Maglam Lord - Switch Review
"A genuinely engaging story with charming characters"
While running for your life from an alliance of gods and fellow demon lords, you eventually pass out and are escorted to safety by your trusted minion. Waking up, you find yourself weakened in the future and as the last remaining demon lord, there is no chaotic energy left to feed yourself on. How do you survive and sustain yourself? With murder and romance. Maglam Lord is a dating sim with beat ‘em up gameplay to break up the narrative (or as I like to call it, a date ‘em up). With a strong anime style that focuses on a mystery to uncover what happened during your time while unconscious, Maglam Lord has you embark on a quest to reach your full, almighty potential.
Now that the world is peaceful, the Demon Lord of Blades (your playable character) finds themselves weakened, bored and struggling to find their place. Eventually, you come across a guru (a love guru, actually) who recommends that you follow love. From here on, you’re then able to freelance work with heroes to kill beasts and take on citizen requests. This is the core gameplay loop: increasing affinity with party members and certain NPCs while levelling up by completing requests and progressing the story.
There are underlying mysteries behind this timeskip: where did all of the gods and demon lords go? How did things become so peaceful? And why are there others who have gone through the same situation? It's a compelling driving force for the player to push the story forward as they unravel the truth behind everything.
There are a variety of options for the player to romance among the cast of characters, ranging from two hero siblings, a beast girl, a government pencil pusher to a robot butler. Each character has their own strengths and flaws in personalities and these are highlighted on the dates you get to take them out on. The character and art design is one of the strongest features of Maglam Lord, with everyone looking distinct and easy to tell what they’re about from a glance.
- Intriguing mystery
- Variety of characters
- Stellar art design
Progress is made by completing quests, which has players either exploring smaller sections of maps or the whole map to collect items, slay a certain number of enemies or slay a boss enemy. The problem comes from the fact that combat feels more like a chore and in order to obtain more materials and stronger weapons, combat is what’s required. In general, it’s very repetitive and it feels like a stop-gap in order to drag out the game in-between the story.
In combat, there are three weapon types: sword, axe, and spear. Each enemy has a weakness, which is displayed next to their name, and this is where the strategy comes in. However, the only difference of gameplay comes from the weapon attacks; the inputs are the same and each wielder of the Blade Lord plays exactly the same. In combat with multiple enemies, you need to be cautious because there are no I-frames when you take damage, which can lead to health dropping very rapidly if you don’t pay attention; this can also occur when the screen is focused on the other side, causing you to not see the attacks coming.
Unfortunately, the stellar character designs stop at the romance and important NPCs as enemies have a limited pool of designs. Once you hit a point of being too strong for enemies, you’ll begin obtaining colour variations which do elemental damage. However, It all feels bland as there is no real difference between an enemy and finding the next variant and this would have helped to make this problem less noticeable.
- Repetitive gameplay sequences
- No I-frames when taking damage
- Enemies lack variety
Final Score: 7/10
Ultimately, Maglam Lord has an interesting story and its character designs will be sure to draw in your attention and yet, it also features a repetitive slog of battles, collecting and grinding between the actual fun parts of the game. If there was an option to only view the story or lower the difficulty to breeze through the combat, I might have been a little bit more favourable but as it stands, I just found myself mindlessly working at requests. However if you do enjoy this kind of gameplay loop, you can find a genuinely engaging story with charming characters who’ll surely put a smile on your face.
Thank you for checking out our Maglam Lord Switch review, thank you to PQube for providing the review code and thank you to our $5 and up Patreon Backers for their ongoing support:
- Andrew Caluzzi (Inca Studios / Camped Out)
- Bel Cubitt