The Magic Obelisk introduces us to Lukus, a spunky little tree spirit, and Popo, his fairy-like light spirit sidekick. The game starts off as Lukus ventures into the world to find a good place to plant himself and grow into a tree. However, Lukus is forced to stick to the shadows. You see, if he stands in the sunlight, he will turn into a tree! Don’t worry though, you control Popo as he interacts with Magic Obelisks to cast shadows to help Lukus on his journey. This simple yet brilliant mechanic lets The Magic Obelisk shine as one of the puzzle platformers on WiiWare, even if there are a few minor imperfections.
The Magic Obelisk has a beautiful (at the risk of my manliness I’ll even call it cute) storybook style. As you progress to each new level, the pages of the book flip and the next level pops open like a pop-up book. The characters are animated and each has a great personality attached to them. As you encounter animals, robots, ghosts, and others, you will notice a distinct personality to each. The soundtrack for this game is great, adding to the cheerful and fun nature of the game.
For the most part, the game plays very well. The mechanics are a fresh new approach to a puzzle game. The different-colored obelisks cast different types (icy, windy, etc) of shadows, adding additional complexity which is used in later levels. Speaking of which, this game gets really hard. I found myself very frustrated with the difficulty at times. The difficulty in earlier levels was due more to the learning curve involved in learning to convince Lukus to go where you want him to go. At times I found myself wishing for the analogue stick on the nunchuck, as the direction-pad doesn’t seem entirely fitted for the rotation of Popo around an obelisk. For the most part, however, it was simply a matter of getting used to it.
The later levels, however, were just plain hard. It provides a great challenge to players, and you feel really satisfied when you figure out how to pass one of those really difficult levels. Also, with over thirty levels, you’re definately getting your money’s worth.
THE LAST WORD
For 500 Wii Points, The Magic Obelisk is a no-brainer. Its charm and challenge set a great standard for other developers for WiiWare. Other than the learning curve and slight issues with controls, I can’t find anything wrong with this game. Its a fun puzzle platformer that will make you smile.