If your action-RPG library has felt a little lacking as of late,Maglam Lord might be what you’re looking for. This story of a long-slumbering Bladelord awakening to a new world order combines dungeon exploration with side-scrolling encounters and a splash of romance. Lord Killizerk’s entourage includes vassals waiting for their return, sibling heroes Darius and Charme, and a couple other surprise characters deemed worthy enough to wield Killizerk in their weapon form.
Due to Killizerk’s status as the last Bladelord, the local government designated them as an endangered species. Mamie, the Administration’s representative, presents Killizerk’s team with requests of varying importance that she claims will benefit the city. Mamie’s extremely selective wording and sometimes odd directives leave the group wondering what it is she’s hiding from them. Pursuing leads from the Administration while doing some super secret sleuthing leads our ragtag team to discover some hard truths.
Maglam Lord‘s quests come in two flavors: story progression and side quest. For obvious reasons, I am going to recommend you run all of those slay/collect side quests. They are the best way to level up Killizerk and collect those important crafting materials. Sure, some of them may try your patience. I spent way too much time in search of coffee beans. There is no way I ever want to do that again. However, there’s nothing worse than starting a new chapter only to find yourself woefully unprepared.
The size of each area changes depending on the quest. Story progression quests may cover a larger area with increasing subsections, while a side quest only uses a small portion of the map. You can count on there being at least one Safe Zone per quest. There, you can save your game, purchase items, or craft better weaponry.
Combat itself is pretty straightforward. You have your standard attack, an ability to block, and there is a special attack. Items are mapped to one button, with the special skill tagged to another. As you do damage, the Demon Gauge fills up. It’s ready to go when the flames begin to flicker. If you unleash the Bladelord’s rage, it will do some major damage. Memorize combos if you want, but button-mashing works too. The Demon Gauge resets at the end of every quest, so don’t let it go to waste. Just be aware that when your combo numbers climb there is the potential for lag which happened to me with the Switch version.
There are three types of weapon forms Killizerk can merge with: sword, spear, and axe. Using items scavenged via exploration or looted off enemy corpses, you’ll craft new maglam to take to the field. Like any other RPG, this means the equipment will have better stats, damage types, resistances, and buffs. One of each weapon type is equipped when you head out into the field. With just a quick button tap the weapon in your hand switches so you can attack enemies with the best weapon for the job. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the spear myself. It seems less responsive compared to the sword or axe. Unless I’m up against a boss weak against polearm attacks, I tended not to use it.
Decorations add a touch of extra flair and more buffs. My favorites so far either change the look of the weapon (plus increase its stats) or alters the wielder’s appearance. There’s something so satisfying about thwomping knights with an oversized turnip axe or poking pesky bugs out of the air with my dango spear. With so many marks to collect either via quest rewards or special purchase from the Administration, there’s a lot you can do to make the weapons in your armory shine.
The way Killizerk interacts and responds to their companions directly impacts potential relationships. People need to choose carefully to nurture the relationship with the partners they wish to pursue. Another way is to purchase character healing items from the Tax section of the shop. When you’re out in the field, feeding these snacks to your partner instead of the generic potions can add more hearts to your meter.
What I really loved and appreciated is that you can date any of the romantic partners you want. I’m sure this is due to the fact that even though you can choose a male or female avatar for Killizerk, they are always referred to with they/them pronouns. You are never forced into going on a date with a partner you don’t like; you can simply ignore the option. Love Guru GG handles most of your romantic excursions. He knows all the best places. And honestly, that’s a good thing. Otherwise, Killizerk would live at the bowling alley and there goes any chance of preserving the species.
Since the quests and combat can start to feel a bit repetitive, it’s imperative that the story and romance segments of Maglam Lord are well written to keep players engaged. And I think that the localization does a pretty solid job of it. It’s not a groundbreaking tale, but it keeps the player moving forward and never comes across as stagnant. Reforging higher quality maglams does offer another reason to keep playing. (Why settle for good weapons when you could have the most legendary ones?)
Sure, Maglam Lord isn’t an epic AAA experience aiming to compete with Tales of or Shin Megami Tensei, but it is a pretty solid adventure all told. The Switch version does suffer from a touch of slowdown from time to time. It mostly happens if you’re in the middle of a really awesome combo in battle. But when you just want to sit down and enjoy something a little more lighthearted, it certainly scratches that itch.