by Ben Petchey
reviewed on PC
Neon Lights and Clumsy Dialogue
Megamagic: Wizards of the Neon Age is a game that is drenched with all things ’80s. Upon loading up the game for the first time you are met with a flashy ’80s style neon introductory video and the game itself is heavily inspired by and a tribute to ’80s culture, while also blending various different game genres such as RPG and real-time-strategy.
The game starts out rather confusingly: switching between first and third-person dialogue, it can be hard to keep up with what’s going on. But, in short, you seem to be a fatherless teenager who lives with his brother and uncle and you roam around city streets, dungeons and patches of wilderness, zapping at hordes of enemies with spells from five different schools of magic.
Speaking of dialogue, it was one of the first things that caught me by surprise. I’m not entirely sure if it was intentional – a jab at the ’80s style games or some such – but the characters talk to each other in a way that makes one doubt the writers’ abilities. The two brothers don’t talk like teenagers and they interact with each other like they’ve just met for the first time and are trying not to say something that may cause offence. Again, I’m not sure if this is intentional or not, but it comes across as though it isn’t. The less said about the jokes, the better.
Magic and Giant Rats
The gameplay is pretty good, though. To attack enemies you simply select a spell in your hot bar and right-click on an enemy. You have the typical mana bar that refills over time or, alternatively, you can pick up mana blobs from dead enemies or from dispensers around the world. You can also spawn AI companions known as a “Grims”. This is where the RTS element comes into play. Grims can be told where to go, who to attack and how to attack. You can either highlight or left-click them to manoeuvre them around the map, and you can also carry out heavy attacks on your enemies by holding shift and left-click. It’s like having a companion in your favourite RPG, but in Megamagic you can control where they go and what they attack. However, if you’re more worried about yourself, they can do just fine by themselves – or you can invite co-op partners to control them for you.
The enemies are a bit odd. In the first place, there’s no real explanation as to why you are attacking all the things that you encounter. Second, everything you come up against – e.g. giant rats and giant scorpions with snake tails – seems kind of random. Yes, I realise it’s the ’80s, but come on. The enemies are also quite repetitive with little variety to be had. Blasting these enemies at first was pretty decent fun, but you’ll grow tired of the constant spamming of the mouse after a while.
Outside of blasting enemies with spells, there are puzzles. Not to spoil anything, there’s a variety of puzzles that require you to dash past projectiles, etc. I found these to be one of the best elements in the game.
Pretty and Nice Sounding
Visually, Megamagic is stunning. The art style matches the ’80s theme very well. The colours are bright and pop out at you. The level design varies nicely; with bright blue cubic levels, to the dusty desert – there are plenty of beautiful and varying levels to gawk at.
As well as the great visual style Megamagic has, you are treated to some great tunes to join you on your adventure. From Hotline Miami 2 and Kung Fury soundtrack composer, Mitch Murder, the soundtrack only magnifies the whole ‘80s experience.
Difficult to Recommend
Overall, it is difficult to say who this game is intended for. Perhaps partly to those suffering from inescapable spells of ’80s nostalgia and whose best memories of that era consist of bad dialogue and ill-explained plots? Perhaps the local co-op option will make the game more enjoyable in the long run. For the lone player, the few redeeming qualities include the music and visuals.
Great art style and soundtrack
At times dull gameplay, rough animation