Lord follows Killizerk, a Demon Lord who has been been cornered by both Gods and Demons in an all-out war. Due to supposedly bringing chaos to Eusdeal because they are able to kill immortals with weapons known as maglams, everyone is aiming to destroy them once and for all. However, just before the final blow can be dealt, everything fades to black and you awaken in a strange world.
Eusdeal is no more. Instead, you are now in Arcadio, where peace reigns. However, almost all Demon Lords, Gods, and Heroes are no more. You are marked as an endangered species and as you adventure through the story, you meet others like you, who have also awoken in this strange new world.
The story portions of the game are told in visual novel fashion. Certain choices will have the chance to unlock titles that give you buffs, while others can appeal to specific characters. The choices related to unlocking titles don’t have any major bearing on the story, but depending on who you choose to romanc, you could experience a different ending with that character.
The story overall is told pretty well. The characters are very charming and each has their own time in the spotlight. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, but also doesn’t go too over the top with the wackiness that it takes you out of everything.
Maglam Lord is an action RPG where you control one of five playable characters who wield the Demon Lord Killizerk as either an axe, a sword, or a spear. After cutscenes have wrapped up, you are taken to a menu where you can perform many different actions, such as purchasing items, crafting new weapons, setting up your team, taking on new missions, or romancing one of seven characters.
When choosing a mission from the Request Board, you can choose to either continue with the main story line, or perform a side quest mission. The side quest missions have you either killing off specific enemies or collecting specific items for NPCs. Some of these missions are repeatable while others are not, giving the player some choice to grind for crafting items and experience. All missions have a recommended level that your character should be, although it is merely a suggestion, as battles can be easily cheesed, if you have the patience for it.
Once you choose a mission, you are teleported to a 3D map where you can run around. You will also see enemies on the map. Any time that an enemy spots you, they will immediately give chase and while simple enough to avoid going into battle, it’s almost impossible to get any enemy that you’ve drawn the attention of to stop chasing you unless you change zones.
If you do decide to go into battle, you are taken to a new screen where you and the enemies are on a 2D sidescrolling area. At this point, you are pretty much attacking enemies with your melee attacks and skills until everyone has been defeated. The battle system is pretty basic, allowing for you to spam enemies with attacks and lock them into a cycle of never being able to attack you back (should they not slip past your range of attack). Of course however, the same can be said for the enemy, as you can get locked into this cycle as well if you’re not careful. Truthfully speaking, the gameplay portion of Maglam Lord does bring the game down, as battles quickly grow repetitive and boring. Boss battles can range from complete washes to frustrating, as the most challenging you’ll face are the enemies that are continuously moving, making it hard to land a series of hits.
You can also use items and skills during battle, although the UI for accessing any item or skill not automatically set is a bit cumbersome. By default, Maglam Lord will assign one of your items and skills to one of the face buttons. If you want to access any others, you’ll have to hold whichever face button to show the entire list. It can also be easy to forget that you can actually use your skills when you’re sweeping through enemies with ease.
As you land hits on enemies, you will notice a gauge building next to the main character’s icon. This is the DG gauge and once it is filled, you are able to play as the Killizerk, who hits much harder than the partner characters. However, the time that you can play as Killizerk is limited, with the gauge decreasing as time passes. You can extend the amount of time though by landing hits.
Crafting and Team Building
Outside of battle, or at safe locations, you are encouraged to continuously craft new maglams to gear out your team. Crafting items can either be bought at the shop or found on maps during missions. There are three types of weapons and all enemies that you face will be weak to one of the three weapon types. Each weapon has a rating and the higher the rating, the higher the attack value is. However, to craft higher rated weapons, you will need rarer items.
When equipping maglams, they are shared across all partner characters, meaning that you only need to equip the weapon with one character for it to carry over to others. This is not the case for armor and clothing pieces however, so you will need to manage those upgrades. You will also need to keep on top of unlocking new skills and changing titles for different characters. With each level up, each character gets skill points which can be used to unlock more skills.
Some missions will require the use of specific characters, but for the most part, you are free to choose whichever character you’d like to be your partner in battle. Partner characters will earn all the experience gained in battle while characters not partnered up with will only earn half.
Another portion to Maglam Lord is the fact that you can date any of your partners that you take into battle, as well as a couple NPCs. It doesn’t matter whether you choose the male or female version of Killizerk, all characters are open for you to date. The dating process, however, is a bit surface level. You can gain hearts by either partnering with characters on missions or by selecting certain text options during cutscenes. You can also feed specific items in battle to certain characters to increase their hearts. Other than that, it feels as though it’s kept solely in the background. There are times in the main story when dating is brought up, such as when the Dating Dojo is first unlocked. But past that, it doesn’t tend to get acknowledged.
As you gain more hearts with characters, you will be able to take them out on dates. A few dates will result in you unlocking a special CG, along with a short cutscene where the characters are getting closer to each other. But a good portion of them will just be you selecting a date location and then seeing if the character you brought actually likes said location. If they do, the date will be a success, but if they don’t it will end in failure (although the game does encourage you to keep trying).
The 2D art for Maglam Lord is beautiful, reminding me of Disgaea with how stylish and fun everyone looks. When it comes to the main cast, no one is left behind or looks too dull. Bringing in the artist, lack, who has done art for the popular gacha game, Fate Grand/Order, was a great choice. The aesthetics were definitely my favorite part of playing through Maglam Lord and I never got tired of seeing new characters and locations. Even the UI on the main hub is charming, even though it’s just a menu with a backdrop of your hideout.
The game is fully voiced, although only in Japanese. The voice acting is very well done, The music is charming as well, although it does tend to blend a bit more into the background. There’s a nice mix of funky beats, guitar riffs, and gentle piano melodies to take you through the entire story. It’s nothing to truly write home about, but it does fit the tone of the game very well.
However, there are some rough parts with Maglam Lord. The biggest issue does have to do with performance during battles. The minute that you start comboing attacks and hitting enemies, the game starts to lag pretty hard. This consistently happens every time, so that will have to be something to keep in mind. The 3D models for the human/human-like characters also look a bit rough compared to the monsters. And as mentioned earlier, the UI for switching skills and items is overall very cumbersome.
Maglam Lord is a game I really wanted to love. Aesthetics-wise, it is right up my alley with its bright and flashy visuals. The story was fun to play through and I found myself enjoying the entirety of the cast. The only downside, unfortunately, is the gameplay. The gameplay is absolutely boring. Outside of using the correct weapon against the right enemies, there is little to no strategy needed and battles can be won by button mashing alone. And when I mentioned that it can be easy to forget that you have skills that you can use during battle, I did mean that.
What really drives home the repetitive nature of the battles is that they all feel the same. One battle blends into another and you find yourself doing the same thing with each level. It’s quite unfortunate, because the gameplay feels as though it drags down the rest of the game by a fair bit. And if you’re someone that comes into Maglam Lord and just cares about the story, it’s going to be rough motivating yourself to get through the gameplay. If my words haven’t dissuaded you away from Maglam Lord, or you find yourself at a crossroads still, I would watch gameplay of the mission portions of the game, as that’s where a good chunk of the game resides.