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Monday, April 15, 2013

Review: Magicka: Wizards of the Square Tablet (iPad)

A sequel to the PC game Magicka – released in 2011 – sees the charm and the gameplay that made the PC original so great, is now all re-created in the palm of your hands. What Magicka: Wizards of the Square Tablet offers is a great multiplayer experience for the iPad.

Wizards of the Square Tablet sees players once again using magic for the purpose of good, and blowing up friends, which is always good fun. Levels are selected from a world map and don’t take that much time to complete. The gameplay draws inspiration from Battleheart, another side-scrolling action game available on the iPad.

Each level is presented in a side scrolling fashion and enemies come at you in waves. Players fend off the waves of enemies using seven different spells known as magicks; earth, fire, cold, life, lightning, water and shield. Life and shield by themselves work to heal and protect players respectively. What’s interesting about the combat system is the ability to combine spells, to create new and more powerful spells.

Up to four spells can be loaded at any one time. Loading fire with shield will create a barrier of fire that damages anyone who touches it. Whilst loading lightning, life and lightning together will revive the closest player to you. These combinations that are unlocked as you progress through levels are a great way of adding depth to the game’s combat system.

The seven magicks are placed at the bottom of the screen. Tapping on a magick will load it and where you tap on the screen is where you send your attack. Tapping on the screen without a magick loaded will see you move. This focus on tapping to load magicks creates a fast-paced combat system; it’s fluid, and even when there is a lot of action occurring on the screen, you won’t feel bogged down.

Wizards of the Square Tablet also offers cross-platform four-player multiplayer. Multiplayer is just as it was in the original Magicka – a lot of fun. Together, players can play through the single-player campaign. Working together is encouraged, but it’s much more fun creating the most damaging spells in your spell book and unleashing the fury on your friends.

At the moment the online isn’t as great as it could be though. It took quite a long time for me to get into a game and when I did it wasn’t long until my iPad crashed. It could be that the infrastructure between Android and iOS isn’t as powerful yet as it could be, or it may just be an issue with my iPad. Either way, a few connection issues aside, the online is still enjoyable.

Completing each level will reward players with money that can be used to purchase better staffs and robes. Additionally, those playing solo can purchase one-off familiars and scrolls, which assist the player, either by attacking the enemy or healing the player. It allows solo players to enjoy the game without having a feeling that they are at a disadvantage by not having additional human players fighting beside them.

The presentation is superb. The comical style adopted here works wonders for the humour that Wizards of the Square Tablet employs. The writing style of story sequences is great, as is the voice over of the narrator who reads them. It’s a fantastic addition and if future games emerge from the Magicka series, I hope that it sticks.

Magicka: Wizards of the Square Tablet is great. Those who played the original on PC will feel right at home here. Everything is familiar, but as a brand new game built for tablets – it all just works. For those who haven’t played the original Magicka, they will undoubtedly have a great time learning the fast-paced combat system. Multiplayer is still what will offer the best experience, but it’s not required to have a good time.




- Sam M.
Contributor

Find me at Twitter: @sammcgrawmcgraw


Review: Magicka: Wizards of the Square Tablet (iPad)
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