Magicka Review – Fireballs, Frostbite, and Friendly Fire
What is Magicka? Is it a satire of the Fantasy setting? A collection of numerous Easter eggs and nods toward Movies and other Video Games? Or is it an intense Action Game, best played with friends? It is most certainly all of the above. It has fun, it has wit, and it has challenge. You can play it alone, or with friends. You can download bonus content which will allow you to use more characters, and host more varied games. If you do not want to spend more money than you wish, you can always join games hosted by players with the bonus content, and then you can use all manner of cool gear! Aside from this fact, how good, or bad, is Magicka?
Magicka Review – Fireballs, Frostbite, and Friendly Fire
When I decided to play Magicka I thought I knew everything about it. It was an Isometric view Action game where you walked around with a Wizard and cast different spells, depending on the elements you used. That does sum up the game in Raw form, but all the “extra” content within grabs you by the throat and pulls you in (or it’s the Trolls, hard to tell at times). The controls are surprisingly easy. You move your character around using your mouse, you cast spells with the right mouse button, scroll button to cast a spell on yourself, left click to pick up things, interact or move. You use the keyboard in order to use your melee/ranged weapon, choose a combination of elements for your spells, or cast a Magicka, once you have the correct elements.
Everything is under your fingers. Once you learn your preferred spell combos you will have no problem typing them out with your left hand while you dodge enemies with your right. When you play the Main Campaign you will have the opportunity to face steadily more demanding opponents, learn news spells and master the game’s controls. The story in the main campaign is silly, just like the entire game. A wizard is enslaved, because he wanted to unite the world with his works, but most of the other wizards did not like the idea. Jump ahead and there is a threat looming over the world and the wizard(s) are sent to save the day! With the assistance of Vlad (who is not a Vampire) you will pass through many strange lands, meet many interesting people, and most likely end up killing them.
While you travel through the world you will find numerous jokes, cameos, and trivia items littered about. They all make the game feel only sillier, when you obtain the sword from Highlander, an Admiral accompanying you yells “It’s a Trap!” or you have to use a spell called “Crash to Desktop”. If you hoped for a dark and gritty Fantasy setting, you missed completely.
Despite its light hearted nature Magicka is not an easy game. You need a bit of practice with the different spells and combinations, memorize some of the important Magickas and get a bit of practice using the different weapons you can find. This also includes remembering that Water and Electricity do not mix (I electrocuted myself a number of times, by mistake). Once you complete the Campaign, or feel that you want to try something different you have a Versus and Challenge Mode. Challenge maps are not only “Wave” maps, but in the case of the Magicka: Vietnam DLC also “missions”. Depending on the Challenge map you pick the enemies you face will differ. Sometimes you could end up with a Map which unlocks new elements as you complete waves.
Versus is exactly what it sounds like. You fight each other, or in teams. There are a few game modes in Versus to choose from, so if you ever wanted to legitimately turn your friends into ice cubes, now is your chance!
Going back to what I said at the beginning. You do not need all the DLCs in order to enjoy the game with others. Additional content that you buy and download offers you the opportunity to have more access to different maps, weapons, spells and robes. It is not necessary in order to enjoy the game, but some of the content you get with the Collection pack alone should suffice your temporary hunger for a new hat.
Some of the bonus content does feel like it throws balance off. The one suit which suspiciously looks like Space Marine armor from Warhammer 40k makes you very tough against ordinary attacks, but you cannot be healed by magic (the suit heals you on its own) and electricity will turn you into a light bulb. As such, there is no “Invincible” combination. As you meet new foes, or your friends/enemies change their spells so too you will have to adapt. The only spell which does tend to make life too easy is Vortex, and I have seen it turn boss fights into cake walks.
The only downside of Magicka is that for some reason High-End computers can face problems with running it properly. I have had problems of my own which were quickly solved. There are plenty of good solutions available on the forums, depending on the graphics card you are using. Sniff around and you will find a solution.
Another “must” for Magicka is to play in a group. Not only will life be easier for you, but you could have a bucket of fun. During some games my group died to Vortex incidents, or self-combustion, when fighting groups of enemies, but nobody was ever angry, we only laughed and tried again. Sometimes there would be some backstabbing, such as unfreezing the ice from under another player’s feet, resulting in sinking, or reviving a dead player back into a ready Vortex. It is all harmless fun though. If you take the game too seriously you could end up hating it, especially with other players goofing about.
Magicka is a great game for parties. Invite a group of friends, and fool around in the campaign, challenge or versus maps. The game is both fun and challenging, with numerous spell combinations available, together with a rich choice of Magickas. There might be some running issues, but a lot of the problems people had were solved with a quick search. So, pull up your hoods and grab your staves. It is time to head to the World of Magicka! (And most likely die horribly, in a freak magic accident)
Rating: 9/10 Pros: Fun
Co-op up to 4 Players
Plenty of DLCs to choose from (if you want to)
Cons: Hardware Problems are present in some cases
There might be Bugs
Game producer's website: Arrowhead Studios Official website: Magicka Game available at: GamersGate
Alex “WriterX” Bielski