The very concept of Magicka excites the inner geek in me. I haven’t been this enthusiastic about the elements of nature since I was 10 years old and playing with my collection of Battle Beasts. Magicka at its core is very simple - play as a wizard with eight elements at your disposal on a quest to save the kingdom. But its oh so much more than this, because combining and weaving these elements into incredible spells is what makes Magicka truly special.
Magicka’s story is like an homage to geek culture - with references to Monty Python, Star Wars, Star Trek and many other movies you’ll be chuckling your way through the entire game. Magicka isn’t just hilarious for its ability to lampoon culture, its goofy sounding made-up language, which seems to be a cross between the Swedish Chef and the Sims, will have you laughing as well. But these planned laughs are nothing compared to the sheer ridiculous nature of actually playing and creating your own - which 9 times out of 10 - involves killing a teammate in some glorious accidental fashion.
It’s this decision, one we questioned in our interview, to include team damage that becomes so very clear once you play the game. It’s not just because it’s funny to kill a friend when you accidentally suck him into a vortex that team damage is essential, it’s because of the experimentation that can occur to create new spells and perform new feats.
You have eight elements at your disposal: Fire, Water, Cold, Shield, Arcane, Life, Earth and Lightning. You can combine elements to form new elements as well - for instance Fire and Water to create Steam - these sub elements become crucial later on for some of the bigger spells. There’s also a few ways to cast spells. You can simply press fire and hit the right mouse button to cast a flame, or you can shift click to cast flame on your sword and then attack with a fire sword, and finally you can shift right click to cast explode in flames around you. The spell’s elements can be stacked up to five deep, with the more you add to your spell, the stronger it gets.
The beauty of the game though comes with combining these spells - combine Ice and Arcane and you can have a beam that freezes enemies. Combine Fire and Earth and get a fire ball. These are just the simple combinations thought and over the course of the game you’ll pick up spell books which provide recipes for more advanced spells like Thunderstorm, Haste, and even ones that alter time.
All of these spells effects look really great too - from the rain effects to lightning, to flaming bad guys and even the frozen enemies. It’s incredibly easy to tell what’s going on - and the gore system is so over the top it’s laughable. Pumping an arcane beam into a troll until he bloats up and explodes into chunky pieces never gets old.