Friday, July 27, 2012


What is Magicka?

Where did this game come from? That’s what I was wondering upon Magicka’s release. Magicka is, if anything, a controversial game that swept Steam players the world over. magicka was made by an independent developer called Paradox. And it’s an impressive little game, making about 30,000 dollars in revenue in the first twenty four hours of its release; that’s pretty good for an independent developer.

 Magicka: So Much Fun

The main selling point of the game is how much fun it is to play. Plain and simple. You play an unnamed wizard tasked with saving the world. Nothing new there. This is one of those games that has a weak story, but a gameplay that, in many ways, makes up for the lack of direction in the plot.

 Magicka Pop Culture References

Magicka is hilarious. In some ways, I feel that half of the developers’ goal was to provide some laughs for their players. And if you’re a geek about anything, whether it be pop culture movies or video games, or both, you’ll be laughing until your sides hurt. This can be good or bad. I once laughed so hard I didn’t notice an enemy killed me. Which made me laugh even more. There are so many references to movies and games your head will explode. Some of my personal favorites are a nod to Star Wars where Vader Kills Sidius, and 300 where Leonidas kicks the Persian messenger down the well, Monty Python, Star Trek, as well as a few others I refuse to give away in this review. Of course, those are just a few of the many, many jokes in the game. You know you’re in for a treat when you read “Only Goblins are so precise”. If you’re a fan of The Sims, Magicka may be the game for you. Magicka was made by the Swedish developer Paradox, as I mentioned above, and they found a way to combine what sounds like bits and pieces of Swedish, mixed with what sounds like Simlish, and mostly random gibberish. The end result? A charming, often hilarious sounding language with bits and pieces of what sounds like English words that seem out of place, bizarre, and just really funny. Which is exactly what the developers were going for.

Magicka Trailer

 Magicka Leaning Curve

Magicka has complicated controls on the surface that are actually relatively simple once players get the hang of it. Just trust me on this, at first you will struggle with the controls. Just keep your head down and power through. Before you know it you’ll be spamming your favorite spell combos like a pro.

Magicka Spells 

In Magicka there’s no leveling up or any stats to improve or check out. There’s simply spells macroed to the q w e r a s d f keys on the keyboard. Queue up the spells you want, then right click to smite the monsters and creatures standing in your way. One of the best and most addicting aspects of the game is all the opinions available to players from the very start. You’ll spend a lot of time just playing around with different spells and combinations to see what you like best. You can que up the same spell five times for a more powerful version of that spell, or mix and match spells for devastating affects against enemies and bosses. Some spells have to be learned through spell books that are found and earned throughout the story and it’s a blast when you discover an effective spell just by playing around. Once, without meaning to, I accidentally cast this shield spell that saved me against an attack that would have been my undoing.

 Magicka M60

In Magicka, players aren’t restricted to spells alone. Don’t get me wrong, spells will be your bread and butter through most of this 7-11 hour story spanning 13 levels. And most of your options are a nod towards pop culture movies and video games. Tired of using spells to kill those monsters? Grab an M60 and tear into your foes like Rambo. Snag a lightsaber, enchant  it with a spell, and go to town. Or my personal favorite, since I’m such a big Zelda fan, cut down your foes with the Master Sword.

 Magicka Co Op

Magicka has 4 player co op single player. It brings a tear to my eye. As I’ve said before, just about any game is better with cooperative gameplay. Playing and sharing the experience in person or online with friends, heck, even if you don’t know the person your playing with, makes the game all the more satisfying and engaging. And with Magicka, this is especially true as playing with multiple players adds all kinds of twists to the game. For example, players can use spells to protect each other, revive each other, and even combine spells or bolster each other’s guys with area of affect spells, some of which kills enemies, while others aid your comrades. Just don’t get carried away as Magicka, for all its fantasy and magic, does have a surprisingly realistic approach to science and physics. For example, if your friend is in a pool of water, you should avoid lightning spells. Well, unless you actually want to fry your friend alive. What happens in Magicka stays in Magicka. And if you combine certain spells, going back to my lightning and water example, it will yield explosive, yet understandable, consequences. You combine water and fire, and they’ll cancel each other out while a Goblin kills you. Combine lightning and water and you’ll fry yourself. Woops.

Magicka 4 Player Co Op


Magicka Gladiator 

Magicka also sports different arenas with different themes in which the player faces off against increasingly difficult enemies. Yup, even Magicka has Horde mode it seems. And while the arena is a blast to play in, I think what will have players coming back is the online cooperative gameplay for the main story mode.  

 Magicka Disaster 

And now the problems with Magicka. Get comfortable people. This is a long list, unfortunately. Magicka seemed like a steal on Steam. Just $10! What a bargain! Or so hundreds of people thought, including myself. But Magicka’s release on Steam can be described in two words: A Disaster. And it pains me to say that, but it’s true. Magicka was plagued with bugs and glitches. I experienced crashes to the desktop, well, we all did as I was playing with friends. Sometimes certain scripted events wouldn’t execute, or would glitch up part way though. Something simple like a character getting stuck behind something or someone and we’d have to go back to a checkpoint. Even some spells messed up our game, and it quickly became an annoying experience. I’m not joking when I tell you we began to make a list of things to avoid, a “Do no list” if you will, to keep on hand while we played. Once a friend’s guy just disappeared. The rest of us were fine and were still playing the level. But he was gone. And not because of a spell, and no, he didn’t die or anything. We were making our way down a path, he starts flickering, then just like that, he couldn’t play and we had to start again from a check point. And I’m just getting started. At times our “saves” which the game doesn’t really have as it’s all based on checkpoints, were wiped clean and we had to start all over from the very beginning. Sometimes using certain items besides spells messed up the game. Sometimes during a scripted event, nothing would happen, even if a player wasn’t stuck. Just standing there in a circle, four little nameless wizards, not knowing what to say, just looking awkwardly at the ground rather than at each other. But don’t despair. Since Magicka’s release the developers have been working on patches. I feel like there’s fixes just about every time I load up the game. And by now, most of the problems have been fixed, or at the very least, don’t occurred nearly as often as they used to. So with the dedicated developers constantly and consistently patching the game up and launching all kind of fun DLC, there is hope for this great little game.

Magicka Final Verdict

Magicka is, in my opinion, a game players will either love, or downright hate. Yes, there are problems with the game, even now. But with the new patches it is a fairly solid game. The gameplay is addicting. The game itself is one big comedy. You and your friends will play for hours laughing and enjoying the game together. But alas, I cannot deny the faults of this game. Though, unfortunate, they are well deserved. If I were to rate Magicka during the week of it’s release, it would have earned a 3 out of 10. Yikes. But with all the new patches and have fixed the game considerably, not completely but it’s getting there, I can now officially give Magicka the score it deserves. Had this game not come out to us all sickly and weak, and if there was no need for constant patching, I would have rated it a 9 out of 10. However, there is still some work to be done. And although I personally love this game, I must remain objective. There are still too many problems to grant this game a 9. Instead, I officially grant Magicka a solid 7 out of 10. But here’s the thing. Even with the problems that still exist, Magicka is such a fun and humorous experience, I still recommend it to those who are total geeks like me and would appreciate all the pop culture references and nods to great movies and games. And for those looking for something new, this is definitely a game to look into. It’s important to support new and upcoming developers and games if they have the right stuff. And Paradox is definitely one to keep an eye on.

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