Mage Knight: Destiny's Soldier
In the land of... The Land... fantasy-themed strategic combat is brewing...
I must admit upfront that I don't really get turn-based strategy games. I am sure they are fun, and I am sure they offer tremendous game play in their own way, but they have never been my forte. (Wait, I do love Pikmin, does that count as strategy?) Because of this, I am always on the look-out for a good game that will change my mind on turn-based strategy, and it looks like Mage Knight: Destiny's Soldier for the Nintendo DS might just be that game.
Mage Knight: Destiny's Soldier is a turn-based strategy game that is based on the tabletop miniature war game Mage Knight, released by WizKids. WizKids is probably better known for its other miniature products such as the Marvel and DC HeroClix games, though. Everyone knows that it's a scientific fact that these games are the coolest things around. And fortunately for me, the DS version of Mage Knight is not just for the fans of the tabletop game but for newcomers as well.
In the Mage Knight world you inhabit a world of fantasy simply (and hilariously) called The Land. Of course we got all the regular fantasy elements: conjurers, priests, elven warriors, dungeons, forests, orcs, knights, scouts, and creatures of all kinds. There is also, of course, the dark force known as the Solonavi attempting to corrupt The Land. (Is there ever a fantasy realm without a corrupting dark force?) In this war-ravaged land you play as a retired soldier whose destiny is to raise an army of warriors. You must gather this army to fight the Solonavi and save The Land from destruction and bring back peace to the people. Ah, don't you feel like a hero already?
The basic gameplay features touch screen controls that let you pick up units and deploy them strategically for fighting and defending. The touch screen controls will also let you issue commands to your army and even roll dice, just like the tabletop game. Army customization will also play a roll, although for now the feature is under wraps. On the top screen you will see a map of The Land to help you through your missions, while the game action will be on the bottom screen. The top screen will also display character portraits/dialogue during story sequences.
It will be interesting to see how this game is received by the fans of the tabletop version. According the CEO of WizKids Jordan Weisman, the game is "exactly what we envisioned Mage Knight on the Nintendo DS to be." We'll have to wait and see what the fans say. But I hope it does well, simply because strategy seems a little under-represented on the DS currently, despite being a natural fit for the system.
Mage Knight is currently slated for a late September release from Namco, but the game has been under essentially a media blackout for some time, so we'll keep an eye on it. Keep it here for the latest updates.