Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Magicka: The Stars are Left

I bought Magicka after watching Total Biscuit's review of it some time ago, I think I paid $5 for it.

Though I apparently only have about 36 hours of gameplay, I'd have to say it was a great game.  I was very eager to buy expansions for it and blow up yet more bad guys with my fatality-prone wizard.  The first couple of expansions, however, were not real campaigns for the game, they were multi-player maps.  They had no checkpoints so you had to clear the entire thing without dying to make it to the end if you played it as a single player.  This put me off a bit, so I stopped paying attention to the new releases.

My desire to acquire cards brought me back, and I purchased a real campaign expansion for the game called "The Stars are Left" where the world comes under siege by C'thulu cultists and you have to go to R'lyeh to defeat him.  Why play an old game when I can play a new one?

Well the game is certainly as fun as ever.  You move around my left clicking and then use combinations of keys and clicks to fire off all kinds of spells at your opponents.  Most of your spells are made by combining up to five of the eight elements, and then either right-clicking to cast the spell, shift-right clicking to cast it in an area around you, shift-left clicking to enchant your sword with it, or centre-clicking to cast it targeting yourself.  Since you can use the same element more than once and since there are two other elements you can create by combining the base elements, I'm quite confident that there are tens of thousands of ways to cast spells, though many would be nearly identical to one another.

The controls can be mildly awkward at times, and I had to train myself out of certain habits to avoid killing myself.  Ultimately success is based heavily on fast thinking and fast hands, just about the speed I can manage.

The Stars are Left is much harder than the original campaign.  Enemies attack in large waves right from the beginning and the first boss is very hard.  He would be easy if you were playing multi-player, but I am not.

And that's probably Magicka's greatest weakness.  Playing multi-player is so much easier than single-player and the game does nothing I'm aware of to compensate.  With one player to distract while the other kills, and with a player to revive you after your mistakes, there is almost no way lose other than incompetence or intentional murder by your fellow players.  When you first start incompetence will abound and you'll be killing yourself all the time, but it doesn't take a lot to get the point that you can breeze through the original campaign

The Stars are Left does a lot to address this problem by putting in puzzles with mirrors and moving platforms.  It's a little frustrating at times because they gave a particular kind of monster far to many hit points and your wizard improve does not over the course of the game.

If you haven't played Magicka I feel pretty safe to recommend it.  If you like it and think about buying more to add to, just be careful that the thing you add is actually an expansion to the game rather than a PvP arean.

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