Magic Made Fun • Page 2

Because it was such a serious business before?

The presentation of these tricks is nice enough. One involves getting your mark to draw a hand on the lower screen, which they will then see animated and rising to the top-screen to grab a selected object. Others involve using the touch-screen or mic, making them tricks that could only exist on the DS, rather than a cheap attempt to copy out some ideas from a Paul Daniels Magic Set. As I said, it's a really good idea.

Not such a good idea is the utterly terrifying main character who explains everything to you. You're in Great Barbara's Magic Store you see, belonging to a woman-thing who appears to have fluffy pink wings growing out of her left breast, and seems to be wearing crotchless leggings. And um, there's something very wrong with her head. She looks like the offspring of Jessica Rabbit and NiGHTS. Frankly, she frightens me.

For some reason her wittering can't be skipped, and it's her who tells you, "You can't do any more with this game now for no reason at all, until you go into your DS settings and tell it it's tomorrow," which makes her a very hard person to like.

The Magic Training features are especially weak, consisting of some very boring patience games. It also challenges you to learn mirror writing, which is actually a useful skill for many tricks, as well as a means of training your internal clock to more accurately count seconds. Credit for that, but that's just about it. And you'll find yourself mindlessly playing through these to accrue points to unlock other tricks you've yet to see, which isn't any fun.

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This is a surprisingly nice trick that takes a lot longer to figure out than most. It has an excellent punchline too.

An important feature to note is that the game comes with a pack of cards. These aren't quite to the standard of a pack of cards most trick performers would want, lacking a Bicycle Deck's air-cushioned finish and ease of handling, but they are cutely marked. While the means of identifying the card from its apparently innocuous back isn't exactly subtle for those who know to look for it, at a casual glance your audience won't spot it, and this obviously makes a whole ton of card tricks possible. The later Magic Show tricks take most advantage of these, and it's safe to say you'll effectively fool your buddies.

I do wonder whether using a DS to do tricks is ultimately that effective. While most of the tricks do not involve the DS cheating by being a machine, most audiences are going to suspect it is. When performing close-up magic you want your sleeves rolled up and your hands apparently empty - holding a device quite capable of fiddling results isn't really in the spirit of things. However, most of the tricks here, while there are very few of them, are specific to the medium, impossible without it, and make cute use of its gimmicks.

With more tricks, more variety in the Solo section, and most of all without restricting your access to the bloody tricks you paid for, this could have been surprisingly successful. As it is, it's surprisingly not awful, but very limited.

5 / 10

Read the Eurogamer.net review policy Magic Made Fun John Walker Because it was such a serious business before? 2008-03-26T07:00:00+00:00 5 10

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