Abracadabra! Magic Shop enters the world of magic with spells and artifacts rather than the sleight of hand of David Copperfield and Harry Houdini. Though not spellbinding or original in the world of color-matching games, Magic Shop entertains like a skillful magician.
Loriel, an elf and magic shop owner, successfully designed and sold artifacts but eventually moved on without leaving anyone in charge of the store. Others have tried and failed to restore the store to its former glory. You decide to give it a shot and open the store in hopes of recapturing its magical charm.
You create and sell artifacts to the Magic Shop visitors for 25 days (one level makes one day). Make matches of three or more of the same elements to create an artifact. As soon as you fill up all of the elements, you’ve created the artifact for the guest. The indicator for each element works like a thermometer, so you can only estimate how many elements needed by how empty or full the indicator is for each element.
On top of tracking elements, you also must limit customers’ wait time and keep them as happy as possible. If customers grow impatient, throw a little bribe… err… enchantment their way so they stick around long enough for their artifact order to be filled. In the Hall of Artifacts, you can buy the secrets behind the artifacts ranging from Ring of Luck and Wand of Heaven to Wizard Bracelet to Goblet of Fire (no relation to Harry Potter). Once you buy an artifact, you sell them in your store.
Magic Shop offers power-ups, a story, and a mini-game typically found in color matching/match three games. Power-ups come in either the form of spells or animated elements (animation varies depending on power up) on the game grid to speed crystal collecting and breaking barriers such as stones and locked elements.
Just tap your mouse wand and the spell goes to work destroying all stones, re-sorting all elements or mutating elements. Beware that when a spell becomes available, it isn’t at full strength. They start small and work their way up to medium power and max power. The longer you wait to use them, the more powerful they become in their effects.
Magic Shop awards trophies for accomplishments such as creating X number of artifacts, going X number of levels without using potions, and sending off X guests in a good mood. The game froze several times while receiving a trophy. Thankfully, after restarting the game, it picks up where you left off. The hunt for trophies is a great way to challenge yourself. As your points climb, so does your ranking with titles such as Master, Magician, and Sorcerer.
The memory game (finding matching pairs of cards) comes into play as a bonus round where you must rack up enough points to send an invitation to a grand wizard. Crystals and elements like the ones you use to make artifacts appear in the card games. Find as many pairs of crystals as possible to receive more points to bring you closer to meeting another grand wizard. As soon as you match a pair, another pair of cards takes their place. These seven grand wizards — when they make their surprise appearance — have special abilities to help you while you worry about other things.
Rubies, your precious currency in this world, materialize on occasion so grab every single one you can by making a match. They’re hard to come by, and it’s a balancing act to spend the right amount of rubies on potions and artifact. To ensure customers go away happy and score as high as possible, you need to use the gems to buy potions and that cuts into artifact shopping.
At first, acquiring rubies seemed too difficult. But in the end, it provides the right amount of challenge. You may finish 25 successful days (when you fail to meet the goal for a day, you play it again) without buying all of the artifacts and inviting all of the wizards. This adds to the game’s replay value. However, once you’ve obtained everything, you may not want to keep playing.
To advance levels, reach the level’s goal by making as many matches as possible. The music and sound effects harmonize nicely with the game play. Though Magic Shop resembles match-three mixed with running a business games like Burger Rush and Cindy’s Sundaes, its extra twists and smooth game play make it worth a close look.