Hidden Gems – Magic Pengel: The Quest for Color (PS2)

Cover Art for the North American Release.

I have been interested in writing this article for awhile, especially using this new category type I wanted to dub Hidden Gems. The focus of these articles is to inform readers about games that don’t get the most attention and are often underestimated. Without further interruption, let’s get talking about this game.

Magic Pengel is one of the most played games from my childhood, due to the unique nature of the game and it’s mechanics. The best way to describe this game is by saying that it is a mix of Pokemon and Mario Paint. You control a fairy-like entity known as a Pengel, who you are able to draw various types of creatures called “Doodles”. The process of creating Doodles allows you to use different types of paint brushes, colors, and body parts that have different functions, such as wings, arms, legs, designs, and much more. Depending on the colors that you use to create your Doodle. they will be categorized into three main categories: Magic, Attack, and Block. The way this acts like Pokemon is that their is a duel system set in the game that works like rock paper scissors. For example, if you use a magic type move and your opponent uses an attack type move, you will win that match-up and deal damage. There are hundreds of different Doodles across the game that you can collect and battle with other NPCs. After defeating an NPC, you have the ability to purchase the doodles they used in a recent duel.

The mechanics of the game are already a large draw for players, but there are other aspects of the game that really bring it full circle. The setting and art style for the game uses cel-shading alongside 3D graphics to create it’s unique look and atmosphere. The art style may have been influenced to the collaboration with Studio Ghibli, which shows that they had some interests in video games before Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch. The composition pieces for the game world and duels in different locations are some of the most memorable tunes that I can remember even to this day. The way that the music plays part in the flow of battles and the exploration factor give it that much more meaning and importance to the game’s design.

This is what the duel system looks like in game.

The main story that the game follows the events of you waking up and meeting with Zoe and her brother Taro, who live, along with the other residents of the island, under the rule of The Kingdom, who use pure-hearted doodlers to create for their own uses. I won’t go into much more detail regarding the story, both as a means of spoilers and another reason to incite everyone to play the game. Though this is not critically or commercially acclaimed, this game has a cult following of people who really appreciate this game. That being said, trying to get your hands on a copy won’t be easy or cheap as even a used copy can go for roughly $50 or more online.

Overall, this game has that unique quality which sets it apart from many other games on the Playstation 2 and is definitely worth a playthrough. I wish that this could get a remastered version on the next gen consoles as I highly recommend this game for anyone who needs a break from shooters or battle royale games.

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