Magicka - An Exciting RPG Game

02 February 2011

Introducing another new game for Diablo or RPG lovers!

Alright, what is Magicka? Magicka is a newly developed game by an indie studio of 8 people, which is out now on Steam and has sold over 30,000 copies on the first day. It is sort of diablo-like, with isometric view. It is 3D and has pretty good graphics I must say, while still maintaining the cartoony look.

I'll just give a brief explanation on the story and the gameplay before I give my own opinions on the game.

The storyline is a pretty usual storyline. It is about a bunch of wizards saving the world from an evil dark wizard that plans to kill everybody. Although it is pretty common, the adventure you go through is quite a unique experience, travelling from airships to caves to vampire castles to the underworld and so on so forth. It is a story of Dungeons and Dragons, of Orcs and Goblins, of Ghouls and Ghosts, of Kings and Quests, but most importantly of Wizards and Vamp-- er, well...a story of Wizards.

The gameplay focuses on combat and the adventure you go through. Basically, the most unique thing about this game is the combination of spells you can make. You combine elements and conjure them to create a spell. Combining different elements makes different spells for different situations, making it quite cool and realistic.

It does not rely on loot and leveling. There's no inventory system or whatsoever. You carry along whatever you have and that's it, which is kind of realistic when you come to think of it. What sort of wizard has a huge-ass inventory that can store 5 swords or something? There's no leveling as well, the damage you do depends on the elements you combine and cast. Despite being able to deal tons of damage even from the start, there are some enemies (such as spellcasters) that you may need to rethink a bit when casting spells.

Then you might be thinking, what's good of an RPG if there's no leveling and inventory? Wait, there's no choosing a class and no keeping track of mana as well! So why is it so good? Is it even a RPG? Well, you can say it's not your average RPG or hack-and-slash game. It's so good because of the unique gameplay, that requires you to think twice when casting spells. Spells don't work with all enemies, and it's so dynamic that you have to think about it for different enemies and different situations. Spells are also used to solve puzzles, which makes the story play more interesting.

Also, conjuring elements is not an easy thing to do, and that's the fun of it! You can't combine earth and lightning because they're opposites of each other. When you try to conjure lightning when you're wet, you shock yourself. The elements play a very important role in the general gameplay of the game, which by itself, makes the game pretty awesome and unique. You can also conjure spells in different ways, such as making it into a beam, a ball, a mine or even use it with your weapon. The combinations you come up with on the fly, are the weapons of choice. It lets you experiment a lot!

In the multiplayer of up to 4 people, there are two modes, Adventure and Challenge. Adventure is where you play the story with other people, and Challenge is like survival. You can combine spells with other players, such as merging two Arcane beams to create a more powerful beam. Beware though, merging beams of the opposite element can create an explosion that may kill you, but if used properly, can be a deadly weapon.

What I Liked About This Game
Epic friendly-fire fun.
There's no discrimination when it comes to hitting your friends or enemies here. If you deal 1500 damage with a single arcane fireball to an enemy, you will deal the same to your friend, which will be instant death. When you have 4 people playing in multiplayer, basically you're gonna kill each other more often than being killed by the enemy. But fear not, there's always the Revive spell which you're going to use extremely often!

2. Hundreds or thousands of element combinations.
Simply take a look at the combinations you can do with fire alone... I made the names up myself by the way, since there's no name for spells you conjure. I just give it a name that looks like what it is.
Fire + Water = Steam (new element)
Fire + Earth = Fireball / Line of Fire / Fiery Earthquake
Fire + Arcane = Firebeam / Explosion / Fire Sith Epic Darth Vader Lightsaber
Fire + Lightning = Fiery Lightning
Fire + Shield = Firewall

The combinations are endless and these are only 2 element combinations. You can combine up to 5 elements at one go. You can also conjure it in different ways!

3. Lots of comedy and funny references.
Playing this game reminds you of many other games or movies, such as Star Wars, Star Trek, 300 (SPARTA!) and so on. The game has quite some humour which is nice, and makes you want to play the story over and over again.

4. Smart use of elements.
When you're wet, you can't cast lightning or you might die. So, you gotta dry yourself with fire. If you use too much fire, you'll light yourself and fire, which you can extinguish with water or cold. The thing is, in this game, most of the time you'll be watching out for these. Enemy spellcasters are smart and they can use spells like Rain. When I played it the first time, I totally forgot that the Rain made me wet and I ended up killing myself by repeatedly casting lightning.

It also applies to enemies, such as when you use water on your enemies to make them wet, lightning deals double damage. If you use a fire spell, most likely your enemies are going to get dry and not take too much damage from the fire. If you use cold, you will freeze your enemies into an ice block, so that they can't move at all, but they will not take damage from melee attacks (does not apply to an epic earth spell though)...if your enemies are not wet and you use cold, they'll simply slow down instead of freezing into ice. This is a very smart and unique way of implementing elements, which the game is famous for.

Another example is about trolls. Trolls have high regeneration rates. However, you can use fire to burn them, cancelling out their regeneration. This is a smart idea! Also, yetis can grab you and kill you instantly. You can actually set yourself on fire to prevent them from grabbing you! There is so much to see and experiment with the elements that it fills you with excitement.

What I Disliked About This Game
Bugs and Crashes
The game is constantly being updated so far, and it's good to see it happening. The earlier versions have bugs such as cutscene lockups and sudden deaths. Sometimes the game also crashes from time to time at certain levels. However, the new update seems to have fixed this problem, and true enough, I don't experience the crashes anymore. Bugs may still appear here and there, but they'll be fixed soon. Despite the bugs, many people support this game because it is just pure fun.

2. Steam
To play online, you need Steam. And Steam sucks, in my opinion...some people may disagree, but there are some who agree as well. In Malaysia, we have problems because of our ISP, which somehow doesn't let us connect to Steam. I will post up a guide for connecting to Steam in future.

I posted a guide on how to play Magicka online. It includes the Steam problem. It shows you how to play it online through Tunngle. You can view it here.

What Convinced Me of This Game
I knew about Magicka when I came across this video, "WTF is Magicka?" by TotalBiscuit. I immediately knew that I would need this game after I watched the video on YouTube. I'll embed it here for you to see how amazing it is.