A game where half of the fun is combining spell types into magical concoctions with surprising effects. The other half of the fun is accidentally frying your team mates with these spells. Welcome to Magicka.
Developed by Arrowhead Game Studios and published by Paradox Interactive, Magicka is what looks like your standard top-down, co-op action adventure game in a similar vein to games like Gauntlet. Set in a generic fantasy setting, the game has a generic setting in which the player takes on the role of a generic wizard. Sounds pretty generic? Well, it is. But it soon becomes apparent that this generic feel is there to simply fuel the humour behind the game. Magicka pays homage to any number of classic fantasy games, then sticks out it’s tongue and starts poking fun at them. This is a game that does not take itself seriously.
Which makes it all the more fun. Although the player can proceed on their quest to save the world in a solo manner, Magicka is at it’s best when played in co-op. More on that in a minute, for now let’s talk about the mechanics.
So the player is a wizard. As such they have access to a number of different elements which can be combined to create spells of great power. Using the keyboard, each element has it’s own button and then the player can stack a number of these elements together and finally perform the spell. It can take quite a bit of getting used to and will require the most nimble of hands to perform these actions in a timely manner. The player also has a melee attack, but where is the fun in that.
The combining of these elements into spells is where the game is most interesting, with a massive number of combos available to the player. Not only can the elements be combined into new and exciting spells, such as combining fire with water to create steam, but they can be used with the environment as well. This is not only essential for progression in the game, but will also result in some most innovative dispatching of enemies.The game begins with a simple tutorial, setting the scene for the story and also teaching the player about all of the possibilities in a calm manner before launching into chaos. Alongside the main adventure, players will be able to unlock a hardcore mode that will have them fighting back wave after wave of enemies.
All parts of the game will be available in co-op for up to four players. Playing with other people is what I think the developers have intended from the start, and it is a lot of fun. There is no mana to charge up and no leveling of the wizards. The game revolves around the simple action of being as quick as possible with the controls and not making mistakes, which will happen a lot. Friendly fire is always on in Magicka meaning that when you accidentally cast an area effect spell instead of direct effect, your team-mates may well get caught in it. This also means that it is possible to accidentally heal whatever monster you are currently fighting. The high possibility for error makes this game not frustrating, but a hell of a lot of fun.
With the humour of the story and the setting, and the hilarious results of trying to cast spells under pressure, this game is in no way serious. Tales of how badly players have managed to mess up will likely become a thing of Internet folklore.
Due on the PC fairly soon, there has been mention of this game coming to other platforms. I can see this game working really well on the home consoles and look forward to that. Across the games 13 levels, players will be able to unlock challenges, and find both items and powerful magicks.
So prepare for the games release by exercising those fingers and gather a few friends together. But not best friends, it would be a shame to lose them all because of one badly aimed fireball.