The Nintendo DS stylus has performed many different functions in its relatively short life, ranging from the inspired to the impractical. In LostMagic, an action role-playing game from Taito, you get to use your stylus both as a magic wand and as a tool for commanding units on real-time strategy battlefields. LostMagic's varied use of the stylus is undoubtedly one of its strongest features, and the good news is that the game backs up its great control system with an engaging, story-driven adventure mode; good multiplayer support; clean, colorful visuals; a decent soundtrack; and loads of cool monsters that you can choose to kill or capture in every level.
In LostMagic, you assume the role of a young mage named Isaac who sets out to find the father that he hasn't seen in years and winds up with the fate of the whole world resting on his shoulders. The storyline has plenty of interesting twists and turns, and although Isaac's noncombat interactions with other characters are mostly limited to linear conversations, they're an interesting bunch and you never really know who you can trust. Many of the other mages that you encounter in the game, for example, spend parts of the game under the influence of the evil Diva of Twilight, and the only way for you to free them from her spell is to defeat them in battle.
Real-time battles are what LostMagic is all about--you don't walk around towns and talk to people, you don't wander aimlessly around a world map hoping to avoid random encounters, and you certainly don't waste any time scouring areas for clues as to what you're supposed to do next. You fight battles, you move between key locations on the world map instantly, you fight more battles, and you occasionally get a dose of storyline via brief and mostly linear conversations that Isaac has with other characters. LostMagic deals with exploration and conversation in such a way that neither can really be considered gameplay features, which is just fine, because the last thing you want is to get bogged down with that stuff in between the game's enjoyable and surprisingly varied battles.
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