Wild Mage – Phantom Twilight is a magical open world action RPG; full of airships, floating islands and dungeons. Luna Orion, the developers of Wild Mage, aim to bring something different to the RPG genre. Not only can enemies be dynamically cut to pieces, but the environment around you also can be destroyed and changed. To call this game a typical hack ‘n’ slash just wouldn’t cut it. Fulfilling their original Kickstarter goal of $10,000, Luna Orion has gone on to tripled that total, and still have 26 days to go! Let’s take a look at what makes this action RPG unique and our first impressions of the game.
Genre: RPG, ARPG
Developed by: Luna Orion
Published by: TBA
Release date: 2019
Platforms: PC, Nintendo Switch – Stretch Goals: Mac, PS4 and Xbox One
Wild Mage Features
- Third Person Gameplay
- Destructible Environments – Voxel-based, dynamically destructible floating islands
- Airships for transportation, combat, housing, and crafting
- Destructible Monsters – Ability to slice monsters and objects into pieces
- Powerful Spells acquired from monsters
- Multi-player co-op, 4-6 person per world (stretch goal)
Story & Setting
It was 10,000 years ago when the Revenant chose to take his revenge upon the world of Etherion, using himself to power the gate in order to access the depths of the oblivion. The gateway allowed an influx of foul mist known as Miasma to enter the world, and terrible monsters began to infest the land. The only way to save the people was to raise the islands into the air with the use of magic crystals called “float stones,”. Traps were placed in dungeons surrounding the crystals in order to protect them from the creatures, and all was well. Years passed as the people of Etherion began to flourish above the clouds, but danger starts to loom as the crystals’ powers begin to dwindle. Will the islands be saved from sinking back into the mist?
Little has been shared at this point in the terms of specific spells and abilities, however it is known you can choose your race which includes Human, Fairy, Dwarf, Gnome and Elf. There are five classes currently shown in the alpha which are Warrior, Ranger, Cleric, Mage and Thief but so far only Gnome Warrior is playable at this stage. While other RPGs, or even MMOs, opt to have elves as a playable class, Fairy is an uncommon one to say the least. Classes are not locked to specific Races, which provides some flexibility when it comes to choice.
What is probably one the most unique features to this game is that the environment is malleable, as you can tunnel through the earth, hit and destroy your surroundings. Most games in the action RPG genre focus on the affect of physical damage on enemies alone, but Wild Mage is set to change things up by having its floating islands take damage as well. Although focus on visual appearances are explained in some detail, Luna Orion assures that this is not just for “special effects”. The environments are susceptible to damage for a good reason, and that is to add elements of strategy to the game. By destroying a bridge you can slow down your enemies, or by digging tunnels you can find quicker passage to the other side of an island.
A feature that is heavily highlight in Wild Mage is the use of the airships, and they play a major part which is not often the case in adventure fantasy games. While airships have been seen in other games as a transition plot point, getting from one point to another as part of a short quest or a save point, Wild Mage uses it as the main form of transportation. In this game, airships are a way to travel from floating island to floating island, letting the player have complete control over where they go. But the role of airships are not completely for the purpose of transport alone, Luna Orion have also mentioned they will have airship based combat. Forget about pirating the seas, it’s all about the skies!
Traditional leveling is not a feature of Wild Mage, and leveling will not let you automatically acquire news spells or power. Acquiring skills does not come from a typical skill tree as with most RPGs, instead Luna Orion has gone a different route with letting players acquire new spells from monsters and lore books. Up to 12 Spells can be added to your spell bar (located at the bottom of the screen) from your Spell Book and casting takes the usual method of using 1,2,3,4 etc. commands. Wild Mage also offers a challenging casting system, to make spell casting “more realistic”. Where you cast your spells will determine what is hit, making precision key to your aim.
Luna Orion places emphasis on a game that not only let’s player cast spells but these spells actually affect the physics of the enemies you face. For example a Mage casts a Tornado, the enemies are blown into the air and are swept up into a pile instead of enemies just taking health damage. Spells are to be used wisely as they not only affect your enemies but your airship too if it’s in range.
From the get go Luna Orion explains what they wish to accomplish when it comes to visuals, something rarely seen in action RPGs, monsters are dynamically sliced apart, no two cuts are the same. Further individuality comes in the form of fire effects, this propagates dynamically making fire dragons that more terrifying.
Honestly Wild Mage had me at airships, and it immediately reminded me of Final Fantasy IX. These were clearly a part of its story, but being able to actually fly an airship was a missing feature. The inspiration is clear in Luna Orion’s work, as there are different elements of Diablo, Final Fantasy and Zelda mixed in, but they have set to make this game their own with interesting game physics not commonly seen.
The method of leveling is unusual, and whether acquiring new spells from monsters will play out fairly for players is going to be tricky. With usual RPGs following the tried and tested method of abilities being obtained from skill trees/leveling from XP, how and how well this will work is yet to be seen. Hopefully Luna Orion have thought out the balance of this leveling method and is up to the challenge of offering something out of the norm as they shy away from traditional leveling systems.
As alpha is set to start testing next year in 2019, gameplay is of course extremely rough. A lot of areas of the game need advancement in order to fully have a true feel for the game. Visuals are a little shaky in terms of movement, and it is likely this will be smoothed out as the game develops. Luna Orion have quite an ambitious project on their hands for such a small team, but that does not diminish the amount of passion that has gone into it so far.
Wild Mage – Phantom Twilight will definitely be an interesting one to watch and I hope to bring you more updates in future as Luna Orion continues to develop this action based non-traditional RPG.
If you enjoyed reading this preview you might want to check out our others such as Dolmen Preview – When Mass Effect Meets Dark Souls, Last Epoch Pre-Alpha Preview – Part 1 – Story And Gameplay and Pathfinder: Kingmaker Preview Update.