by Derk Bil
reviewed on PC
Ah, Magic! (cntd)
There are several methods to ‘deliver’ your magic. You can channel/charge magic by using your right mouse button, create an area effect spell by using the right mouse button together with the shift bottom on your keyboard and use your middle mouse button to cast a spell on yourself. If you don’t have any elements loaded up, you will either swing your blade or do a force push (gust of wind). You will start small but soon you will be combining elements into massive beams of awesomeness and destruction. Be careful though, friendly fire is everything but friendly in Magicka. Whatever affects your enemies, affects you and your allies just the same.
Imagine crossing a small stream before heading deeper into the woods and finding a pack of goblins all neatly bunched up together. An extremely convenient situation for let’s say… a huge chain-lighting discharge? You start tapping that lightning element button like mad, sending huge bolts of lightning in the direction of your foes. If you’re not too late, you may realize that some of the screams you’re hearing are yours. Remember crossing that stream? If until then you never knew much about how electricity and water interact, you will certainly have learned now.
The game is quite challenging by itself and does not have a difficulty selector. If you think you can make it easier by playing coop with a friend, you’re not wrong, or not completely at least. Coordinated attacks are easier in theory than they are in practice but even when you are failing miserably at them (and you most likely will, a lot) you will have the most fun failing imaginable.
Multiplayer adds a key element to the game: another loose cannon like yourself enters the fray. It allows you to stack up to 5 magical elements at once and channel them into one devastating attack. Your buddy can add another 5 and together you will create fantastic, earth-shattering laser-like beams that make the Death Star look like a kid’s toy.
The versatility of the magic system allows for nearly endless combinations and it is great fun to see what tactics your friends use, be it very effective or not at all. Playing with a friend there was one instance where I was doing a lot of running around to avoid being attacked so that I could heal myself, feeling like an idiot when I saw him simply use a shield and heal himself without having to do all the acrobatics.
Besides playing through the story with your friends, you can also team up for a challenging arena fight fighting waves upon waves of fearsome monsters that can only be beaten by combining your magic. This provides an excellent testing ground for those new and exciting spell combinations you’ve been wanting to try.
But even on your own the game is tremendous fun. It is filled to the brink with subtle and not-so subtle tongue-in cheek jokes about movies, music and games. The game’s creators haven’t been picky about their targets and you will find references to Harry Potter, Monty Python, Lord of the Rings but also Highlander, Goldfinger, Beatles songs, Castlevania and the Warhammer franchise just to name a few.
The story is incredibly fun but is also less than conventional as you play a hero for whom no one has even one shred of respect. The hilarious in-game speech reminded me of nothing so much as the Muppet Show’s Swedish Chef and even the in-game sounds will occasionally have you howling in laughter. At one point I found myself in a fantasy battlefield fighting Trolls and Beastmen but the background sound would suggest I was in some modern day battlefield with artillery and machineguns.
There are people that found Magicka to be bug-ridden and there are indeed a few items on the ‘to do’ list. The developers have vowed to work around the clock to churn out as many patches as they have to and smoothen out the experience as diligently as possible. It’s very playable as it is though and the price is an absolute steal: these will be the best 10 bucks you could ever spend this month.
Versatile magic system us tremendous fun. Multiplayer is simply a hoot.
While playable, there are still some bugs to squash.