Mystic Gate Gameplay Preview

Video preview of Mystic Gate on YouTube
Audio version of the article

Mystic Gate was developed and published by Zoo Corporation, and released on February 9th, 2023 with a MSRP of $9.99. I did see a release date for the Nintendo Switch on March 9th. Now, you may be familiar with their big booba anime gurl puzzle games, I’ve actually covered most of them. They seem pretty nice, they always send me keys to their games and support all the coverage I make! Thanks guys.

Mystic Gate is essentially an action roguelite bullethell that feels very similar to Enter the Gungeon. I must say, I am pretty darn bad at bullethells. The last one I remember playing with fond memories was Ikaruga on the Dreamcast and let me tell you guys, I did not fare so well in that game. A more recent one I previewed was Maiden & Spell and that game was much more forgiving than Ikaruga and it also had kawaii anime girls.

Mystic Gate Preview - playing Ikaruga on the dreamcast
Ikaruga is a classic bullethell I first played on the Dreamcast. It was pretty difficult for me.

Moving on to Mystic Gate, I did initially find the game to be a tad on the difficult side. For some reason, I could not track the bullets and enemies on the screen but I chalk this up to getting old or somehow becoming legally blind whenever I play this game. I found myself running into bullets and wondering why I was taking so much damage. Turns out, I’m weak to bullets.

Jokes aside, once I got a hang of the game, it was pretty manageable. The game provides you with a very generous dash move that will help you avoid damage and pitfalls. Yes, there are pitfalls in this game and to my great shame, I died on the last level because I fell into a hole. The game even knows this and the end screen reiterated the fact that I had died due to a hole. Curse you gravity! The one boss in every game that you cannot defeat (unless you believe the earth is flat, in which case gravity does not exist and the flat earth is constantly accelerating at a rate of 9.8 meters per second perpendicular to the plane of the earth which is just nonsensical).

You know what isn’t flat though? My a…I mean the weapon variety! There are plenty of different weapons in the game, each with a different feel and play style. Getting a strong weapon that suits your play style definitely makes the run much easier. I managed to get to the last level after finding a Long Beam Rifle. That gun was amazing. It shot a continuous laser that had a high penetration rating so it melted enemies. Unfortunately that was also the run I fell into a hole and died.

There are a total of seventy seven weapons and around twenty one enemy types and seven boss types. It might be twenty two enemies and six bosses, I have a few entries missing in my encyclopedia. There are five levels and the last level is definitely the most difficult. The enemies have way more health, deal way more damage and attack way more aggressively.

Mystic Gate Preview - There are 77 weapons in the game
There are plenty of weapons in Mystic Gate, 77 in total!

When you aren’t trying to clear the levels, you have a small base camp where you can spend your hard earned gems to unlock passive or active upgrades. Gems are usually earned by clearing levels and defeating bosses but you can earn more by unlocking encyclopedia entries and achievements. Some upgrades are fairly expensive, such as the revive passive skill costing nine hundred gems, but they are definitely worth getting.

Since I am legally blind, I decided to focus on increasing my luck passive to have a better chance of unlocking higher tier weapons in shops and chests. I did this thinking I could clear the rooms of enemies much more quickly, therefore decreasing the chance I die to bullets. Sadly, the chance of falling into a hole remained the same.

I also chose to invest in the passive skill increasing the amount of money I earned so I could afford said weapons as well as decreasing my reload time to make up for my poor aim. If I shoot more bullets in a given time, I should definitely hit more shots or so my logic goes.

Mystic Gate Preview - Bullets flying everywhere
As you progress, the levels definitely do get much more difficult with bullets flying everywhere.

As for the flow of the game, after you enter the trials you start out in a safe room. Each room is segmented and as soon as you enter a room with enemies, the doors are locked and you must clear all the enemies before you can progress. Before you can exit the floor and proceed to the boss chamber, you must collect all the keys. Keys can be unlocked by defeating enemies or by finding them in chests.

Each floor has a merchant where you can buy up to three weapons, two health potions, and three passive and/or active abilities in exchange for gold. You can only carry two weapons but any weapon you drop in the level can be picked up later before you leave the floor if you change your mind.

The floors are large enough but not too large where navigating it becomes impossible, much like going to Ikea. I sometimes wonder how I manage to get out alive every time I go there. If I do get lost, thankfully I’ll have an endless supply of meatballs and stylish yet affordable furniture to keep me alive. (I’m not sponsored by the way). Thankfully the game includes a convenient teleport mechanic where you can teleport to any discovered room containing a portal by opening up the map with the M key and pressing on it with left mouse button.

As for the boss fights, they are fairly varied and definitely feels like a bullet hell. There are so many bullets everywhere, you would think you were living in America.

Mystic Gate Preview - machine golem boss fight
The boss fights are pretty fun and manageable in terms of difficulty thanks to your dash.

As for my take, the game was definitely enjoyable after I managed to get used to the mechanics a bit. It did seem a tad lacking compared to Enter the Gungeon however. That said, it’s awesome to see Zoo Corporation branch out and make games in different genres. You guys did a swell job and I am looking forward to seeing your next title.

For full transparency, I received a free key from Zoo Corporation. I have spent 4.9 hours in the game as of now, with 16 out of 28 achievements unlocked. I have not cleared the last trail yet.

As always, hope you guys are staying safe and sane out there, and catch you guys next time!

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