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Master of Illusion


Amaze your friends and family in a magic show with the help of your DS.

The Nintendo DS has bought many different types of games to the hands of eager gamers. The design of the DS has also allowed many new and innovative games to be made taking advantage of the dual screens, touch sensitivity and microphone. As such, it might not come as a surprise that with the help of the Master of Illusion game, you can use your DS to perform a magic show to impress and amaze your friends.

Traditionally, a magician would use various props in their stage act or call upon an assistant to preform the trick. However, the DS forgoes these requirements and becomes the prop in your magic show. The game also comes with a deck of cards for specific tricks. Calling Master of Illusion a game, however, is a bit of a misnomer. The game certainly has entertainment value, but it falls more in line with the Brain Age and other edutainment releases.

Gameplay:

Upon launching the game for the first time, you are greeted by a couple of setup screens that ask you to confirm things such as the current date and time. If these things are not correct, you will have to exit to the DS system menu and correct them. Once set, the game will give a brief introduction to you on its premise and you will be taken to the Great Barbara's Magic Shop. Barbara is the host of sorts, and explains how the game works as well as explaining each trick in the solo and practice modes. She also keeps track of such things as how many magic points you have gained and your magician rank.

The game has three modes of play for the player to tackle. Practice mode allows you to practice tricks and earn magic points used for unlocking more tricks. The unlocking, however, is automatic and based only on the number of points you need. After each successful practice session, it will display the amount of points you earned and how many you need to unlock a new trick. You can practice a trick over again to try and better your score or performance and will earn magic points each time. However, you are limited to 100 points earned each day so that you cannot gain unlimited points every day. Solo Magic mode is one in which the DS acts as the magician and allows you to be the "audience" for various tricks. Most tricks require nothing more then your input on the touch screen portion of the DS. However, certain ones require the use of the supplied deck of cards. Magic Show is where the games appeal comes in and makes you the star of your own show. Each trick is detailed for you and explained using comic style screen shots. The game explains how each trick works and does well enough that anyone should be able to perform the tricks and get them to work. However, and the game does make mention of this fact, you will need to have some skills in presenting the tricks or your audience will figure them out easily. The game also warns against performing the same trick over again for the same audience. The reason is that these are fairly simple tricks and anyone paying the slightest bit of attention should be able to begin figuring out the "trick." That isn't to say that there isn't fun to be had, far from it. You will just not be performing such tricks as well known magicians and illusionists you may be familiar with.

The game works fairly well and offers a new way to interact with your DS. The supplied cards bring a new level to the game in requiring their use in certain tricks. The cards are actually a nice deck that you could use for regular card playing. However, the draw of the cards and how they are used in the game would spoil their use in any other way. The cards are marked with their suit and value so that you can "read" the cards during your magic shows. Still, unless you really make it obvious that you are staring at the back of the card, your audience will never know the cards are marked.

The only fault that I have with the game is that to take full advantage of all that it offers, you will need other people to perform for. There is a lot to do by yourself to practice and the DS hosted magic tricks. However, the game is really geared towards having a party like atmosphere where you can perform and put on a show. Even still, if all that you are able to do is practice, there are many brain age type games that are good at getting you to think differently and have fun.

Graphics:

Graphical, Master of Illusion is on par with every other DS title I have played. There are still images and comic style layout panels to explain each trick.

The explanations and actual game play are clear and easy to read and do not hinder the play. Most of your viewing will be centered on the touch portion of the DS dual screens as you perform the tricks.

Audio:

The sound in the game is really kept to background music as you navigate the menu and practice or perform your tricks. During various magic tricks performed by the guest magicians, music is changed to suit the theme of the trick or particular magician. All in all, the sound isn't terrible, but it is not the main focus in the game.

Replay Factor:

Following in the Brain Age and other learning DS titles, you can only unlock so much content each day. The title has you confirm the current date and time, as set in the DS main settings. Each day allows you to earn magic points which are used to unlock more tricks. When you have gained as many magic points as you can in a day, you are told that you cannot gain anymore. However, you can still play the game and practice or perform tricks. In that vein, the game offers much in the way of replay, until you unlock everything. After that, it depends on how much you want to put into the title or how often you have the opportunity to perform for others.

Conclusion:

Of all the systems I own, my DS is one that gets much game play. The title selection is vast and there are many interesting and innovative offerings to be had. Master of Illusion expands on that to allow you to not only gain a glimpse into how some magic tricks are performed, but implements the ability to use the DS as a prop in your own magic show.

Still, unless you have friends that will allow you to perform, or you are brave enough to try on random strangers, the game doesn't offer much to keep a solo gamer interested terribly long. But for those curious or those who have friends or family that would cater to your showmanship, you cannot go wrong with this title.