Review Solstice: Magicka

Magicka is an isometric action game featuring a magic system that utilizes the combination of elements and let’s you choose how you use the result.

Magicka is definitely a unique game – its magic system stands on its own head and the campaigns have a lot of comedy. By far the most stand out feature of the game is the online multi-player.

Meteors can hit allies.

Unlike a lot of other chaotic multi-player titles Magicka lets you hit absolutely any character with your spells, even your allies. Its addition of friendly fire is absolutely genius – I can’t imagine many other online features that would make me have this much fun in a game. Screwing up your spell combinations and using meteor shower (seen above) instead of a fire-boulder is one of many things that will murder you and your entire team.

There is some obvious imbalance in the systems of the game but there’s no doubt that finding those imbalances is so much of what makes this game a blast. The combinations on their own are extremely intuitive once you’re familiar with the controls and you’ll start thinking of spells before discovering them. It’s a pretty unique game in the way that even after a few dozen hours of play time I’m still figuring out some new tricks.

The developers (Paradox Interactive) are also still adding new DLC (downloadable content) packs on a semi-regular basis and supporting the community. Keeping up with their audience has gone an extremely long way for them, so much that people like me are still giving it play time almost a few years after release.

Magicka Vietnam artwork

Magicka Vietnam artwork

Some DLC packs feature more content and appeal to them than others, but I would think they’re all worth their price. The game also goes on sale a few times a year so picking up the whole pack can cost you less than $10 if you time it right.

The Magicka Vietnam pack for example unlocks the use of a machine gun and other items to equip in the attached campaign, as well as in any other campaign. The DLC ‘The Stars are Left’ emulates a murder-mystery campaign based around the ‘maddening’ Cthulu mythos. If you’re not familiar with Cthulu read more up on it here.

Freezing ice lets you walk/slide over it.

Small features of the game that make it so immersing include, as seen above, freezing water to walk across it. So many of these little features flood the game and make it a truly amazing game to explore. Magicka is a great example of a linear game that features so much incentive to discover.

There are also so many social references in this game that you won’t get any more than an hour into the game without recognizing something they throw in your face. Finding a ‘Sword of Masters‘ (Zelda reference) or hearing someone yell “Khaaaaaaaan!” doesn’t seem to get old very quickly, and thank god.

You can burn down villages if you feel like it. You could also, you know, not be evil.

Not only is this game a blast to play, usually with friends, but it’s also got an amazing community.

I was introduced to the game myself by TotalBiscuit (the Cynical Brit) and his series of play through videos along side the Yogscast on Youtube. Their videos are absolutely hysterical and there’s a good chance you’ll desire a chance to play this game after watching them. Check it out below.

As it stands this has been one of my favorite games of the last year and I strongly suggest it to anyone looking for a co-operative game to play. Although it’s less invigorating and balanced there’s also battle arenas to jump into and a lot of other small DLC packs that include new robes/armor and weapons to use. The only other game in recent memory to have as many DLC packs as Magicka must be Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War 2. Even with that, Magicka has a DLC that lets you dress up as a Space Marine (characters in Warhammer) so I’m going to say that it still wins.

The game features many recognizable references – this one being Stonehenge.

I need to stop right now because I could write another 1,000 words on this game. Combinations of shields and other elements to make mines can cause some hilarity, so can conjuring up a bolt of lightning to hit a random target within vision. I will suggest this game to practically anybody, but the ones to get the most out of it are anyone who

Magicka is currently on sale for $2.50 as a stand-alone but can also come with a grouping of DLC packs for $7.50, both on Steam here.

The developers had a thing for sausages. They're in every loading screen.

The developers had a thing for sausages. They’re in every loading screen.

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