I recently got some hands-on time at PDXCon with Magicka 2, sequel to Arrowhead’s ridiculous 2011 fantasy spell ‘em up. This time around it’s new studio Pieces Intractive at the helm, but the game still focuses on what made the original so much fun – casting various nasty elemental combination spells at goblins, giants, and more often than not, your friends. Sure it’s a little faster, a little prettier (quite a lot prettier actually), but at its heart this is still a game about being an utterly incompetent wizard with unrestricted access to chaotic, elemental magic. What could possibly go wrong?
It’s not the first time I’ve taken a look at Magicka 2, so if you’re looking for the basics then I recommend you check out our initial preview from last year. This time around I’ll be digging in to the game’s co-op, its wave-based Challenge mode, and in particular its Artefacts system, which allows you to mix and match different modifiers in order to create a customised game experience. Challenge mode has you battle against a series of increasingly difficult opponents, with a global leaderboard of high scores providing the incentive. It’s a diverting enough way to enjoy Magicka 2’s fireworks.
What is in essence a fairly basic survival mode is livened up immeasurably when you start fiddling with the Artefacts system, and coming up with your own ridiculous challenges and rules. There’s plenty to play around with, from tuning character speed and health regeneration rates up or down to enabling on-kill teleportation and exploding enemies. You can, for instance, whack up friendly fire to 300%, and spend an entire level batting your co-op mates across the map like giant, fleshy baseballs. It’s pretty fun.
There’s also a quick look at an early level of the main story campaign that features a battle against giant hermit crabs. I’m not telling you which colour wizard is me, because that way you won’t know how terrible I am at coming up with spells on the fly. Enjoy!
Most Anticipated Feature: The developers weren’t ready to show off some of the cooler sounding Artefacts. ‘Funny Deaths’, anyone?