Developer: 10 Tons
Version Reviewed: 1.0
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A sign of a good Game App is one that prevents you from writing a review about it, as you're too busy playing it to get around to write it up. Miriel the Magical Merchant HD is just such an App. For fans of Time Management Games (like Diner Dash or Cake Mania), this is a goldmine. While obviously people who are not a fan of this style of gameplay will automatically steer clear, finding a decent Time Management game can be difficult sometimes. Developers really need to know the balance of the game, and lucky for us, 10 Tons does a great job with Miriel.
The game starts out with a sort of Story Mode, about how Miriel's father mysteriously left, and she's working at the store to save up to go to Magic School (or something along those lines). The object of the game is to serve your customers in a timely manner. This begins quite simply as you only have a few items for sale that can be requested. The games difficultly level slowly increases with 'baked items' (where you have to combine two or more ingredients in the oven) that take 2x or even 3x the amount of time to prepare. Your goal is to serve as many customers as you can, as quickly as you can, to reach your daily (or Master) goal for money each day.
Nearly every new day offers a unique challenge or reward. Sometimes you'll get a new item for sale, or sometimes you'll get a new customer type. At the end of each week you move on to another town and get the chance to upgrade your equipment by playing a matching mini-game. A nice feature of this App is that you can go and play the mini-game on your own at any point if you want to from the main menu. There are fun little features like The Haste Machine (which speeds up your cooking, and movements) which you can use by collecting gold wings, by serving customers quickly.
As you progress, the items get more and more difficult, and you get more and more items. While you frantically run around stocking, baking and serving, you'll have a blast. The only feature I would add is the ability to quit or restart mid-level (as sometimes you simply get too far behind) and the ability to re-play a level of your choice.
As addicted as I was to Cake Mania, I think that Miriel has taken the cake (no pun intended) as my new favorite game of this style. The art work is stunning, and playing on my iPad is a breeze compared to PC or DS gameplay. This game is a bargain at this price point, and I highly, highly recommend it.