Micro Mages is a platformer game for the NES starring four bite-sized mages in a hurry to save their beloved princess from the evil Demon Fortress! Despite being an NES title, the game was officially released in 2019 as homebrew following a successful Kickstarter and is available in both ROM and cartridge format!
Developer: Morphcat Games
Released: 1st May 2019
Let’s go find the princess!
Micro Mages can be played solo or up to four-player local co-op, but either way, the goal is to make it to the top of vertically auto-scrolling towers. To do this, all mages can jump, cast ranged spells, and use wall-jumps to climb and flight their way out. Mages can also obtain temporary upgrades such as a protective fairy or a seagull allowing hovering for a brief time. Unless protected by a fairy or a seagull, mages have one hit point and will die by touching enemies or from attacks. Each tower is broken down into three or four sections, with a boss fight at the top of the tower.
The game has a scoring system for all four players, encouraging defeating enemies, finding chests, and obtaining gems to raise the score. That said, in some cases it may be better to miss some items or enemies in favor of staying alive, adding an element of risk-versus-reward gameplay.
That escalated quickly.
Despite being developed for the NES, notorious for its assortment of near-impossible “Nintendo-hard” games, Micro Mages is pretty fair to play. While still being a challenging game, cheap deaths are rare, letting you learn from your mistakes. The game is also pretty fun to play too, owing to its easy-to-master mechanics, tower-climbing gameplay, and forgiving nature.
The game sports a quirky soundtrack, serving as background music for all levels and complimenting the excellent 8-bit graphics that take full advantage of NES sprite and palette limitations. While NES sprite flickering tends to occur in scenes with lots of enemies, the game is smooth and fluid to play.
The ubiquity of emulators and documentation for retro consoles such as the NES, as well as countless homebrew software is the perfect grounds for games like Micro Mages to make their debut. Even when limited by primitive hardware, the game is great to play and an excellent addition to the Nintendo Entertainment System’s library, especially for local co-op multiplayer.
Furthermore, since the ROM for the game is provided, you can play it on whichever device that can emulate the NES, such as consoles, computers, and even mobile phones!