Magicka – Can You Spell Anarchy?

A lot of games – too many perhaps – are bound by their insistence that giving the player the ability to flaunt their power and dominate their enemies is too easy. What fun is there in annihilating marauding goblins with an Armageddon-esque tempest of meteors, to conjure frostbitten earth barriers to deflect your foes’ onslaughts, to enchant your chosen weapon with arcane thunder…

You get where I’m going with this, right?

Magicka is a tongue-in-cheek approach to the fantasy genre with an incredible spell-casting system. Merging the different spell schools you are given, such as water, fire and arcane, you can cast an absurd amount of combinations to destroy one or more enemies, as well as look after yourself. In a spot of bother? Slap a barrier spell on. Being chased and need some breathing space? Coat your enemies in ice with an area-of-effect ice spell.

Goblins receiving a frosty reception
Goblins receiving a frosty reception

Basic, right? Well, as you start to get more adept at the system, you start to work out good combinations. If you feel like you’re taking a significant amount of fire damage, mix a bit of water (fire’s opposite school) in with your barrier spell to form a water shield, negating your enemy’s heated attacks. If you want to be a proper wizard, you’re probably going to want to fling a sizable fireball – no worries – simply mix your fire with earth to form a fiery projectile that will deal some impressive damage.

The amount of combinations is staggering. My proudest moment came about an hour ago after pausing and consulting a page of spell combinations to see what I could do to sort out a parade of goblins. Firstly, I made myself a very complicated shield to protect against water and lightning damage – I was going to need it for what I had in mind. Next, I made a simple earth based wall in front of me. Sure, the goblins could break it down relatively easily, but the intention was to box them in. Then, after figuring out how the hell you form an air rune (you mix fire and water, in case you were wondering), I merged air, lightning and arcane magicks and cast it as an area-of-effect spell, then proceeded to sit back and watch my handiwork unfold. The weather turned dark and, protected from the lightning strikes, I looked on in awe as thunder ripped down from the sky and obliterated the goblins piece by piece, chunk by chunk, until the last one’s head rolled over the wall and fell at my feet.

I almost felt like the game paused for applause.

The spells can get even crazier with the inclusion of multiplayer campaigns. Merging spell beams and effects can amplify them, meaning you could recreate the Diablo deathbeam, but with a whole lot more kick to it. Madness. By having a friend or two throwing out some healing and shield spells, you could turn people into glorified turrets, sitting and firing projectiles or beams or whatever the hell you fancy in all directions. That’s the beauty of it – the possibilities are endless.

The storytelling doesn't take itself too seriously
The storytelling doesn’t take itself too seriously

I’m yet to delve very far into the storyline at all yet, but the first ‘quest’ I encountered made me smile. The game does not conform to the gated, advancement based mantra of other fantasy RPG’s, and that becomes very clear from the get-go. Magicka is also only £1.99 (€2.49) on Steam at the moment, while the entire collection bundle is a mere £7.49 (€8.74) – that includes all of the latest DLC apart from the newly released Dungeons and Gargoyles, as well as some great looking robes for your character to wear.

The deal is on until Monday (04/11/13) 10am Pacific time. Whether you have friends to play with or not, I would seriously recommend grabbing it. Then make your friends grab it too.

Author: graemefinch

Teacher, avid Warcrafter, gifted Dungeons and Dragons character creator. Passionate about all things high fantasy and RPG.

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