7 Mages (out now on iOS and Android) is one of those rare things - a massive, in-depth tactical turn based game with more than 30 hours of gameplay that actually tries to do something different.
The big twist here, alongside an old-school sensibility and 14 unique environments, is a focus on musical magic.
This intriguing system gives each character a tune they can play to directly effect anyone within earshot. You can speed up fights, part the seas, and the songs stack, meaning you can warp the battle in a multitude of different ways.
We sat down with Napoleon Games to find out more about the music, and to discover what else makes 7 Mages stand out from the rest of the genre.
What do you think your game offers that you can't get from any other title on the App Store?
We think we have several unique features. One of them is that 7 Mages uses a brand new type of musical magic.
Instead of wielding a weapon or a magic staff, your party members can use musical instruments to play a magic song that affects everyone within earshot.
If more of them join in (say, one playing the trumpet and another the drum), not only does the music become richer, but its magical properties get stronger. Music isn't just part of the soundtrack, it's an actual game mechanic.
And all of that in a unique system of first-person turn-based combat that lets you split your party.
We also wanted the game to be as varied as possible, so each level has new graphics, and new enemies that require different tactics.
As well as that, the environment itself becomes part of the game – under the sea you first have to play the Moses song so the sea parts in front of you and you can breathe underwater.
What challenges did you face during development, and how did you overcome them?
We decided to target high-end devices from the very beginning of development. We wanted to push the envelope of mobile gaming. As a result, we ran into technical issues pretty much every stepduring the two years of development.
The greatest challenge was the memory limits. Our solution was to laboriously go through one graphical asset after another to find out where we could save some. But I hope the result is worth it!
Which part of the game are you personally the most proud of and why?
I'm most proud of the musical magic. The whole island of Roven, where the game takes place, is steeped in magic. Of course we have the traditional elemental magic with many visual effects, and if the player decides to equip a character with a cold weapon (a sword, hammer or a shield), they can use magic to make it do extraordinary things.
But musical magic is something truly new that also works really well, and that's something that all good developers strive for.
Do you have anything planned in terms of future updates for the game and, if so, can you give us any details of what these might include?
We've got a lot of ideas, but we want to wait for the reception first. We want to respond to what the players enjoy and what they don't like. It would be nice, for example, if players could create their own adventures and share them with others.
Have you any plans to bring the game to any other platforms, such as Steam?
Alongside the mobile version, which will come out on iOS and Android, we'll release the game on Steam in Early Access.