Star-Fired Beef

Steam Challenge – Magical Diary

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This is part of my Steam Challenge Series (the full list is here).

Time played: 9.5 hours (and counting!) Wow. What a ride. I’ve never played a “dating sim”-type game before, so I was a little worried that Magical Diary would be too cheesy and awkward for my liking. Three (and two-fifths – I got expelled before the first exam twice) playthroughs later, and I’m captivated. The game takes place over a single school year at Iris Academy, a school for magic. You have a few stats that determine which choices and events you get to see, and you can learn five different types of magic. This part is actually pretty cool, as the spells you learn depend on which classes you take, and certain spells can be cast during events, if you know them. Otherwise, you still get to apply your study in the exams which take place regularly. In dungeons. These are cleverly designed to be solvable by almost every student, regardless of which types of magic you have studied. Each full playthrough takes about three hours. My first time through I ended up avoiding all romantic entanglements, and had an interesting time with some of the plot points. Second time through I pursued a relationship with a demon-boy, which…did not end happily. In my first playthrough, I fell in love with Ellen as a character, she reminded me so much of Hannelore from Questionable Content (who I find adorable), and so I resolved to romance her. I did that successfully in my last playthrough, and it was as cute as I’d hoped it would be. Some great stuff about Magical Diary:

  • Romance is possible but not mandatory.
  • You always play as a young woman, but your romance options are limitless – you can hook up with boys, girls, or other.
  • There is a lesson that teaches you gender-neutral terms for talking to or about other entities (including humans).
  • There is a lesson that hammers home the concept of enthusiastic consent in personal relationships.
  • The educational philosophy of the school is one that every school should have.
  • So many hints at plot points that may or may not be explorable – makes the replay value very high!

Highly recommended! Especially if you like Long Live the Queen, this game was made by the same studio and, from what I’ve seen on the LLtQ store page, Magical Diary will be familiar in mechanics and presentation. 

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