Title: Sigil of the Magi
Release Date: September 28, 2023
Reviewed On: PC
Publisher: The Iterative Collective
Genre: Deck-Builder RPG
After some time in Early Access, developer Yongjustyong is releasing the launch build of their deck-building adventure, Sigil of the Magi. During this period, updates and feedback shaped the experience for the full release, and it shows. That said, post-launch updates may be needed for this game to reach its full potential.
Sigil of the Magi casts you in the role of three Adventurers embarking on a journey across the land to find the Tomb of the Magi, which bestows great power upon its discoverers. Using cards, the adventurers battle various monsters and foes obstructing their path as they seek the Tomb.
You commence the game with three Adventurers, known as the Royal Vanguards, before unlocking more as you progress. The other unlockable Adventurers are from the Guild of Shadows and the Far East Guild. Each Adventurer possesses a unique ability enhancing combat, and players start the game with an initial advantage.
For players concerned about selecting a character for their group, a fourth custom option allows you to form your own group after unlocking all nine characters. After choosing your three Adventurers or one of the three teams, you embark on a journey across the land, aiming to safely reach the far side of each map. During your runs, you’ll encounter various events, with most involving battle sequences that must be completed to advance.
Careful path selection is crucial when navigating each map, as backtracking isn’t possible after choosing your next path. This becomes particularly important as maps grow more challenging. Battles in Sigil of the Magi occur on a tactical map where Adventurers move using cards in their hands to perform actions. These actions may involve providing armor for defense or attacking enemies.
Certain cards offer additional benefits, such as inflicting negative status effects on enemies, like slowing their movement or causing them to bleed damage during their turn. However, enemies can retaliate with similar status effects. You start each run with three action points, and card usage consumes varying amounts of action points based on their cost. As you progress through each map, you gain more action points and cards, granting additional points.
Players also have a card rack for storing cards for future use. However, you’re limited to storing four cards, and moving a card into the rack costs an action. Nevertheless, you can use a card without wasting an action in a future turn, allowing you to prioritize cards in your current hand. Like action points, your card rack capacity can increase as you progress through each map.
With each cleared map, enemies become stronger, and various spots on battle maps apply different status effects. For instance, magic stones offer added defense at the start of each enemy phase, while objects like mushrooms or spikes inflict poison or damage when Adventurers step on them.
Regular battles involve fighting different types of enemies, such as giants who can push Adventurers back a tile or archers who target Adventurers a few tiles away. Elite battles, on the other hand, pit Adventurers against tougher enemies with more health and greater attacking power.
At the end of each map, boss fights present the toughest challenges. These encounters often require well-stocked cards, most of which should be upgraded to deal more damage. By the end of these battles, most Adventurers are near death, and sometimes only one barely survives.
The game’s most exciting and intense sequences are undoubtedly the battles. Although there’s no option to redo actions if mistakes are made, this forces players to adjust their strategies and frequently results in improved turns. Losing isn’t the end of the world; in fact, your party makes progress after each run, unlocking other Adventurers and their guilds and enhancing your Adventurers for future runs.
During your adventure, you can rest at camps to restore your Adventurers’ health. Here, you must choose between restoring a significant portion of one Adventurer’s health or giving all of them half of their health back. Resting also allows you to upgrade some cards, providing more armor or increasing damage dealt to enemies during battles.
Throughout your journey, various events will provide benefits, such as extra gold for spending at a merchant’s shop. This enables you to purchase relics that enhance combat. You can also acquire new cards or use the card remover to eliminate less useful cards, like junk or wound cards, that waste space and prevent you from obtaining more useful ones. Treasure chests may yield gold or a new relic. Certain events can transform a junk or wound card into a more useful one. However, be cautious, as some transformations can harm your Adventurers.
Sigil of the Magi offers an enjoyable, visually appealing pixelated adventure across diverse maps. While some battles may provoke frustration, retrying with new cards or Adventurers increases your chances of achieving longer runs. This gameloop becomes its most addictive feature, and players who invest themselves will easily get the most out of the experience.
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