Magical Diary

Good
  • Impressive character customisation allows you to create your own magical character and roleplay at a school similar to Harry Potter
  • Enjoy difficult school exams of combat and puzzles while balancing it with school romance
Bad
  • Fairly weak core storyline as a trade off to the additional freedom and freeflow structure the game adopts
  • No gender option within the same game title requiring two seperate purchases (and there was no male option for 9 years)
9

Magical Diary: Horse Hall (originally just Magical Diary) is a visual novel that takes place in a magical school with a Harry Potter style theme albeit with significantly more romantic opportunities. Originally released in 2011 and allowing players to experience the magical school as a female character a 2020 sequel (Magical Diary: Wolf Hall) allows players to experience the school from a male perspective instead.

magical-diary-horse-hall-gameplay-character

The core of your adventure in both of these Magical Diary versions remains the same with a focus on character customisation, NPC interaction (and romance), magical battles and a wealth of spells to master. Magical Diary was developed by Hanako Games and has the player exploring their new living quarters, a magical school and attempting to turn it into home. The game follows your adventures as a witch (or wizard in Wolf Hall) in this school of magic and like other visual novels lets the player decide exactly where the story goes.

With multiple ways to approach every decision and the puzzles scattered along the way there is plenty of grey areas between good witch and bad witch for players to explore and move between. One of the best features in Magical Diary starts from the first minute with the ability to customise and design your own character to your liking.

magical-diary-horse-hall-gameplay-combat

Be it recreating yourself in the magical world or going for something entirely from fiction both are completely viable in Magical Diary with options to set your name, hair style, hair colour, facial features, eye colour and body type. It is particularly worth highlighting that there are very few games in the visual novel genre that offer this same level of customisation which definitely helps you feel more connected to your character than the generic character options of similar themed titles.

Once you’ve settled on your look your options within the game are equally impressive with plenty of opportunities for players to immerse themselves in this magical world with day to day to life, activities and once off game events and associated decision points. The core of Magical Diary though where most of your time will be spent is making new friends, attempting an exam in the school dungeon, running for class president and with some luck finding your dream date for the upcoming May Day Ball which is a recurring plot and conversation point.

magical-diary-horse-hall-gameplay-story

Exams are where the bulk of game mechanics present themselves and accordingly one of the more deeply enjoyable aspects of Magical Diary with many players opting to make this their sole focus, particularly if they are a RPG player at heart. These exams vary from battles against ferocious monsters and puzzles which require careful thinking (and spells) to overcome. This makes Magical Diary particularly attractive to those that prefer their visual novels with a touch of action and don’t like to follow along strictly a linear storyline.
Summary:

  • Explore a world of magic and romance as you customise your character and interact with a large list of strange NPCs
  • Fun school exams filled with battles and puzzles for you to overcome with magic and wit.
  • Design your own character for the magical story ahead allowing you to create a stronger connection with the world.
  • Play as a female character in Horse Hall (2011) or play Wolf Hall (2020) for male gameplay.
  • Create your own magical adventure as you attend school, find a date to the May Day Ball or focus on your schooling.

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Review Platform: PC

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Written by
Samuel Franklin
Samuel Franklin is the founder and lead editor of the Games Finder team and enjoys video games across all genres and platforms. He has worked in the gaming industry since 2008 amassing over 3 million views on YouTube and 10 million article views on HubPages.

Games Finder is a Steam Curator and featured in the aggregate review scores data of MobyGames and Neoseeker.
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