Blurb wrote:Magicka is a satirical action-adventure game set in a rich fantasy world based on Norse mythology. The player assumes the role of a wizard from a sacred order tasked with stopping an evil sorcerer who has thrown the world into turmoil, his foul creations besieging the forces of good.
Players will be able to combine the elements to cast spells, wreaking havoc and devastation on the minions of darkness. They will also be able to team up with friends and fight their way through the campaign, or test their skills in the magickal arts through other challenging modes.
Magicka was released on Steam yesterday and is alleged to be full of bugs. In my experience, the single player mode is perfectly playable but could use a little tidying up. Arrowhead have claimed that they'll be releasing patches 'every 24 hours' and I've already received one, so that's positive.
The game itself is action-oriented and I'd call it hack'n'slash if it weren't for all the magic. Each of up to four players plays co-operatively as a little cartoonish mage in a robe, wielding eight basic elements that can be combined to create a few other elements and a much greater number of spells. It's the spell system that really sells the game. Each cast spell can be made up from up to five elements then cast out, cast on oneself, cast as an area effect around the mage, transferred to ones' weapon and used as part of an attack or, in a small number of specific cases, used to cast a specific pre-made spell such as Haste. The results are creative, varied and often surprising. Fire alone will spit forth a small cone of fire. Earth alone will launch a small rock projectile. Fire & Earth combined will launch a fireball. Perhaps most amusing of all, it's quite easy to mess up and kill yourself - not because some combinations are implicitly bad, but because of the circumstances under which they're cast. While your character is wet, attempting to combine lightning will zap you; using fire on yourself will dry you off; using cold on yourself will freeze you.
The spell components aren't necessarily balanced for the situations you'll find yourself in and I tend to use some far more often than others, but they each provide different effects that are useful in almost all battles, to varying degrees. Much of the fun comes from trying out new combinations and it's always enjoyable to find a new mechanism for keeping yourself alive longer than your enemies. Some druids I fought kept making it rain so I couldn't set fire to their treant creatures, but the game allowed me to counter this with a dispel-like effect... or by killing the druids first.
This isn't an RPG in the traditional sense; the game is made up of linear levels and while you can find new staves to cast with, new weapons to fight with and new spells for the spellbook, further increasing the possibilities for combos, there's no other inventory or form of character progression. Still, the storyline is fun and easy, albeit a little heavy on the popular culture quotes, and it looks as though it'll offer good playtime and replayability for the £7.99 I spent.