Crash to Desktop

Magicka came out of nowhere. Like a freshly summoned familiar brought into existence with nothing but tasks and confusion, so too were we expected to just press buttons and figure out how not to kill our friends when this game dropped in 2011. There was nothing quite like it; a bit ARPG, but no stats or levels to speak of. A bit twin-stick-shooter-y, but exclusively for mouse and keyboard. And what the hell were those accents anyway? What we knew for sure was that the game was as creative as it was funny, and it was very funny.

However, Magicka has always had a darker side. One look at its critical reception over the years, both from reviewers and players alike, make that as transparently clear as a freshly conjured wall of ice. It’s a strange and polarizing game even by today’s standards. So we asked ourselves: does it hold up by modern standards, or has it encountered an error and needs to close?


I’ve played Magicka too much. Brain off button mashing spells whilst throwing caution to the wind. Attune the spell to your weapon and throw a fissure. Add a shield to make it a mine. Use the spells the game gives you and roll the 50/50 of killing an enemy or a friend. I enjoy the gibberish that the characters say and still quote it. Hundreds of staves and weapons to find and secrets galore. Happy 10th birthday Magicka, your multiplayer is still busted. 4 out of 5 Orbs. (QR-QR-E-S-A is my favorite next to ThunderBolt.)


You might have some nostalgia for the days of setting up enough free memory in DOS to get Doom running, blowing on a cartridge or having to tilt a console a certain way to get it to load your imported disc. Fond memories of a thing that’s half-busted but special to you for the effort. But there is no fixing Magicka, no matter what dark arts you perform, and there is no forgetting it. Two big brass orbs for what it takes to look at a thing you’re selling and go “This, this is fine.”


I have no idea what spells I am casting. I am just hitting letters and hoping for the best but mostly I’m either getting myself or my teammates killed. It’s still as broken as the first time I tried it. 3 and a half orb, all cracked.


Some of you guys are acting as if you can cast more than two spells in this without the game hardlocking. Look, Magicka may be supremely quotable and mechanically interesting, but the game does not and has never functioned on even a passable level. I should love this but it spurns my affection with every crash. ⅖ orbs, Helldivers is the game this should have been.