iPad Game Review: Miriel the Magical Merchant HD Reviewed by JadeDragon
With so many time management titles for the iOS, new games are trying hard to differentiate themselves from the crowd. Miriel the Magic Merchant HD certainly is different. Though it has a very typical and solid time management gameplay, the game peppers in a little medieval, a little Harry Potter and a short back story that can end in many ways depending on the answers and reactions you choose after each piece of the story is revealed.
Miriel opens up a shop in a magic kingdom where ordinary people like monks, scholars and travelers live peacefully with not-so-ordinary people like druids, wizards, rangers and more. At first Miriel?s shop is no more than a convenient story where the locals come to buy water, milk, eggs and flour. But with some success of the first few days, the shop gets bigger and starts to make bakery items, coffee, and more varieties of items like fruits and candy. And soon she?s got two ovens to bake with and upgrades that speed things along. If you want to blister your fingertip and energize your brain cells with non-stop actions, Miriel serves up a very healthy helping of it. The game increases the pace quite fast and then throws in some complicated recipes for a good measure.
Unlike in Dinner Dash or Supermarket Mania kind of games, Miriel the Magical Merchant doesn?t only require you to sell the right items to the right customers or combine two things that make the final item, it actually give you real recipes to cook and bake with, as in you can use them in real life to make cakes, jam, cheese and more. It?s one thing to pick from your stock to cook something, it?s quite another when you have to use the thing you just cooked to cook another item. Another way that Miriel throw a curveball at you is that the fruit and coffee supplies have a timer also, just like the ovens can only cook the food so fast. Once you?ve taken a fruit or a batch of coffee beans, it takes a bit of time to resupply. You just hope that not many customers want these items or you won?t get their orders fulfill fast enough.
To help Miriel face the increasingly difficult tasks, the game offers a magic solution. There is a speed potion vile, and for every customer you serve speedily they reward you with a speed point. Once you?ve accumulated enough to fill the speed potion vile, you suddenly become ?Super Miriel?. Not only Miriel moves in a blur, everything moves fast with her: items generates faster, ovens cook faster, etc. But the potion?s effect only lasts a few seconds, so use it during the part of the level where you are overwhelmed with orders from customers. For more permanent solutions for adding more speed, the game offers upgrades to the ovens that make it work faster and adding candies to keep customers? happiness levels up. You will have to play for these upgrades, of course, in the form of a mini-game that resembles a puzzle game called Bubbles.
Miriel the Magical Merchant looks gorgeous in HD on the iPad. The shop?s layout on the big iPad screen makes it very easy to control the gameplay. Food items look delicious, each customer type looks the part and Miriel?s movements are super smooth. The non-in-game screens also look nice, and every screen you come across have nice colors and well drawn images. Controls are super easy to use also with some tutorials introducing new elements or recipes to the player.
Miriel has medieval style music with a cheerful Celtic flare. It sounds nice and never gets boring. When you activate the speed potion, the music gets into overdrive also, using some fast and fancy fiddle music. Sound effects work with the game well, but the selection isn?t huge.
With over 60 levels to beat and master, Miriel the Magical Merchant HD is a solid game. Veteran time management players who are looking for their next new challenge shouldn?t pass up on this one because it offers the exact frenzy and fun a TM game should have and lots of it. The levels are not hard to beat but can get hard to master in certain levels. The baking element is an added level of challenge but also unique and fun. Though it might give casual gamers some trouble in later levels (after level 45) as there are so many recipes to remember and there isn?t a quick and easy way to look them up during a level.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 5 - Eye pleasing graphics, excellently shop layout. Sound: - 4 - Nice music but not a lot of sound FX. Controls: - 5 - Controls are simple and very responsive. Gameplay: - 4.5 - Ton of captivating gameplay. There should be an easier way to look up recipes during a level.
Playing Hints and Tips:
- Like most TM games, make sure you make Miriel multitask.
- You don?t have to always pick the new items that make the most money, if these items require very long time to make. The cheaper ones that don?t require more than one trip to the oven can do just fine.