I have been wanting to review Magicka for a couple of weeks now, but was determined to not post a full review before I actually played the Multiplayer mode.
Now that I have, I really need to clearly recommend this game to all of my followers and visitors!
Okay, what is Magicka about?
Basically, its an adventure game.
You are a wizard who has to travel from your academy to the end of the world and stop the evil mage Grimnir who seems to wreak havoc all over the world. You're being accompanied by Vlad - who is by no means a vampire!
The normal 'save the world'-scenario.
If it weren't for the myriads of jokes, references and gags all over the game.
From references to Star Wars, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, Diablo or simple internet memes, this game will make you laugh.
The gameplay is where this indie title shines
You're a wizard with sword and staff and control over the 8 elementary spells:
Water, Life, Shield, Frost, Lightning, Arcane, Earth and Fire.
All these spells can be stacked and combined in tons of different ways.
By combining Lightning and Arcane, for example, you'll get a Lightning Beam that deals massive damage and might shatter protection fairly easy.
Earth and Fire create a fireball, Water and Fire can create Steam etc.
Throughout the game you'll find tomes that teach you 'Magicks', mighty spells that you can perform by combining various spells.
These Magicks can ever devastate your opponents or save your lives.
Haste is gonna be the first spell you'll learn, but one day you might even summon Death himself or revive your friends.
Magicka is one of the best games for LAN parties or similar.
Playing with your friends in up to 4 player coop adventure or challenge modes can be infinitely funny and keep you hooked for hours.
The difficulty is steep towards the second half of the game, and playing with friends really is recommended.
The game does not really have RPG elements, although it might look like it.
You may find different weapons and staffs, but in the end, they won't stay with you forever (reads: until you die and don't pick them up again).
The game will hook you with its sheer randomness and the fun it is to explore and try different spells.
Now I should mention some downsides:
The game has been out since late January, so hardly a month. When it was released, it was kinda unstable and has seen about a dozen patches til present day.
This, though, is considered a good thing by most, because it shows that the developers care and are improving the game.
I for one NEVER had a crash in singleplayer. Never.
The game runs stable for me, and even in multiplayer, where people complain the most, I only had two crashes when playing with Alkaid.
These crashes, however, only occured when we were in battle and one of us accidentally got thrown towards the exit of the area, like a cave in chapter 2 or the hall in Havindr. As I see it, the game could simply not let go of the fight and could not process the area change and thus shut down.
The problems are being addressed as I type, though, so the game will probably get rid of these glitches.
Another thing that annoys people is that Hosting games is not working as it should.
If the host's internet connection is too slow, especially the upload speed, the game will have sync issues and might disconnect randomly.
This, however, did never happen in my case, but then again I had 250kb/s upload and now even ~730kb/s. No sync issues or disconnects ever.
Fact is, that the packages that are being sent by the host aren't really optimized and thus take a lot of bandwidth. This again is being looked into and I might even bet that we'll see improvements before February ends.
An annoyance in both Single- and Multiplayer modes is that the Adventure mode has hardly any checkpoints, and the game generally only saves when you complete a chapter.
A chapter usually is about 30 minutes long, but can be beaten in mere 10 if you rush through them (and succeed taking on the bosses). If you want to explore, it might even be an hour before you finish them, though.
This is where I have seen a lot of people screw up.
Magicka is not a typical RPG or uses WASD-controls at all.
You move by left-clicking, cast by right-clicking (or holding) and use the 3rd mouse button (wheel) to cast spells on yourself.
By holding [SHIFT] you attack with your weapon or use area spells by right-clicking.
Magicks get performed by pushing [SPACE] and the elements themselves get channeled by using the QWERASDF-Buttons.
This really requires players to think about their actions and get used to spells.
It's not hard to get into the game, though. There's a good tutorial and the elements are also shown in the bottom left corner of the screen.
Magicks can be scrolled through and the combinations show up where your channeled elements normally do - below your character.
But honestly, it is a hell lot of fun dying in extremely spectacular ways,
especially when a friend did it to you (or better: you killed your friends).
I laughed so hard when Alkaid tried to summon the Phoenix and her robes caught fire, which resulted in her completely losing control over her mage's movements - he just randomly ran around suffering heavy damage until I life-water-beamed him!
If I would have been dead when she summoned the big bird, though, I would have been revived as a result.
I've been playing Magicka for about 15 hours since I got it, and I loved all of it.
Still have not completed the Adventure mode, but Alkaid really helped me enjoy the Arena Challenges. Surviving 20 waves of enemies was fun in Warcraft 3 already, but in Magicka, it really is Madness.
This Game is cheap, entertaining and overly enjoyable.
For mere 10 bucks ($/€) you can buy it via various online stores and due to the massive success of the digital version it is about to hit the retail shelves all over the world.
Arrowhead really has done a great job with Magicka, and aside from the obvious stuff, they let you listen to and even download the Soundtrack for free on the official Magicka website. The great concept arts that are shown on the game's loading screens and the Magicks-list are online as well.
Should you buy it?
Definitely, yes. If you're looking for a good game and yet don't want to pay a lot of money, go for Magicka. Even if you're still unsure about the bugs people mention all the time, wait a a month and get it later on - it will improve even further.
I haven't had that much fun with a game in months, and especially not THIS type of fun.
Go, try the demo, buy the game, support great devoted developers and laugh yourself into oblivion!