If I could walk into Lilly’s Magic Shop I would order smaller fingers, larger iPhone screen(give me an iPad Nigel) or less small objects to select on the screen. I have played a lot of time management games for the iPhone but none has been so cluttered as Mystic Emporium. That might be the result of being too ambitious when selecting what to put into the game.
Mystic Emporium is a touch controlled time management game in the vein of Diner Dash, Sally’s Spa and Cake Mania 3. Of course it tells the story through illustrated images, and of course a girl stars in it. I find it saddening that the stereotype won’t change when it comes to time management games. Of course witches are female, but the Magic Shop is visited by male wizards and vampires as well. Ok, I will stop ranting about sexual stereotypes now as Mystic Emporium isn’t the only culprit.
Mystic Emporium plays like all other time management games found for the iPhone. You take an order, brew a potion, hand it to the customer and collect the money. The clock is ticking, and you have to reach a set goal to complete the level. There is also a harder expert goal to reach, and I have had little to no problems achieving expert grades. Between levels you get to upgrade your shop by adding cauldrons, and upgrade the speed of the cauldrons and Lilly.
At certain points in the game you get accumulating block puzzler where you have to remove a set number of blocks to create a useful item. These puzzles are quite boring, and to me they could be omitted right away.
The graphics are quite nice in the bright and colourful time management kind of way. Sound and music suit the game, and you can play your own music in conjunction with the sound effects. The sheer amount of small items to tap on the screen is really troublesome to me and my big fingers. Fully upgraded, and with the counter full with customers the shop has got at least 33 clickable items. That is too much, and as 24 of these are grouped quite closely together mistakes occur frequently. When time management turns into object management it isn’t as fun, and Mystic Emporium walks that thin line. I want to plan ahead but most of the time I am browsing the shelves instead of planning.
Mystic Emporium comes with 24 levels that can be completed within a couple of hours, and there aren’t that many things to upgrade in the shop. The content feels limited in comparison to other games of the same genre. I found it quite an enjoyable game to play, and the characters found within are cute and interesting. If you are a fan of fantasy and time management it is definitely worth considering. Otherwise there are better games with more content out there at a lower cost.
Mystic Emporium $3.99
Seller: 99Games Online Private Limited