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Clever addition to the rogue-like genre
Anyone who loves to kick it truly old-school will surely enjoy this ASCII-based take on the rogue-like dungeon crawler. While it's not exactly brimming with originality, sharing more than a passing resemblance to the likes of Hack and NetHack, it still makes for an entertaining, if challenging, excursion into a simple fantasy world. As in all the best rogue-likes, players explore a series of randomly generated dungeons with the overall goal of reaching the final level where a legendary treasure awaits, which in this case is the magical artifact the Sudbury Sapphire. Of course, you don't get it all your own way and the dungeons are guarded by a wide range of monsters, creatures and other assorted nasties, including the Imperial Dragons which guard the sapphire. While it may be familiar stuff, MAG certainly boasts enough challenging gameplay to keep fans of this kind of thing hooked for hours. The genre is an unusual one, so if you aren't attuned to its particular charms, it may be hard to see its appeal but give it a whirl and stick with it and you'll find a compelling experience. Of course, anyone looking for visual flash will be sorely disappointed as characters and creatures are merely represented by ASCII symbols but the game is certainly inventive in its use of minimal resources and it does possess a certain charm. The gameplay is the real star though and once you get your head around it, the game really starts to shine. Exploration is enthralling and thrilling, while combat is simple but intuitive and enjoyable and although you're going to die a lot to start with, there is a genuine sense of satisfaction as you figure things out and start to make progress. MAG makes for great experience whether you're a rogue-like veteran or a newcomer so do yourself a favour and take a look.