It's always struck me as odd that in tales of myth and magic, mastery of the black arts always comes down to reciting some mumbo jumbo.

You can perform all manner of wonderful tricks as long as you can remember some rather elementary instructions that happen to rhyme.

Magic Mancy could do with some elementary instructions of its own. A series of puzzles packaged together by a rather a dubious tale focusing on the search for a series of magic books, Magic Mancy takes about as long to play as it appears to have taken to develop.

Lost in translation

The plot itself - though likely perfectly reasonable in its native language - falls victim to what could be called a 'case of the Babelfishes' when translated into English.

Dialogue – of which there is plenty – makes very little sense, with the text so muddled it almost feels like you've started listening into a conversation halfway through.

Our best guess is that the aim of the game is to work through puzzle after puzzle to unlock a collection of magic books you've accidentally mislaid.

Doing so means navigating through one inanimate screen after another, moving a pointer around to interact with any objects in play: most do nothing, but some trigger the game's puzzles, which can also be played individually in Magic Mancy's Quick Play mode.

Some of the games on offer need little introduction: Match 3, for instance, is a fairly basic take on Bejeweled, where the aim is to match up a set number of gems in order to progress.

Peg Solitaire is equally faithful to the original game, with the idea being to jump pegs over one another until only one piece is left. Memory, as its name suggests, is a case of replicating button-presses as played out on screen.

Missing magic

The other two games – Mastermind and 8 Queens – will be less familiar to most players, and Magic Mancy makes little attempt to explain their intricacies to newcomers.

The sparse, one-line intros that open each game also serve as the help file, meaning a trip to Wikipedia is often the only way to fathom just what you should be doing and how.

It all mirrors the hands-off approach Magic Mancy employs in the game's main mode.

Indeed, it's quite possible that vast numbers of players will attentively work their way through Magic Mancy's reams of text only to be left clueless when they encounter its opening stage, with the prompts that appear when you click on erroneous objects offering little insight as to what you should do next.

In all, it's hard to fathom just what Magic Mancy is meant to achieve. The puzzles it packages together are basic at best, and with little thought having been given as to how they can be strung into one narrative Magic Mancy lacks any sparkle whatsoever.