Feature Art

Preview – Mago: The Villain’s Burger [Prologue] PC

Mago is a sign of respect, a message of adoration, a proclamation of love to the 2D platformers of old that reign over the kingdoms of nostalgia. But it goes above and beyond pure mimicry. Whilst it perfectly imitates the smooth, momentum-fueled controls of Super Mario Bros. 3 and builds its world in big chunky pixels, it doesn’t limit itself to match them. Instead, Mago is full of colour, depth, and animation that even the classic Kirby games can’t compete with. Plus, (although there’s not too much of this directly in the prologue), it looks like it’ll be spicing things up with all sorts of interesting and fun mechanics, using the tried and tested movement it’s based on as merely a jumping-off point. This can mostly be seen in the images on its Steam page, which display the use of a mech and many more animal transformations than just the racing bird featured in the small taste available here.

Not entirely surprising considering the 622 demos I played last year, but I had actually already tried Mago’s demo back in July 2021. Strangely, however, this new prologue seems to have different content than that demo, and less of it. Both together cover about three worlds of gameplay, including bosses and more. I really can’t say why this was done but it may be due to the quality of the stages the devs have chosen to represent their work. Looking back through the history of the project, it looks like the small Peruvian team has been hard at work for many years, delaying the release since at least 2019 – three years ago! – and the demo I played last year was their second iteration, coming out at the beginning of 2021. Whether due to personal reasons or the desire to put all of their effort into perfecting their design, it would appear that 2022 will indeed be the year we finally get to experience this ultimate throwback title.

I remembered it fondly as a demo and now it’s fresh in my mind once again after diving into the prologue, which will be available for free on the 7th Feb. There’s really no reason to not give it a shot, unless you hate fun. I mean, it’s an exemplary entry into the vintage sub-genre it has set its sights on and who doesn’t love a good action platformer, along with all the charm and challenge those styles of games bring with them. Although I did have a couple of minor criticisms with the readability of certain sections, such as spike traps hiding under flashing magic seed-pod-things, I really can’t complain about anything – I just want more. The levels are simple but the controls are satisfying and there’s a decent stake to encourage success, in that you’ll lose magic orbs you’ve collected, drifting ever further away from purchasing upgrades and cosmetics if you do poorly. It’s just a pleasant time. Here’s hoping nothing else trips them up at the finish line and we get to see how some of the crazier screenshots integrate into the experience – I, for one, am mega-hyped about being a snowboarding penguin! Oh, and I guess I’ll rescue a Princess or something, too…