mageseeker hands on preview fighting multiple enemies
Content Type: Gaming News
Date: March 26, 2023

Not content with having the most popular PC MOBA game on the market, Riot Games has been aggressively expanding their catalogue in recent years, releasing numerous titles that all draw upon the League of Legends universe. From their FPS Valorant to their auto-battler Team Fight Tactics, these newer Riot games have by and large been well received — and it looks like they’ve got another hit on their hands with The Mageseeker: A League of Legends Story, a pixel-art action RPG that follows the tale of a familiar mid lane LoL champion.

While in Boston for PAX East, we were fortunate enough to be invited to try out a preview of Mageseeker. So, we left the crowded Boston Convention and Exhibition Center and made our way to a nearby hotel, where Riot games had set up shop in a conference room. We were ushered into a small booth, and got a chance to speak with Mageseeker’s game designer Sara Costa while we tried out a few of the game’s early levels.

The game is being developed by Digital Sun, creators of Moonlighter. The studio’s experience in pixel-art action RPGs was what Riot was looking for when they tapped the development team for the job — according to Sara, Riot liked Digital Sun’s style, and wanted more of the same for Mageseeker. While the games don’t look identical, there are certainly similarities; both games feature a vibrant art style that manages to stay readable even in the thick of combat.

mageseeker a league of legends story hands on preview garen judgement
Is there a more iconic ultimate spell than Garen’s Judgement?

In Mageseeker, you play as the League of Legends champion Sylas, a recently freed mage who was locked up in his home country of Demacia for the crime of, well, being a mage. Upon escaping, he vows to bring down the tyrannical regime that imprisoned him. You’ll accomplish this through your ability to recruit followers in missions. These new friends will then populate your rebel camp, serving as a source of upgrades or as a way to buff Sylas during missions. The story follows Sylas’ quest for revenge and justice, in a plot that asks questions about the nature of power and identity.

After an opening cinematic in which we learned of Sylas’ childhood, subsequent imprisonment, and escape, we were dropped into the first bit of action. Movement felt smooth, and the dodge and melee attacks were precise and responsive. The mechanics of Sylas’ chains and magic-stealing talents were also very well-implemented: by targeting an enemy with the right stick, you can steal their magic spell (if they possess one), or grapple to them with your chains. You can then cast that stolen spell — but only once! Stealing a spell from an enemy has a brief cooldown, so you must wait a few moments before stealing their spell again.

mageseeker a league of legends story hands on preview enemy types
Early enemies are conveniently color-coded

Which spell you steal, and which enemies you cast it on, matters quite a bit. There are 3 pairs of elemental spell types (for a total of 6), with matching pairs doing bonus damage against their associated element — fire spells do more damage against water enemies, for example, but do less damage against an enemy that uses fire. This means that using magic against the enemy you stole it from is ineffective, and you instead must carefully choose which spell to steal at any given moment in order to maximize your DPS against your chosen target. It’s a very clever mechanic, and encourages quick-but-careful thinking when fighting multiple foes.

After clearing the first level, we skipped ahead to a brief narrative interlude in the rebel camp, and then got to try out a level deeper into the game where we had a full suite of spells available. Although Sylas can only cast stolen spells at the start of the game, you can eventually unlock up to four spell slots (you’re able to learn most of the spells your enemies possess). These are cast via an energy bar that fills when you deal damage with your standard melee attack. Every spell we tried felt powerful and exciting to use, and it was very noticeable when we targeted an enemy with the correct (or incorrect) elemental type.

mageseeker a league of legends story hands on preview dialog at camp

We fought quite a few different enemies in this later mission, each with their own unique attacks and behavior patterns. The mission ended with a cleverly-designed boss fight that had us freeing another mage. It was challenging but fair, with a fun gimmick in breaking the bars of a cell while avoiding the boss and her adds.

Although we didn’t get to fight one in the demo, there will be a number of boss battles against familiar League of Legends characters, including Garen and Jarvan IV. These champions will feature abilities that should be familiar to LoL players: Jarvan’s boss fight starts with him flag-and-dragging and then ulting Sylas to create the walls of the boss arena. It’s clear that the developers have taken great care to faithfully recreate these iconic characters in Mageseeker.

mageseeker a league of legends story hands on preview boss fight
Tonight there’s gonna be a jail break…

A lot of effort has gone into the game’s narrative as well, with what felt like just the right amount of dialog serving as breaks from the game’s action sequences. The handful of characters we met were varied and likeable, and the writing as a whole was solid — Riot Games also lent a hand to Digital Sun for the storytelling side of things, and the collaboration seems to have payed off. The music was equally compelling, and certainly up to Riot’s usual high standards.

The brief sections of Mageseeker we got to try left us eager for more — fortunately, there isn’t long to wait! The game releases April 18th for all major platforms, including current and last-gen consoles, Steam, GOG, and the Epic Games store. The regular version will cost $29.99, while the $39.99 Digital Deluxe edition nets you the Silverwing Supply Station Pack, the Home Sweet Cave Pack, the Hijacked Spells Pack, and the Unchained Skins Pack. Folks ready to drop $169.99 can grab the Collector’s Edition, with comes with a bunch of goodies, including a Sylas statue.

Excited for The Mageseeker, or a fan of Digital Sun’s previous title, Moonlighter? Let us know in the comments!

About The Author

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Scroll to Top