Aug 2, 2011
User review by SleepingDragon
With a clear conscience and a light heart I give Magical Diary a 5. I will reiterate what was said: if you dislike the genre avoid, if you like the genre be sure to get it, if you don't know I would recommend MD as a starting title.
The game mechanics are simple and easily grasped (unlike Academagia which, while more ambitious, was, for me, a bit overwhelming) at the same time leaving the player enough freedom so it doesn't feel like the game is railroading too much. The various paths, far as I've seen them, strongly vary and guarantee at least a few pretty different replays . The graphics are simple, cutesy anime style stuff but they work, the music is unobtrusive. The exam puzzles are perhaps not wonderful but they are solid and it can be fun to try a different approach on a subsequent playthrough.
All of these elements work and that is precisely what they should be doing, the high points of the game are where they should be: the writing, the characters, the choices. The game manages something that I've seen extremely, extremely rarely, it treats the characters, and the player, as mature beings. On a few occasions it addresses more serious topics but it does so without being heavy handed or ham fisted about it, and without making them the primary focus of the game and being preachy. Yes, some events follow some conventions. Yes, veterans of the genre will recognize certain clichés. But in MD they didn't feel like "nothing new under the sun" boring more like "welcome home" familiar.