Mittelborg City of Mages

Mittelborg: City of Mages Review (Nintendo Switch)

Game: Mittelborg: City of Mages
Genre: Simulation | Strategy | Adventure | Role-Playing
System: Nintendo Switch (also on Steam, Console and Mobile)
Developers | Publishers: Armatur Games | UTC ASTERION
Age Rating: EU 12 | US T
Price: EU €7,99 | USD $8.99 | AUD $12.00 | UK £ 9.90| CAD $ n.a.
Release Date: July 24th, 2020

Review code used, with many thanks to UTC ASTERION 

Mittelborg: City of Mages is a strategic adventure with elements of rogue-like, that relies heavily on resource management. It has been developed by Armatur Games and was originally released on Steam.

Immortal Chancellor

You take on the role of an immortal Chancellor in Mittelborg, a titular city after the original chancellor Magnus Wavebreaker has disappeared.

Times have come and gone and currently in the world of Mittelborg mages are the dominant forces in the land. Your job is to use your mages in order to protect the World Tree of Order, which is the connection between the worlds in the universe and gives it the energy to maintain life. If the world tree should fall, the land will be destroyed. Ah ha, no great pressure then.

The tutorial for Mittelborg: City of Mages shows you the ropes on how to manage your buildings as well as your mages and then the game holds your hand the whole way through it. In fact, I think there is more hand-holding then actual gameplay in Mittelborg.

Mittelborg City of Mages LadiesGamers
The city of Mittelborg

The handholding shows up even more through the course of the game as most of the things you try to do can’t be done until the game tells you to do it.

Resource Management

In Mittelborg: City of Mages you continually manage resources and keep up defences around the city to protect the World Tree of Order during Events. These are supernatural storms called a Tempest, they are either wind, magic or melee tempests. However, you never see these attacks. You might see a tiny bolt of lightning flashing on the side of the screen but once the attack happens all you see is a pop-up text box telling you what has happened during the Tempest. Each Tempest acts as one game day, you can only perform one action a day as well. And since the game doesn’t allow you to do much until it tells you to, I found that this makes the gameplay very unbalanced.

Mittelborg City of Mages LadiesGamers
Gust one of the Tempest

There are different districts in the game to protect and this is done by sending a Mage to each district. The Aegis district contains the Tower of light, which is your magical protection barrier. The Garrison on the other hand provides guards who represent your physical shield for enemy raids. The Legio district contains the portal where you can send mages on expeditions to collect new resources and relics for your city. In the Adventum district is your Wind Catcher for gathering resources. In order to keep up with your city, you must spend Aether which you receive each round based on your current stats and the amount/power of mages you have.

The World Tree

You’ll need to spend your resources and keep the defences up because if one of these is worn down to zero, any additional damage is taken on by the World Tree. You can send a mage on an expedition in the hopes of finding an item to counter certain events but from what I have experienced the mage will either die or succeed, as most of the choices are more or less based on luck. You can also sacrifice a mage to save the World Tree but at the start of the game Mages are scare and it takes quite a while to recruit Mages. You see, you need to build a tower to recruit the mages but again you can’t do that until the game tells you to do it.

Mittelborg City of Mages LadiesGamers
Potion brewing

If the World Tree dies, it’s game over, the game does give you the option to try again and fix your mistake or you can start a new game if you can work up the will to restart that is.

Mittelborg City of Mages LadiesGamers
Emergency repairs

All of the above is performed with a view for the player of a zoom-out image of the city Mittelborg. You don’t see anything that is taking place in the city as it’s a static image of the city as your view.

Visuals and Controls

The overall presentation is fine for a picture hanging on a wall. But not for a game as most of the time you are looking at your city that needs to be rebuilt, however the city is already built to its limits. When improving your city you won’t see any visual difference except the stats of the upgraded part. For a game that is designed as a city builder, this is a bit of a letdown. The city is decently detailed but you can’t see any movements inside besides the windmill and the waterfall. The moving elements are the clouds and some particles that fly around the city and that’s about all.

The story in Mittelborg: City of Mages is told to you throughout the game via pop up story sequences, which is fine. What isn’t so fine is the story is ruined by an awkward translation from the developers native language of Russian into English. You can read it but it makes for a disjointed story and breaks up any pattern or atmosphere for the player. Visually I would have liked to be able to zoom in on the city as you can’t see anything that is occurring, I would have liked a lot more detail in the game and to see a few animations of what was happening in the city.

Mittelborg city of Mages LadiesGamers
Shadows of the past

As for the controls, well,  this is where the game really shows it has been a straight and direct port from the PC version with a minimal update to the control system on the Nintendo Switch. The controls are odd, to say the least, you use a combination of both joy-con sticks to move the pointer around the city and the menu. It’s not the most intuitive control system by any means.


Mittelborg: City of Mages has a pretty interesting premise, it’s a real pity that that is all it is. It plays like a straight port from pc or mobile. What art there is in the game looks well, I just wish there was more of it instead of a static image of the city. The translation of the text needs work to help the game story along and help to make it more interesting for the player.

There are bigger and better simulation, strategy games to choose from on the eShop sadly this isn’t one of them.

Final Verdict: I don’t Like it


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