Curtis says: It’s not bad, but I think I’d like it when I’m older. I fell asleep halfway through when mommy was pointing to the objects in the game and telling me their names. (I’m only 5-months old…the woman is crazy.)

At first glance, Magic Academy feels like just another one of the I-Spy-for-adults genre of item hunting games, but it is different in that it doesn’t try to copy Mystery Case Files like the rest of the clones. It does story telling better than MCF, and expands on the genre by adding minigames.

Unlike a typical I-Spy game (such as the latest clone, Hide and Secret), it doesn’t just give you a mess of hidden objects. What it does well is that it hides objects in probable places. In MCF you could find a green-ish purple-ish apple hidden away in the leg of a chair or something equally improbable. In Magic Academy you will find this apple naturally colored, probably has a bite out of it, and sitting primly in a corner of a surface some place. It is still well-hiddened, but it’s just not impossibly hidden.

The game field is also not STATIC. Things change in it. Sometimes you will be asked to find mice in this field where you just found a bunch of objects, and *blink*, there’s the mice where there were none before. So unlike other I-Spy games, you can’t just go around memorizing where everything is as you play. It adds another dimension of challenge.

Positive games have made another game like this in the past. It was called Mysteryville. Where gameplay is concerned, Magic Academy is basically the same game. It borrows a lot of the sprites from it, and the core gameplay remains the same. But they’ve added minigames where you assemble a slider puzzle or spin pieces to form an image. And somehow, the game seems longer than Mysterville.

Magic Academy also seem to run smoother than your typical MCF game. When you click on something you hear a satisfying chime; clicking on random stuff will net you the sound of shattering glass. Objects fly to their destination with ease, versus sometimes in MCF games they tend to drag a little.

Magic Academy is an object-hunting game, and it does what it does well. The game is not particularly long, and replay value is questionable since the events stay the same and the object lists aren’t that different the second time around. But nevertheless it is still enjoyable on replay. It uses characters to tell the stories and somehow that makes it much more personal than the detached stories (which after a while, we SKIP) offered in other games in its genre. The only complaints lie in that when you close it and restart it, you can’t start in the middle of a puzzle. Therefore, you can’t really play it when you’ve only got a minute. But you can play it if you’ve only got five minutes.

To the parents out there, games like these are also great opportunities to spend time with your children while playing. After all, children love I-Spy.

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