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Daily iPhone App: Mage Gauntlet

I'll be straightforward on this one: Mage Gauntlet is one of the best iOS games of the year. It's a throwback RPG to the 16-bit days of Secret of Mana and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, put together by Rocketcat Games, the folks responsible for the great Hook Champ and subsequent Hook Worlds titles. You play as a girl in a world of magic, who just happens to be nonmagical, and while the story is cute and fun, the gameplay here is the real draw -- this is old school action RPG all the way.

The look is extremely polished and well done, the music of the game is some of the best I've heard on a handheld title in a long time, and the game offers up plenty of addictive action, whether you're slicing through foes with a charge-and-slash mechanic, or casting spells across the touchscreen with your finger. If there's a problem with the game at all, it's probably a slightly sharp difficulty curve (especially on a specific level), but the dev has already stated on Twitter that there's an updated planned to tweak that section's difficulty, and let you do more of what's really fun in this one: finding and casting great spells to level up your character.

There's also tons of great gear to collect to customize your character, and if you buy the game right away at the launch price of $1.99, you can get some special gear from other Rocketcat titles, along with a special pet that grants some nice bonuses to your attributes. Unfortunately, this one's iPhone only, but even blown up on the iPad, it still looks great. Mage Gauntlet is one of my favorite games on iOS this year -- definitely don't miss out.

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