Ever felt the need to be a magical wizard with control over the elements? The need to engage in wanton destruction with the innate magical abilities you’ve gotten? The need to mix the natural elements and let loose on everyone you see? The need to ditch magic, grab an M60 and just massacre gobbos left and right? Well, my friend, whether you’ve always wanted to do that, or just had your interest piqued, a hidden gem from the early part of this decade is the best way to engage in a magical slaughterfest fantasy. Wait. You don’t want to do this alone? You want to go on a goblin killing spree with your friends? Well, look no further than MAGICKA, developed by Arrowhead Game Studios and published by Paradox Interactive.
NOT AN RPG
Magicka is not an RPG. It’s a linear action…. umm…game. I honestly can’t find other genres to define Magicka. It’s a parody of the RPG genre and a wonderful one at that. You start off with a sword and a magical staff, which are used in tandem. The staff is used to conjure elements to cast, which can be either on your character, in an AOE, as a beam, blast or jet, or applied to your weapon giving you an elemental sword. There is an overarching story, but it’s totally optional to care about it. I strongly suggest you do check it out, however, because it’s incredibly funny. There are a lot of pop culture references and hilarious moments. The writing is witty, and the pseudo-Swedish language used in the game is the cherry on top. The characters that appear in the story are fleshed out just the right amount and pop in and out of the gameplay loop. The DLC for this game also adds a ton of varied missions. There’s one particular mission I really enjoyed, set during the Vietnam war. You get to use Napalm. Need I say more?
Spells? But that’s not easy
Conjuring spells in this game can be difficult at first, with the clunky controls. A controller will make your life much easier, but the first 10 minutes of the game can be very frustrating. Magic in this game essentially works through conjuring up to 5 elements out of the available ones. You have Lightning, Water, Fire, Cold, Earth, Barrier, Life and Death. Casting opposite elements cancels them out (like, say fire and cold or life and death). Now whether you’re going to cast a beam or a blast depends on what elements you’ve chosen. For example, Life or Death cause beams, Earth causes a blast, no matter what the other elements in the queue are. You can also mix fire and water to create steam, and water and cold to create ice. Finding out various hard-hitting combos is part of the fun of this game.
Apart from the regular elemental mix-and-match spells, there are also special “magicks” that you can learn by reading books. These are specific combinations that lead to totally different effects. Examples of these are Revive and Lightning Bolt. These add a whole new dimension to the gameplay and make it interesting, especially because they are very powerful in the right situation and can change the way a battle progresses.
If you’re worried whether you’ll be able to grasp these concepts, don’t. The game has a very engaging tutorial level, that manages to be just as hilarious as the rest of the game.
PRETTY FIRE LIGHTNING
The graphics and models in this game are pretty good by 2011 standards. Hell, they’re pretty good even by 2019 standards. The game looks crisp, and the spells have a sharp feel about them. Even wild jets of fire are believable looking. The cartoony look of the game helps it even more, since these kinds of graphics age really well. Kudos to the art design team. Especially for making scorch marks when I struck the ground with a lightning bolt, that actually stayed on the ground. These small touches show that a lot of passion went into this game
Pleasing on the Ears?
The soundtrack of this game is a treat. So is the rest of the sound design. Spells sound like they should, lightning crackles, stones cause the ground to crack and water splashes around. The music is varied and fun to listen to. It makes the game world feel organic and natural. I really don’t have much else to say about the audio. It’s excellent.
Damned creepy crawlies
Yes, the game has bugs. Not game breaking in any sense, but they’re mildly annoying. It’s sad that the game isn’t fully polished almost 7 years after launch, but such is life. There are times when saves have been corrupted requiring a restart, or when weapons failed to work. Hell, a few times the game crashed for no apparent reason in the middle of the game. Thankfully, the checkpoints were on point, and not a lot of replaying was required.
If you’re in between different games, or playthroughs of Skyrim and have a few hours to spare with your sibling and/or online friends, get em together and play Magicka. It’s an interesting concept for a game that’s executed very well, and there are hours of fun to be had. I would suggest you play co-operatively, for maximum goblin burning fun.