Magicka is an action-adventure game developed by Arrowhead studios and published by Paradox Interactive. Based on Norse Mythology, the player must stop the evil dark sorcerer that has thrown the world into turmoil. If you're thinking something along the lines of Diablo and Torchlight then you are sadly mistaken as Magicka takes it to another level or should I say a different style as players are assigned different types elements that allows them to cast different types of spells i.e. lightning element will conjure lightning strikes that electrocute your foes. In addition to that you can combine the different types of elements to produce even more devastating and awesome looking spells destroying pretty much everything in its path while producing high damage numbers. And we all love high output damage so let's check out what Magicka has in store for us.
As I go through the tutorial part of Magicka I noticed one thing and that is how bad the pathing is and you literally have to position your mouse close to your character in order to make it go to where you want it. If there's a table right in front of you and you click on a spot after the table then your character will go towards the table and try to force its way to the spot you where you want your character to go. In addition to that you have to constantly hold your mouse button to move which might shorten to life of your mouse. I think Arrowhead should have just made it so that you only need to click on a spot to make your character move.
Once I got used to the bad pathing and movement style my attention was now focused on combining different types of elements. At first I thought there was only 8 elements that are available to you until I learned the Meteor Shower spell which consist of Fire, Lightning and some white circle and then Lightning again and finally Fire. The tutorial never mentioned that there were two additional sub-elements available for you. And the white circle is actually the Steam sub-element. Common sense will tell you that to create steam you need some fire and water. If only the Magicka in-game page explains to you how the spells are made by naming the elements and if there's some sub-elements...showing you how you can make them.
I am now a full pledge mage at this point and I am killing everyone I see including the NPC and I find this annoying because you don't get any side-effects when you kill them i.e. the game won't end because you killed too many NPCs. But I guess it's fine and I don't really mind it at this point because I am in super awesome wizard mode right now. After your killing sprees it will start to get boring because you can 'guess' element/sub-element combos meaning at the beginning you will know the strongest spells and you'll pretty much decimate everything in your path. Acquiring the books simply lets you recall them spell if you forget them but there's no stopping you from casting them even if you have no idea what the spell's name is. And just like how you can kill the NPCs without any repercussions being able to cast over 9000 spells just takes away the fun at some point.
This is where Magicka is supposed to shine and it's true...if it works all the time. I mean don't get me wrong, playing with three of your friends could give you such a happy experience that you just want to play this game over and over again. Too bad it Magicka's multiplayer mode doesn't work all the time. The first problem that I encountered is that you can not move on to the next map if your friend wants to stay on a certain map. Now this made sound easy to fix since you'll probably think to just tell you friend over VOIP to move his ass right? But what if you're playing with three random players and one decides to be a douche bag? There's just no way to punish him and the most likely move for you is to just leave the current game and just join another one or create one yourself.
Expect to see some griefers too that will just kill you because well...they can (the newbies can't kill me now though as I'll kill them first before they can kill me). So the adventure mode for multiplayer pretty much means play paranoid and wait for your teammate to betray you! I just wish that you can ignore a player forever so you don't have to play with them or they can't join a game that you made.
There's also the multiplayer userinterface itself that's buggy as hell. Non-passworded games asks you for a password and the onloy way of solving this bug is to restart the game. Restarting the game doesn't really guarantee that the bug is fixed. It's just that it might get fixed when you restart your client.
Honestly, I wouldn't recommend Magicka's multiplayer mode right now because you'll just get frustrated when problems arise as there's really no easy fix for them. Don't worry though, Arrowhead is working around the clock to fix the issues.
Magicka's innovative and dynamic spell casting sets it apart from other games in its genre and I wouldn't be surprised if other game developers adapt this type of spell casting. It's not 'dumb down' like other games where you just hit one button to cast a spell that will destroy a whole city. That alone made me play this game non stop for a couple of days until I got bogged down by the buggy multiplayer. Sure, there's a Challenge mode where the game just spawns monsters until you can no longer keep up with it and trust me...you won't at a certain point and then you'll be telling yourself Hey! Why dont' I do this in multiplayer with my ! and then all hell breaks lose as random teammates will make you literally quit the game. Though this occurrences are rare, just a couple of games with them in it is enough for you to take a breather.
Graphics - The environment looks nice and my god...the spell effects really killed it! Now add three more players to play with you and it just gets better. It's all about the spell effects and the 3-4 digit damage numbers, Ignore everything else.
Sound - I wish there's an option to turn off the NPC dialogues because frankly it's just a lot of mumble.
Gameplay - I'd recommend this game to anyone especially if you want to try the new game mechanics. I just have to remind you that once once you're out of singleplayer you're going to have to deal with it until Arrowhead fixes the multiplayer issues which hopefully is 'soon' or else they'll be destroying such a fantastic game.
A review copy was provided by gamersgate.com.