I'm about 2-3 hours into mage's tale right now (I doubt im halfway yet so it gets bonus points for being a long vr game :D ). Since i've finished lone echo, mages tale is my focus before i start other games.
Awesome to hear about Racket! I'm still debating on whether to get Mage's Tale now or wait for a sale. Still have many VR games to get through like Lone Echo and I know Mage's Tale will go on sale at least by the holiday sales.
For now, it seems like the best vr game for the adventure/ fantasy genre but it hasn't set a high bar, so the next wave of fantasy games should do way better.
It allows you to freely explore the dungeons and there's a ton of secrets to find, easily my favourite part of the game. The secrets range form holes in the bottom of the wall that require you to physically duck to see into them, to bricks you can push to open a secret area. There's been some really cryptic ones that I've felt proud for finding (like 2 small skulls high on the wall in opposing dead ends, that rotate when you use a wind spell. Rotating both opened a hidden passage leading to a puzzle room that when solved gave me a chest with items :D
The main path features puzzles too but they are nothing mind bending or anything so it shouldn't halt your progess for long.
battles are often fought against multiple enemies, mostly against archers. Melee enemies will also have a shield which deflects spells so you need to wait for them to attack or taunt before you can hit them or use a wind spell to send them flying. Arrows and most attacks(some magic spells will penetrate shield) can be blocked with a magic shield (dual weild the shields and bring them together to make a giant one which is cool).
I think combat can sometimes be a little clunky at times when you're being swarmed by a lot of enemies. One big reason for this is the way you switch between spells. You can only have one spell active at a time and on one hand only. You change between spells by holding a button down and then selecting the spell you want (like a weapon wheel basically). This is a massive missed opportunity in my opinion when they could have you do certain hand gestures or movements to toggle between them. The magic wheel isn't as user friendly as it could be as its a bit too specific of where you put your hand to grab it off the menu, so in a frantic fight it can feel clumsy to use. The game will have swords you can pick up but unfortunately these break the moment you try to attack an enemy which is a shame, I think having a melee option would have helped this game out quite a bit.
One boss fight i came across (whilst not difficult) was fun due to his size. Just seeing it stand above you to scale was pretty neat for a game like this when you've been fighting human sized goblins the whole time. So i hope theres more encounters similar to this.
For spells, theres only 4 (fire, ice, lightning and wind). You can use the base magic to craft altered versions of them but these just enhance it in small ways (you can add an enhanced effect, increase strength, range, change the colour, add a guided or enemy seeking effect etc).
My least favourite aspect of the game is the companion, a blue goblin with bad voice acting who spends the entire time insulting you. I don't mind his attitude as much, as I think that'll change as the game progresses but it's voice acting and his animation. He pretty much has no facial expressions/animations besides his mouse movement so it comes across really low budget.
The default movement option is short teleports, no aiming just tilt the analog stick in a direction to do a short hop. They are almost like quick steps forward so it's a nice way to give almost free locomotion/movement without making some people feel sick.
The second is full movement with the analog stick, I would normally always pick this option but the speed of the movement is way too fast so i prefer the default. (it doesnt make me sick or anything, I just dont like the speed at which you travel where it feels i'm running at full speed all the time).
So for now, the game is enjoyable but not something I will list as a system seller or must play like lone echo or robo recall.