I find myself in a bit of a strange position coming into the midsection of 2023, in that I’d almost consider myself a League of Legends fan without ever having played a single match of the actual game. I’ve always been blown away by the seasonal cinematic, each a grandstanding CGI event in of itself. And the universe is nothing short of fascinating, each of the 140+ Champions having something that makes them stand out. But with Airship Syndicate‘s Ruined King, and the Netflix series Arcane, I’ve found myself craving more stories from this property. The latest is The Mageseeker: A League of Legends Story, a tale that focuses on the champion Sylas.
Imprisoned by the eponymous Mageseekers for an accidental magical murder in his youth, Sylas has grown into a particularly angry dude who also happens to be permanently locked in a set of “pericyte” chains, a magical material able to store spell power stolen from others. And these chains form the basis of all of your abilities in The Mageseeker.
An isometric action game, The Mageseeker tasks you, as Sylas, with freeing the mages of Demacia. The story is, unsurprisingly, pretty solid. You’ll need to meet and recruit numerous allies, including warrior Leilani, who helps Sylas by creating spells from the ones he “copies”. Her commune of fugitive mages is where Sylas spends time between missions. You can trade, talk, and modify Sylas” spells and attributes here.
Missions usually task you with defeating a boss and rescuing key NPCs or other captured mages. There’s a certain amount of exploration involved to seek out hidden chests containing money, or finding lost silverwings, which are really just a collectible for the sake of giving you a reason to explore each area.
Sylas can use his chains to grapple onto points and cross gaps too big to dash across, but they’re also used in combat. You have standard heavy and light attack combos, as well as a dodge button and potions to get you out of trouble, but the real meat of the gameplay is in stealing the powers of your enemies. As a very basic example – and in fact it’s the one the game uses – Sylas can use his chains to steal fire magic from one mage and use it on a mage with an ice affinity, and vice versa.
There are six different elements at play, and each one is stronger or weaker against the others. Initially you’ll only deal with one or two combinations, but it does get tougher later. However, every spell you borrow can later be crafted and equipped (you can have up to four) to use in battle. There’s a mana cost attached, which you’ll replenish primarily by attacking enemies. It’s a fun, satisfying gameplay loop that gives you surprising diversity to get through encounters. Bosses are a little more prescriptive, but there’s still room to experiment.
The pixelated art style is beautiful, managing to convey a lot of detail and even emotion in the visuals. It’s partially voiced, too, which helps a lot with immersion. There are some great combat animations at work, too, and battles are smooth and always thrilling.
Like Ruined King, The Mageseeker gives League of Legends new legs. Those who don’t fancy playing the main game might find something much more enjoyable here, with a completely new genre. Fans of the main game will get to see some of their favourite Champions in new situations, or even learn new lore about them. The Mageseeker is another reason for both fans and newcomers alike to be excited about where Riot are going to take League of Legends in the future, and despite it’s relatively short runtime it’s a solid action adventure in its own right.
Spell-stealing is a cool system
Shorter than expected