Years ago, my prime reason to import a Japanese 3DS from the land of the rising sun, was the feeling I was missing out on gaming fun. Sure, the 3DS and the DS before it had a huge library of games. Still, some Japanese games beckoned on the horizon, games that had not been released in the West. The main ones I wanted to play were Yo-Kai Watch and Fantasy Life, and then there was Tongari Boushi, better known over here as Magician’s Quest.
I know, the video-games market has changed. Where the 3DS was region locked, the Switch isn’t, which is a huge improvement. Plus, it used to take years in some cases to bring a game from Japan to the West. Nowadays the waiting time for us is much shorter.
Animal Crossing inspired Wizard game
There is a game though that never got more then one instalment, called Magician’s Quest: Mysterious Times in America and Enchanted Folk and the School of Wizardry in Europe. A game that has turned into a bit of a cult-game over here, hard to get a hold off. Just checked, and it can be bought at Amazon used and in acceptable condition for $70, in Europe it’s a bit cheaper, € 50!
Apparently it sold better in Japan: there have already been four games, three on the DS and the last one on the 3DS. It has led to a petition at change.org to get Konami to release them here too. A petition that had 2.672 supporters, but is closed now. Apparently no positive response on Konami’s part, which is such a pity. If you know the game, then how awesome would it be to cast your spells on a Switch, for instance!
Anyway, back to my story: I bought the game on my Japanese 3DS and played quite a bit before I gave up. So much text, painstakingly translating it. And I still felt that I was just scratching the surface. I was reminded of this the other day when I came across my review of Tongari Boushi to Mahou no Machi. I’m publishing it here, and I will send it to Konami, again. You never know!
Magician’s Quest or Enchanted Folk
Are you an Animal Crossing fan? Then chances are that you’ve heard of the game Magician’s Quest, or Enchanted Folk and the School of Wizardry that was released in the West in 2009. Most AC fans liked it, the game got a score of 69 out of 100 at Metacritic. The basic idea was a familiar one: Decorating your room in a pleasing way, interacting with friends, collecting mushrooms and flowers, trying to fill up the catalogue for fish and insects. But added to that you were at a magic school to learn spells, which you could use to solve mysteries and playing pranks on your fellow students.
The game had custom avatars, and lots of varieties in clothing and furniture to choose from. A nice format, that on the surface seems to be aimed at kids. It had loads of content to keep adults quite busy too. The world that you got to explore seemed more restricted then Animal Crossing, which was a pity. And the characters seemed to repeat themselves a lot, and the mysteries that you had to solve every month were a bit strange. You didn’t have to be a Sherlock Holmes to solve them.
Japan got three more Magician’s Quest games
But still, I loved that game way back then. Not as much as Animal Crossing, but a lot, and it kept me busy for weeks. Sadly, it was the only one we got in the West. Three games have been released in Japan since the first Tongari Boushi as they are originally called. And the last one they released in December 2012, translated as Town of Magic, is a 3DS game.
The games are a hit in Japan. By now they’ve expanded on the original game, first you could build your own shop and create the items you specialize in by combining items with numerous possibilities. In this last game, you can even run your own shopping mall, deciding which shops it should hold. Plus, like the first game, this one has wifi possibility too, so you can play with friends.
I decided to give the last one, Tongari Boushi to Mahou no Machi a try. See how the game has evolved. The basics seem to be much the same. You still live in the magic school, and get appointed a room by the concierge. Everyday you can do several classes to learn spells. Various teachers are there to give you their best insights on how to make it rain, or how to put someone to sleep, make flowers bloom etc. You meet a lot of fellow students and chat with them, and you have the woods and the haunted mansion to explore. But where it gets extra interesting is the mall.
The fourth game has a Mall!
It is up to the you to decide what stores it features, so with a mix and match of your favorite boutiques and cafes, you will soon have the magical shopping mall of your dreams. You place your own custom store in the mall, and StreetPass enables friends and other gamers’ stores to appear as well. Not that I had much of a chance to meet another player around here, unlike players in Japan. Japanese players were in for even more fun. Real stores such as AEON, TSUTAYA and First Kitchen were available as part of a “Real Shop Download Campaign”*. By visiting the real world versions of participating stores, users could obtain the in-game versions to place in their shopping mall. It provided them with a whole extra range of mall-building options.
Is the game even better than the first one?
So what did I think of the game? I loved playing it, even took it upon myself to make a document with the most important commands in the game menus. Because I can tell you, it’s not an easy game to play with a limited knowledge of Japanese. There’s a lot of text, chatting with your in-game classmates and learning the spells.
You decide what kind of items you have in your shop. I made mine a bakery, and I’ve tried my hand at various cakes and bakes. The game has got a fashion upgrade too. You are no longer tied to using templates. Instead you can ‘cut’ out your own patterns using your stylus. And you can even take pictures with your 3DS camera and imprinting them digitally on your fashion item.
The visual style is cute, the game now has loads to keep you occupied. You can make the game your own personal one with all the customization available. This isn’t just a kids game, but a serious contender for Animal Crossing.
Have you played the first one back then? Would you like to have the others, or at least the fourth one, localised? Let me know here or on social media!
This game looks so cute! I would love to see it on the Switch. I haven’t played it before. I never owned a DS system (although i’ve picked up a few DS games for 3DS).
Yeah, it was very cute! Never was very popular though, which is why even used copies cost a lot these days!
A couple of years ago I found a copy (Magician’s Quest) in the cheap bin, about $4, at Gamestop. I started researching it and found how much everyone loved the game. I found two more copies for my sons. I don’t think any of us have played it.
I think it really sucks how the US didn’t get so many great Japanese games.
Good thinking buying them, if you end up not liking the game you could sell it for a lot now!
It’s gotten better, we do get more games now but in the early days of the 3DS we missed out on a lot!
If I ever learn Japanese I’m definitely tracking down the sequels!
Wow! I can’t believe how expensive Magician’s Quest is now! It’s amazing how rare it has become. I am so glad that you and I talked about the game a couple years back and I was able to find it for $9.99 soon after 🙂
Oh great! Yeah, I remember us talking about it, good thing you remembered and picked it up. We’re sitting on a goldmine, lol!
Haha, that’s for sure! I just don’t think I’d ever want to part with my copy 😉