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Magicka (PC) artwork

Magicka (PC) review


"The sexiest thing to come from Sweden since Ingrid Bergman."



And remember the safety word is 'Banana'.

Magicka hails to us from the frozen lands of the north. And it would seem that the lack of sunlight and abundance of the internet and pop-culture has generated an interesting sense of humor in the developers, which has, in turn, made it into their game, much to this reviewer's pleasure. The game has a simple style to it, between the pseudo-Swedish language of the land and the light-hearted dialogue found throughout, intermixed with pop-culture and internet memes, you'll be amused at the multiple references made both covertly and overtly during the game. I'll refrain from even hinting at spoiling them for you, but the humor is rich, which helps you not throw your mouse in frustration after you have killed yourself for the twentieth time.

This is not to say that Magicka is without its fair share of bugs. The developers worked hard since release, however, and rekeased daily patches until the game had become stable. And to thank the players for their patience, added a new starting robe, staff and sword to poke fun at themselves.

Magicka, in a nutshell, is a three-quarters-view dungeon-crawler action-game, only instead of running around bashing everything, you instead attempt to combine the eight available elements into powerful (read: suicidal, dangerous, completely unstable) magicks, in order to thwart your foes. The combinations of the elements and the subsequent, unforeseen and tragic (read: awesome) consequences form the meat of the game. The chances of you killing yourself in a explosive fashion are high, but the many different ways you can approach a situation and use your understanding of the interactions between the elements brings you back for more. And then you add in friends.

The element combinations are what make the game. You can use purely one element, with all 5 of your slots filled and make a powerful fire blast or water gush, or combine lightning with frost and water to make electrified icicles, or combine fire and water to make steam which coupled with an arcane beam wrapped in electricity causes an unholy amount of constant damage, which then causes your enemies to explode in amazing fashion. However, there are opposites, and they do not attract, crossing two beams with opposite effects can cause a self-mutilating explosion, or even attempting to channel electricity while your robes are soaked will quickly learn you otherwise.

As you progress in the game you learn spells, make a certain combination of elements, press spacebar, and voila. Spells tend to come in handy (haste, revive) or are too powerful (not possible) and wreck the surroundings (meteor shower, thunderstorm) and your teammates. Luckily for you the game allows you a quick reference of your spells, and in short order you too can be casting thunderbolts on your compadres.

Magicka builds on itself. The game's story isn't 'gripping' by any means, but it is fun and culturally relevant, which lightens your spirits when you die repeatedly. However, the element system and the spell combinations that it allows keeps you there, looking for new ways to try to remove your foes (frozen iceball smash or water blast off cliff?). With these alone the singleplayer is worthwhile, however, then you add friends to the mix and things get truly hectic. This game was designed to be played with buddies, preferably on voice comms so you can laugh together as things go horribly wrong. But with friends, the humorous story and the draw of the element combinations grows exponentially, and will keep you coming back for more.

Rating: 9/10

BLAH_Or_blah's avatar
Community review by BLAH_Or_blah (March 06, 2011)

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fleinn posted March 06, 2011:

..kind of get the impression that the game is seriously awesome. And now I want to play it, even though I don't really understand why :D

Not sure I can come up with a good critique, though. But.. couple of things:
-I think it's "safe word".
-"(...) humor in the developers[..direly affected the humour of the developers..?],[<- a period there..?] which has, in turn, [one of the few times I'm ever going to suggest an extra sentence doesn't sound right :p] made it[transferred to?] into their game, much to this reviewer's pleasure. The game [the presentation, the game flow?] has a simple style to it, between the pseudo-Swedish language of the land and the light-hearted dialogue found throughout, intermixed with pop-culture and internet memes, you'll be amused at the multiple references made both covertly and overtly during the game[shorter sentence? You'll be amused-> the references to.. will amuse you..?]"

...it's only that paragraph that seems off to me, really. Maybe something more on the way the game is played would be an idea - just enough to make it obvious what the magick mixing is about.
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BLAH_Or_blah posted March 07, 2011:

tbh that was the only paragraph I was having difficulty conveying. How do you tell someone something is funny without either A: giving away the punchlines or B: just going "seriously, it's funny, trust me"

v0v blame emp :P

Also the safe word quote is direct from the game, whether that's a misquote of Family Guy I dunno.
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Halon posted March 07, 2011:

I played the demo and was unimpressed, though everyone who actually played it loves it. All my friends who played it finished it already, so there goes my chance at multiplayer. I'll probably play it eventually.
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JoeTheDestroyer posted March 08, 2011:

Very effective, short review! I will say a few things:

The developers worked hard since release, however, and rekeased daily patches

Did you mean "released"?

only instead of running around bashing everything, you instead attempt to combine

Might be more effective with only one "instead".

or even attempting to channel electricity while your robes are soaked will quickly learn you otherwise

I'm not sure if it was for effect, but I think "learn" might be "teach".

Again, very effective review! I still have this one my wishlist on Steam, but until I finish a few more games and obtain some more cash, it's not likely that I'll get it in the future.
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EmP posted March 08, 2011:

Ah, the old 'blame EmP' routine. Still in fashion after all these years.

Good review, Blah.
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CoarseDragon posted March 08, 2011:

How do you tell someone something is funny without either A: giving away the punchlines or B: just going "seriously, it's funny, trust me"

The game encourages you to have fun with spells but also cautions about the dangers of spell use. For example you can dry yourself with the fire spell but if you are not wet then using fire on yourself is a bad idea. We could probably all guess that but the game has a unique, and funny, way of telling you about that.
------------------------
Something like that might work.
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CoarseDragon posted March 16, 2011:

You need to fix this sentence.

The developers worked hard since release, however, and rekeased released daily patches until the game had become stable..

The chances of you killing yourself in a an explosive fashion are high

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