Wizards stay overnight at Camp Magic
Another virtual space and business management style of game is making its way to the iOS platform this week in the form of Camp Magic. Developed by Moga Studios, the game puts players into a Harry Potter’esque world and tasks them with the creation of a magical place of academia. A slightly different style than previous games of the genre, it’s a title that doesn’t feel terribly different in terms of game play, offering little to no uniqueness to an already saturated space.
Players are the head of an academy of magic, and rather than manage the villagers or citizens of a town or city, they recruit students interested in the arcane arts. The core of the game plays extraordinarily similarly to iOS game Trade Nations from Z2Live, hosting only a different presentation. Like the noted predecessor, the play is still the management of several resources such as gold, construction materials, and people.
In Camp Magic, there are no villages or houses to increase population. Instead, it is varying sizes of “classrooms” with the most basic version “housing” only one student. After construction is complete (for higher level buildings this can take several minutes to several hours), students are recruited and can be put to their studies.
This equates to work in a game like Trade Nations. Players build other mystically named structures that act as resource facilities such as the Magic Grove or Magic Fountain that produce construction resources applicable to them. For the former, it is wood while the latter produces water. Other resources include ore, ingredients, lumber, silver, powder, and gold (gold comes from the classrooms periodically). In order to harvest these, a student must be sent to “practice” at production facilities to produce it, and then a second student must be assigned to move it to storage buildings. Expectantly, these resources are required to build new structures, with higher level ones requiring more, and different, materials.
Should the player ever run low on a particular resource, they can build and visit a Market in which they can use gold to buy it. However, just like in Trade Nations, the market appears to fluctuate in terms of the value of each item offering better deals on certain resources from day to day. This produces a buy low, sell high type of economic mechanic.
Camp Magic also has magical production shops such as Potions, Wand, or Scrolls Shop. From here, players can use resources to produce items that can be stored in their primary castle (the castle is the main building everyone starts with) and can be used for extra coin and experience. Like the buildings, the higher level the magic item, the longer it takes to concoct but the greater its value. As a social feature, players can also visit friends’ virtual schools and “help” them create these items as well. This consists of tapping on a building that has a clearly visible icon above it. Once the item is finished, both players receive one. Unfortunately, Trade Nations also boasts a similar system with production buildings such as a Baker Shop.
Like almost all virtual space oriented games, Camp Magic also employs a virtual currency. Here it is dubbed “Magic Crystals” which are used to purchase premium items (such as classrooms that can hold more than one student) and expedite the construction or production time of buildings and items respectively. It can also be exchanged in the Market for gold. Purchasable directly within the game, players can buy varying amounts of Magic Crystals at a price that ranges from $0.99 to $99.99.
The only thing that is truly different about Camp Magic is that it is a different flavor from past games. It comes with a very mystical feel to it in regards to both sound design and animations, but more than that, it steers away from the commonplace cartoon-style of visual, focusing on a slightly more realistic art aesthetic. Aside from this, players are constantly connected to the game’s central server and can see, and participate, in an on-going, global chat.
In order to use this, players must register with the game using their email and a Game Center account, but it unlocks not only the chat, but the ability to link up and visit any other player in the game world. It also lets them set a status update, leave messages on walls, and find new friends.
In the end, Camp Magic is a game that pretty much copies the formula, verbatim, used for past successful applications. Nothing really stands out as unique or fresh. Some of the social implementations and chat mechanisms are nice, but they are vastly overshadowed by the lack of originality. Really, the only aspect of the game that might be alluring to users is that it does have a different presentation style and gets away from all the cartoon graphics that saturate this management genre. All that in mind, if players are looking for something new, they will not find it here.