Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story has finally received a global release, giving people worldwide a chance to experience another story set within the Puella Magi Madoka Magica world. (As well as present itself as a contender for “Longest Game Title of 2019.”) While another game like this might have people wondering if it’s another opportunity for new systems to learn and concepts to grasp, this is turn-based RPG that should feel rather familiar from the outset. Namely, it’s a lot like Fate/Grand Order and games that attempted to mimic its formula, like Revue Starlight Re Live.
Fate/Grand Order is a game made by DELiGHTWORKS and published by Aniplex, while Magia Record is a f4samurai game also published by Aniplex. The two of them feeling familiar shouldn’t come as too much a shock. Especially since they, and Ateam’s Revue Starlight: Re Live all follow the format of having visual novel segments telling the story between RPG battles with preset teams you arrange ahead of time. It’s tending to be a common thread in mobile games, which means it can help with determining if you might like Magia Record or would have trouble adapting to it.
In Magia Record, you are building up a team of Magical Girls to fight the many, many Witches and their Familiars in Kamihama City. You start out with Iroha, but gradually get to fill your ranks typically through, you guessed it, gacha. Characters start out at different ranks, though you can improve them with hard work and collected materials. Essentially, it’s the same sort of system you see in many, many mobile RPGs.
Both Magia Record and Fate/Grand Order follow a system where for each turn, players select three actions from a pool of possible actions your party can perform. The former uses Disks, while the latter has Command Cards. There are three types for each, and getting a chain of the same time of action or actions from the same character can trigger combos, which have effects like increasing damage or increasing charges. Characters also have skills, which they can use in a fight to trigger certain abilities.
While Fate/Grand Order has Arts (to deal normal damage and majorly boost NP), Buster (to deal more damage than usual, at the cost of NP and stars), and Quick (to get significantly more stars, at the cost of less damage), Magia Record is a bit different. Accele Disks boost MP, Blast will deal damage to all enemies in a horizontal or vertical row (an icon shows which), and Charge will boost the damage or MP of a Blast or Accele attack after it. While using three of the same kind at once is very beneficial, the nature of it means that Puella Combos, which have three actions from the same heroine, but could involve three different discs, can be incredibly effective. But, since Blast attacks hit a whole line of enemies, it could be wiser to avoid a combo if you have a party that you know could take out a whole group of enemies in a single turn with the right Blast attacks.
However, like Revue Starlight: Re Live, positioning can be a big deal in Magia Record. While in that game, it is about picking people for your party and having the game assign them automatically to positions based on the role they were designed to play, Magia Record requires actual effort on the part of the player. It involves Magical Formations. When you put together a party, you determine where your up to five heroines stand. Placement determines which magical girl will receive buffs when in certain positions. (So, if you have someone who is a three-star Magical Girl or higher when starting out, make sure she’s getting the buffs.) These formations also determine who might be most likely to be targeted. Plus, you can swap places during a fight, if someone looks like they are in danger or would be better in a different place.
Just like both Fate/Grand Order and Revue Starlight: Re Live, Magia Record has special summon items you can equip to characters to improve their abilities and provide bonuses in battle. While these are Craft Essences in the former and Memoirs, Magia Record has Memoria. These can be leveled up, improved, and ascended, just like the Magical Girls you recruit. When you get one, it clearly says when its ability will be available. For example, the “I Won’t Stray” Memoria will have Bloom Rise V, which gives attack up V and defense up IV for three turns to the the one character using it, and it will be available after nine turns. Unlike the other games, there are no caps that force you to level up and improve before you can start using a certain number of characters or equipping Memoria. If you have Magical Girls and open slots on them, you can load them up right away.
Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story is a very easy game to get into. It has lots of familiar concepts and conditions. If you have played similar mobile RPGs with visual novel elements, you’ll have no problem adjusting. Especially if you already have been going through Fate/Grand Order or Revue Starlight: Re Live. Though, if you are already playing one or both of those games, that might make this one a little bit more of the same. Still, it’s interesting enough, with some small changes that could make it more appealing for people in search of a new free-to-play diversion.
Magia Record: Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story is available for Android and Apple iOS devices.