Magicka

Magicka_boxGame Name: Magicka
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Developer: Arrowhead Game Studios
Platform: PC via Steam download

The Good:

This game is full of comedic references to other classic games.  It had me laughing like crazy on the first cutscene, and it only got better from there.  In Magicka, you cast spells by combining different elements to defeat onslaughts of enemies, and sometimes even your teammates, as friendly fire is always on.  You may think of this as a bad thing, but after playing for about 15 minutes, the resurrection combination was almost instinctual after casting a few fireballs.  Also, it’s extremely easy to heal yourself, as well as allies, but beware, you can heal your enemies too.

One thing I really like about the gameplay of Magicka is all the mayhem.  I was only playing with two other people, and it was already hard to fireball enemies without hitting my teammates.  Here is a screenshot that looks like a typical battle in Magicka:

Magicka_Havok

Another design choice that I love about Magicka is that there is no mana.  You can cast spells constantly without having to stop the fun to wait for mana to regen.  All in all I just found the game to be extremely fun and well designed.

The Bad:

One thing that I didn’t like about Magicka at first is that the controls take a bit to learn.  Spells consist of a combination of up to 5 of the 8 different elements, but more combinations can be made out of these combinations.  For example, if you combine water and fire, you make steam, which can then be 1 of the 5 different elements even though it is made out of 2 elements itself.

The major problem that I have with Magicka is that it is quite buggy.  One of my friends that was playing it was unable to see any text while playing the game.  At one point in the game, I alt tabbed out and wasn’t able to get back into the game for at least 1 minute, and it wasn’t during a load screen.  The game seemed to lag quite a bit when lots of spell effects were on the screen, and I can’t even imagine if we had 4 of us.  We also found that we couldn’t play with two of us on the same network from their in game menu, though we were able to ply by right clicking on the other’s Steam name and choosing Join Game.

Another thing I didn’t like is that the best way to destroy enemies seemed to be constantly firing same spell.  Beams seem to be underpowered, but if you constantly cast projectiles at enemies, they will die very quickly, though there is a high probability of you hitting a teammate, or even yourself.

All in all I would highly recommend this game.  I haven’t played all of it, but what I have played has been extremely entertaining, as long as you don’t get too mad when your buddy blows your character to bits.

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