Magical Burage Academy まじかるブラゲ学院 is a Flash-based browser Japanese MMORPG; produced by a Chinese company, Fun City Tech, based in Hangzhou, hosted by the Japanese company Vector. It’s a RO clone simplified for browser use.
I doubt the translation is really Burage ブラゲ , it’s just the romaji, more likely something to do with Browser because the login system is Browser Game Time; and browser in Japanese is ブラウザ . Its platform is a browser, so it makes sense. It could mean a browser in terms of a scholar or reader; or maybe Burage is correct, it means obstacle or land owned by a king. Absolutely no idea what the real meaning is. I’ll just refer to it as Magical Academy.
We didn’t find this game in an English or Chinese version, so I imagine the game operators Vector purchased it from Fun City Tech. The game is fairly popular in Japan, but not a big hit, probably because its lack of originality. It’s difficult to play most Japanese on-line games because they require you to create accounts with mobile phone numbers or use payment subscription systems.
However, it’s pretty easy to set up a Vector game account at their game portal http://bg-time.jp/ Browser Game Time. No pesky Japanese character verification or verified personal information needed. They have quite a few games on their portal, and you just sign up for one account and can access any of them, like most other on-line game portals.
The website has a nice layout, but none of it actually seems to match what you find in the game… You just press the Game start on the left hand side, then choose a server and login in with your “Burage” account – browser game time account.
Loading is pretty fast, and you soon get to a character select screen. I don’t know if choosing a character was merely an aesthetic choice, or whether there’s actual classes in this game, probably the later, but I didn’t really see what my class could specifically do in game. Maybe it unlocks later on in the game, I only played until getting to lvl 8.
The map is pretty random, looks like a kind of warped version of Japan. An indication of “You are here” would of been nice, as I’ve no idea where the game starts. The music is horrific as well, you can listen to it at the bottom from a video of someone playing the game.
The interface is pretty basic, the game is surprisingly responsive, I was bracing myself for a slow moving laggy game experience, but the character speeds about.
I love how OK is a universal phrase.
You begin by going from NPC to NPC with a quest to go to the subsequent one; there’s a yellow arrow road to show you where to go if you’re utterly retarded. You get a load of equipment off these NPCs; most of them are shop NPCs, and I have no idea what they are saying.
The music is really starting to annoy me now, as it’s on like a 10 second loop.
You port to the next area, and then the random battles begin. You encounter random battles when moving about. The Japanese seem to love this feature, as it features in so many Japanese games that I’ve played. I just hate it because it’s annoying, and messes up a games pace. Whilst FF7 is my favourite game of all time, the random battle encounters in it have to be the worst part of it.
The battles themselves are pretty stupid, you just click the enemy, and have a timer that counts down to let you choose what to do. The other options are skip turn, defend, special abilities, items and escape battle, I guess. Anyway, I dispatched the first wobbly tree creature with two whacks of a hammer. Thrilling game-play so far. At least the music changes when you go into a battle, if that was the only song in this game I would have concussion from banging my head against the table by now.
If you’ve not seen an enemy before, they appear as a giant bubble whilst they load; sometimes it won’t load and you’ll always be imagining what wonderful creature you missed laying inside that bubble.
My efforts to reach out to other players in chat fail, no response whatsoever. Everyone seems to be just running about like headless chicken into random battle encounters, silently levelling up and completing the arbitrary quests. One thing to note is that the colour of the whisper text is a horrible dark purple which is difficult to read, so maybe that’s why I had no responses.
It occurs to me that all this game is, running about clicking trees, mushrooms and birds for XP, whilst listening to horrible music.
After a while you can go back to this quest guy to complete your quest and get another quest which is exactly the same, but veiled as some different task.
Sometimes the enemies have something to say when they attack you, this mushroom in particular gave me a mouth full. You might also encounter strange green one eyed goblins who look really tired and die in 1 hit.
Overall, this game is simply a Ragnarok Online clone. But instead of the intelligent design of placing enemies on screen, they exist in random battle encounters. The background art is actually pretty nice, but the character images are too low res and don’t really have a special style to them. Battle system is super boring at the start of the game, but that’s nothing new. I imagine it gets more complex as you go through the game, and I saw screen-shots of group battles, so that could be fun.
A Chinese company did create this game, so really I probably shouldn’t put this under Japanese Game Reviews. However, there are so few original games that are browser-based and Japanese people are playing this. I guess all the good Japanese game development power is pushed into the Wii and PS3 rather than the PC.
Magical Academy’s Related Links
Official Site : http://magical.bg-time.jp
Japanese Wiki Page : http://wikiwiki.jp/brggakuin/