When people think of a studio like HexaDrive, they probably think of the work done for other company’s games. The developer was involved in the creation of games like E.X. Troopers, Final Fantasy XV, Mario Sports Superstars, Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D and The Wonderful 101. They may forget that these were also the people behind more unconventional mobile games, like Demons’ Score and King Radish’s Ambition. Magical Passcode 1111 is not only a reminder of what other oddities it is capable of creating, as well as showing how unconventional it can be.
Magical Passcode 1111 is an action-RPG where players follow a magician, named Spellenya, who is looking for his master, acquiring missing MagiSafes with Magi inside and journeying with an ordinary human named Nefaria. Locations are broken up into different stages. Spellenya uses the Magi to attack strategically in a way that eliminates enemies while not leaving him susceptible or totally drained of MP. It is the way it is executed, looks and performs that makes it stand out.
For most of its event scenes and all of its battle segments, HexaDrive employs a paper theater approach. This is a sort of puppet show that first appeared in the late 18th century, involving paper puppets that were cut out, affixed to a stick and then moved around a stage. In almost every scene, we can see the sticks below Spellenya, his allies and his enemies, moving the characters around as they talk and interact. It is a choice that I feel emphasizes the lighthearted nature of the story. Even though we are dealing with a Demon Lord, thievery and dangerously powerful creatures, seeing everything presented in this way takes the edge off.
Another way in which Magical Passcode 1111 takes the edge off is the way in which its story segments proceed. It is almost like we are reading a social media timeline. Characters’ lines appear in a box below them, then inch downward as new bits of dialogue appear. It is as though we are looking through a Twitter feed. We can see what has happened and retain context. But, even if things get serious, it can seem more casual than serious.
Finally, there are the character profiles. Magical Passcode 1111 is a game with a relationship system. By performing certain actions, Spellenya can become closer to the Magi living in his head and fighting for him. This, in turn, makes them more powerful. The page you visit to look up information on the characters, trigger love level increases and check the likes and dislikes look like they belong in a 7-ring binder. They seem perfectly suited to a planner where you gather details about people most important in your life. Things are bright and colorful, with clear fonts and notes that make these monsters sound more like friends that terrifyingly strong individuals.
All of this comes together to give Magical Passcode 1111 a very clear vibe. It comes across as a mobile RPG to play casually, when you feel like it. Even though some of the subject matter could get dark or serious, the way in which battles are fought, stories proceed and vital information is presented is designed to set you at ease. It can feel very friendly and low-pressure, which suits a smartphone game very well.