Halloween may be a few months away but that won’t stop every ghost and goblin from creeping over to check out all the enchanted goodies at the Mystic Emporium. Join Lilly as she sells her bubbling potions and mystical bobbles to everything from wizards to ogres in this fun and challenging time management game. So grab your cauldron and bring your bottle of newt eyes because it’s potion making time!

Mystic Emporium‘s storyline focuses on a young witch named Lilly who’s fresh off a job at a magical library and looking to open her own magic shop. Luckily for Lilly, she finds an older magic store owner that’s looking to sell her magic shop to someone else so she can travel the world. So under the guise of this previous store owner, Lilly buys the store and jumps into the wonderful adventure that is magic shop ownership.

Each day, you must help Lilly sell a variety of enchanted objects to spooky customers like ogres, wizards, witches. While you’re selling your wares, you will have a time limit and a money goal to achieve within the time limit in order to pass the level. You will also have an expert money goal to achieve if you wish to master the level and achieve some trophies later in the game.
As each customer comes into the store, they will have one or more item symbols above their heads to indicate what they want you to make. They will also have a happy meter which will drop as they get impatient.

Lilly’s store items don’t come ready to sell. Potions are made by pulling the required recipe from your book into your cauldron in order to see what ingredients you need to make it. The ingredients can then be picked up two at a time and dropped into the cauldron for mixing. Once everything is in the cauldron, Lilly can click underneath the brew to light the fire and wait for everything to come to a boil. This completes the potion and Lilly can finally serve it.

Like most good time management games, you can cue up moves in advance, and even move spells into the cauldrons while performing other tasks.

Other items like enchanted artifacts have to be enchanted first before they can be handed over to a customer, and that can be done by clicking on them to have Lilly wave her wand on them for a moment. Once gone, the artifact must be replaced by clicking on it to have Octavos appear with the new item. Finally, magical berries must be grown by feeding specific ingredients to the pot in your store.

Improvements for your store, which include items to keep customers happier, serve them faster, and store more objects, can be purchased in between levels that will help you complete levels easier.

Between some levels, Lilly will get a chance to play a mini-game in order to win charms that help her do things like earn higher tips. This mini-game has you matching colored symbols in order to fill mana potions of the same color. Strangely, the mini-game is "sponsored" by the real-life energy drink Mana Potion.

I was quite taken with the theme of Mystic Emporium, with all its potion-making and creepy customers. Though the later levels had my arm ready to fall off with their extremely fast paced challenges [we’re convinced that some levels are impossible to beat on Expert – ed.], I still found this game to be charming and a great fit for fans of the time management genre. The game’s 24 levels were challenging from beginning to end, and the different shop items preparations kept the game fresh and fun.

Graphics were a mix between little cartoon dolly characters during the gameplay, and more grown up cartoon images during the loading screens. Though I liked the more adult look of Lilly, the little doll versions of Lilly and her customers were just so darn cute that I couldn’t help but love them too. The game’s music, however, was less charming. It sounded like something from a Mickey Mouse Halloween special, and was on an annoying 30 second loop that had you wishing that your ears would magically disappear.

In terms of controls, moves were generally precise except when clicking on specific objects like cauldrons and the Phoenix. These objects have multiple click points, so you have to make sure you click on the right spot to get the right response.

My only other real gripes were about the constant use of the same quote from Lilly at the end of level, and a glitch in the game where purchased upgrades for cauldrons would disappear from level to level. I did like the neat trophy system available in the game that rewarded trophies for specific milestones reached in game like not losing a single customer for 10 consecutive days.

I was quite impressed all overall with Mystic Emporium, and can easily say that this game will have a constant home on my computer’s desktop – at least until I earn all the trophies. While the disappearing upgrades and repetitive soundtrack were a bit of a pain, the game’s challenge and charm made up for these small annoyances. I would recommend this game for time management fans starting at any experience level.

For similar games, try Mystic Inn, Miriel the Magical Merchant, and Cake Mania.