‘Magicka’ spell-binds players

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By Kristofer Hammer

Compared to the older styles of games that simply let you select a spell or two from a skill bar only to use them in single succession, Magicka is a magic-centric game that capitalizes on the more creative and light-hearted aspects of wizardry and spell creation.
What do I mean by creative? The premise of the combat is combining different elements (eight to choose from) within five slots to form a spell.
Magicka is much like playing an elementary typing game, as each element is assigned a key, making the whole process much smoother since you don’t need to constantly be looking at what you’re inputting. Because of this, it is easy to become attached to certain spells, garnering your own unique playing style.
When casting a spell, players have three options: to cast the spell on yourself (for healing and shielding), to cast the spell forward (a basic attack), or to cast an ‘area of effect’ spell (affects multiple enemies around you).
Additionally, adding more of one element to certain combinations makes some spells more powerful.  For instance, one shield and four earth elements creates a sturdier armor than one shield and one earth element.
What really sets this game apart, aside from the spell casting elements, is the accurate way worldly elements are presented. For instance, you cannot cast lightening spells if you get yourself wet, as water conducts electricity (thereby killing yourself).
You solve this problem by using a fire spell on yourself to dry yourself off. What if you catch yourself on fire?  Just add water. I have also found that if you add fire and water into the spell slots they combine to make steam, or frost and water to make ice.
You can unlock the game’s pre-made special spells throughout the story when a small prompt notifies you that you have the right combination. Hoever, the majority of spells you will be using will be jumbled messes given the small amount of time you can spend when in combat scenarios.
My only complaint about the game’s combat has to do with the movement of the character. You control which direction your character moves in by holding the left mouse while pointing your cursor in the general area you wish to go to.  Consequently, your only option in this situation is to dodge your opponent and run away, usually resulting in a goose chase rather than actual combat.
The game is still very enjoyable and encourages cooperative play, as you can play with friends over the Internet using LAN.
The game is imbued with high sense of geekery and comedy that makes a boring premise (a typical hero-centric sotry focused on vanquishing evil and saving the kingdom) a much less boring adventure and takes cues from pop culture such as Back to the Future, Star Wars, and Diablo.
Magicka is worth the price for those looking for a game with a clever and quirky mechanic.

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