Surprisingly, you don’t need to know much about League of Legends lore to get a kick out of The Mageseeker. Knowing the backstory of the champion Sylas and the history of Demacia does help bring a lot of context to the narrative, but if you enjoyed the fantastic action RPG Moonlighter, you’ll appreciate this offering from Digital Sun too. From the short demo I played of the game at a Nintendo Indies event at GDC 2023, The Mageseeker looks like a contender to be the best Riot Forge game yet, above Hextech Mayhem and Ruined King.
How Sylas became “The Unshackled”
League of Legends fans will recognize Sylas as a champion that typically ranks high in character tiers, with his ability to store charges of Petricite Burst, lash creatures with the chains attached to his shackles, and hijack the ultimate abilities of his opponents. The Mageseeker essentially fleshes out his backstory while turning his signature techniques into abilities he can use against the many soldiers in the kingdom of Demacia who seek to throw him back into his jail cell (or worse).
As a short summary, Demacia is a lawful kingdom but fears magic-users of all kinds, openly oppressing mages throughout its society and turning many of them into Mageseekers who go after their own kind. As a child, Sylas’s ability to sense other mages made him a prime tool for the Mageseekers until he took pity on a girl, accidentally absorbed her magic, and killed several people including his mentor. He was then sentenced to life imprisonment, chained by petricite shackles, until many years later he encountered another champion, Luxanna Crownguard. During his planned execution, Sylas is able to channel her magic through the petricite and break free.
You’re not stealing magic if you’re giving it back
From there, the demo had me run through a quick tutorial by following his escape as he fights off his would-be captors. Apparently able to work out while in prison, Sylas can use his strength to attack enemies with quick strikes using his shackles. If mages foolishly attempt to blast him with magic, he can aim a chain at them and absorb their spell, essentially allowing him to hit them back with their own attack. By paying attention to the element system, Sylas can throw, say, ice magic at a fire mage for additional damage.
After learning the ropes, I was immediately flung into a boss fight that takes place about a third into the game. At that point, Sylas is in search of Kara, who is also imprisoned and would be a welcome ally in his pursuit for revenge. Wisteria, a former acquaintance, tries to stop Sylas after revealing that she has fully embraced becoming a Mageseeker. Since none of his attacks dealt any damage to her, the boss fight had me concentrate on destroying the bars to Kara’s cell and getting rid of any pesky reinforcements. Using some newfound spells Sylas had learned along the way, like an electric blast, I was able to crush the holding cell and teleport to safety with Kara’s aid.
The demo also revealed a cameo from the champion Garen, who challenges Sylas not only as a noble defender of Demacia, but as the brother of Lux. Throughout the adventure, which will be about 12 hours long, other characters from League of Legends like Morgana, Shyvana, and Jarvan IV will make an appearance too, as noted by the game’s official site. The developers showcasing the demo stated that the narrative will see Sylas turn from a prisoner seeking revenge into a leader among the mages. To make the game more accessible, it will feature three difficulty levels and allow players to adjust various sliders for overall health and damage.
The Mageseeker: A League of Legends Story is slated to release on April 18, 2023 for numerous platforms, including Nintendo Switch, PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, and PC via Steam, Epic Games Store, and GoG. Pre-ordering the game will grant players an exclusive Lost Silverwing in the game’s hideout. A Deluxe Edition and a Collector’s Edition for the game are available for pre-order now.
This preview is based on a hands-on demo on Nintendo Switch using a Pro Controller.