Put On My Robe & Wizard Hat: Magicka Demo

By Quintin Smith on January 25th, 2011 at 8:09 am.

Magicka unlocks on Steam in 9 hours. What are you going to do until then? Ooh, you could eat a fruit. Read a book. Take care that patch of black mold in the bathroom that’s started to take on human form. Or you could download and play the Magicka demo, which has just this second been released on Steam. If this news doesn’t excite you, clearly you missed my preview yesterday covering a tiny handful of the ways you might screw up. There’s a new trailer, too! A dramatic one! It’s after the jump!

Alright, so by dramatic I mean that it’s less funny than the others. Still, there’s plenty of footage of the game’s bang, crackle and pop spellcasting system. Take a look.

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99 Comments »

  1. ChaK_ says:

    THAT is good !

    Need to get off work now…

  2. Wolf Hongo says:

    I cooed in awe when the big dragon thingy smashed its head right into my wall of rock that I made through spastic hesitation.

    Silly dragon, don’t you know you’re not Casper?

    • ezekiel2517 says:

      I didn’t try that. I ran about with haste on and using qrqrqrqrqrqrqrqr and spell around me. It got the job done, after a while.

    • Giant, fussy whingebag says:

      @ezekiel: me too. Didn’t think to block with a wall! Quite fun… I suspect it would be much more so with people to mistakenly destroy…

  3. Gormongous says:

    Wonderful, I got all of ten seconds in before it refused to recognize that my mouse had a middle button. Magicka had been bumped up to a “buy” twelve hours ago thanks to this site, and now is demoted to a “wait and see” thanks to the demo.

    • nogav says:

      According to the steam forums that happens if you’ve bound middle click to something else for another game.

    • Gormongous says:

      Hmm… There seems to be a general consensus that the game doesn’t play nice with Logitech’s mouse config suite. Curious.

  4. J. says:

    I liked the demo. Luckily I only tried single player, because if there were any other robed fellas, I would’ve accidentally killed them all.

    Also, it deserves more attention that the multiplayer modes of the Steam and non-Steam versions of the game aren’t compatible with each other. Boo!

    • Lilliput King says:

      Don’t be too quick to throw those boos around. As far as we’ve heard, the non-steam version barely exists yet.

    • alseT says:

      Well who sells non-steam versions of the game? I thought that was dropped. I know GG gives you a code you just enter in steam.

    • J. says:

      No one is selling the non-Steamy thing yet because it’s not done yet (should be next week). GG had to resort to selling the Steam version just because the non-Steam thing isn’t done. I just find it really stupid to divide their playerbase. “The non-steam and steam version are in no way compatible.”, said the Paradox rep.

  5. Mungrul says:

    Can I cast Cock of the Infinite in Magicka?

    • Chris D says:

      Given the many ways in which magic can screw up and kill you I’m really not sure that would be wise.

  6. Arclight says:

    Game gets stuck on title screen, displaying controls help for controller. Can’t interact with anything, no mouse clicks or controller input or keyboard, just sits there like I’m not bashing buttons like mad. Can’t even close the game.

    I can skip through the intro screens just fine with the controller, but after that it’s just ignored, as soon as the help thingy pops up.

    Sure, disabling it might fix it, but that does make it go from “definetly maybe” to just “maybe” for me.

    (* Saitek P3200, btw)

    • AlexV says:

      Have you got more than one controller plugged in? It made me go through the configuration thing twice, once for each controller I had plugged in – only it gave no clue as to which controller it was waiting for, and wouldn’t do anything at all until it had got input for all buttons from that one. A little irritating, I found, particularly given that the other controller was a joystick, and I’m not likely to be wanting to use it for playing. A simple option for “disable input from this controller” would be helpful.

    • Drdunkel says:

      Tried disconnecting all gamepads/joysticks and just play with the keyboard?

    • Arclight says:

      Ha, thanks Alex. Started mashing buttons on the speedpad, was indeed waiting for that one. Little text feedback on what it was expecting would have been nice, but that fixed it.

      So yeah, have a whole range of controllers hooked up. I know disconnecting them would fix it, but I’m not inclined to crawl under my desk to plug/unplug 6 USB cables every time I want to play something.

  7. Drheadcrab says:

    Well i’m not sure, That mold is starting to give off a weird purple gas, It’s also killed 2 people, But i guess i can ignore it for a bit longer.

    I’m also already wanted for manslaughter, So what does a 3rd dead person matter.

  8. returntonull says:

    Kinda feels like it’ll suffer from… tons of spell combinations! You’ll end up falling back on using only two at most.

  9. Towercap says:

    Finished the demo. The game is clearly designed for coop first and foremost. Much like L4D, you don’t want to be playing this single player.

    • Eric says:

      I actually quite enjoyed playing it single player. Lots of crowd control options with the spell combinations you can cast. I enjoyed popping up a rock wall with Earth + Shield and then making it rain and shocking everything in sight while I cowered behind my impromptu fortress.

      But yeah, the craziness will come from co-op for sure.

  10. Wichtel says:

    I keep dying at the ship and there is no checkpoint, so i have to complete the whole level before I can try again :-/

    • Mr Bismarck says:

      use the RMB with no elements selected for a “force push” style power that’ll shove bombs away.

      Also don’t forget you have a shield power and that people carrying bombs will usually go BOOM with the right… encouragement.

    • Kandon Arc says:

      a fire+arcane beam will also set the bombs off if you hit the bag of bombs on the goblins back.

    • Mr_Hands says:

      I beat that sequence, and during my heal self/victory dance, I got some fire into the mix. Healed myself, then ran around on fire… Right off the side.

      Facepalmed all the way down.

  11. Tunips says:

    Is anyone else getting oddly low performance? I’ve got pretty new hardware, but I’m only getting ~50fps, and a very jerky 50 at that. Doesn’t seem right for what’s on the screen.

    • Davie says:

      Count yourself lucky. :)

    • noom says:

      It’s completely broken for me. Periodically freezes when I run it with the result of me getting a “VPU shutdown” style error within about a minute of loading, after which I need to reboot my PC.

    • mcwizardry says:

      Same here.

    • mcol says:

      On steam forums: http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1730330

      Hi,

      Make sure you have the following installed:

      xna redistributable (xnafx31_redist.exe)
      microsoft .net framework 3.5 (dotNetFx35setup.exe)

      (seems that steam didn’t autoinstall these with the demo)

      They are actually included in the demo so navigate to:

      c:\program\steam\steamapps\common\magicka demo\ – or wherever you have steam/game installed to and find the files.

      That should resolve most problems.

      Secondly make sure you’re running the game on a computer with at least the following specs:
      Operating system: Windows XP/Vista/Windows 7
      Processor: Intel® Pentium® IV 2.4 GHz or AMD 3500+
      Memory: 2 GB RAM
      Hard disk space: 2 GB Available HDD Space
      Video: NVIDIA® GeForce 8800 or ATI Radeon® X1900
      Direct X-compatible sound card
      DirectX® 9
      3-button mouse, keyboard and speakers
      Internet connection for multiplayer
      XNA 3.1

      Let us know what else is acting up and we’ll try to fix it asap.

      / Paradox Team

    • AlexV says:

      Yeah, I found it slightly choppy at full screen. Windowed was fine, though, oddly enough. Again, massively overspecced PC for the requirements.

  12. noom says:

    Who’s going to set us up a Rock, Paper, Water, Life, Fire, Earth, Shield, Cold, Lightning, Arcane group then?

  13. Davie says:

    It’s not very well optimized for creakier machines, but despite the 8 frames per second, it looks awesome. I’m definitely buying this after the purchase of a new computer box.

  14. CMaster says:

    Gah, horrible checkpointing. Keep getting knocked in the water or similar by the bomb pirate-goblins, then having to start again by fighting the beholder. Ugh.

    Also, it is possible to have friends join your adventure in the demo or not?

    • Lilliput King says:

      Looks like it’s possible to do local co-op at least.

    • Towercap says:

      Dude, the bomb-wielding gobbos are full of gunpowder. /WINK

  15. Ian says:

    So is the single-player any good? Or is it one where you’re only really going to see the best of it in co-op?

  16. kristian says:

    The controls are not as polished as one would wish. atleast for the x360 controller.

  17. TooNu says:

    I bought this game last night, I’m just saying

  18. Sky says:

    Not found – 5948273845 Not found – 43384757343
    And after the character select, game crashes.

  19. Teddy Leach says:

    Must buy… Must buy… Must buy…

  20. Koozer says:

    Stuck on the bomb chucker, the controls take a bit of getting used to (I keep trying to move with WASD and electrocuting myself) but WHAT THE HELL IT’S A WEIRD SPARKLY ROCK WALL THING WHAT WAS THAT COMBO

    • rhizo says:

      For anyone stuck on some bit still trying to learn the controls, buy yourself a little time by using the personal shield (i.e. cast shield on oneself). I found that really helpful in trying to get something useful selected in the midst of chaos. You can’t heal either but casting it again removes the shield.

  21. tomeoftom says:

    Wait. Is it possible to play co-op in the demo?

  22. Harlander says:

    I bought this, sight unseen, just because it sounded so awesome. Hope the controls aren’t too terrible (and that I escape all those crashes, freezes, and other horrors!)

    • Jac says:

      Ditto – hoping it runs on my laptop and isn’t horrific with a pad

  23. karry says:

    What, i MUST have steam for the freakin demo ? Go steam yourself.

  24. Nero says:

    Looks really interesting, too bad my graphics card is starting to crap out :(

  25. Xocrates says:

    Well, with the choppiness that wasn’t fixed with mcol’s suggestion and the horrid checkpoint system in single player (It would be almost a miracle for me to round up enough friends to play this) this went from “waiting for steam to allow me to buy it” to “when they fix it or goes on a nice discount”

    Which saddens me considerably since I was really looking forward to this.

    • Xocrates says:

      Right, so windowed mode seems to fix the stuttering and it seems that past that first level the checkpointing becomes a tad better.

      Seems like the game is back on the “Buy” list

  26. trjp says:

    As I said in the other thread – what the demo really showed me was that this is a game with not much to do OTHER than just kill stuff. That might just be the demo, but that’s what it’s telling me, at least…

    You appear to get no XP for killing things, no gold, items or score either. So the only point is to clear a level? – no awards for doing it well, nor punishment for doing it badly (other than horrible checkpointing)??

    Is it much to ask that a game provide some challenge other than “just bang your head on it until it’s over”? Is there any possible reason you’d replay it??

    Also – any game using the middle mouse button is a design disaster – most scrollwheel buttons are horrifically inaccurate (try pushing without scrolling) and it just suggests a lack of thought (esp as loads of people still don’t HAVE one – and then there’s laptops).

    Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

    • Towercap says:

      You didn’t enjoy L4D?

      /sadface

    • MrMud says:

      You have to use the middle mouse button?
      Eeehhh that sounds bad, really bad.

    • trjp says:

      In fairness to it, I decided a 2nd go at the demo was called for. It didn’t work!! Innumerous Steam errors later I made it work and…

      I’m still not keen on a game where the ONLY objective is to kill everything on the screen – I like XP, levels, gold, items and scoring/advancement – really like those things in fact. There is a (disabled) Challenge Mode in there – I wonder what that is???

      Meanwhile, I still despise the checkpointing – I still think the (keyboard) controls are a bit of a dogs breakfast but there is some fun to be gotten from the spell system (tho you could get through most of the game using heal/shield and then lightning/arcane and fire/earth combos I suspect).

      Things like being picked-up and run into a lake where you (and the thing which picked you up) drown tho – that’s just fucking annoying.

      I think I’ll pass here – I suspect 90% of the fun in this will be generated by other people so – yes, in fact it IS L4D in a robe – with weird controls…

    • Om says:

      So completing the game isn’t enough in itself? Welcome to the WoW generation – games without Skinner Boxes need not apply

    • trjp says:

      Playing a game from A-Z when all there is to do is kill stuff gets pretty dull surely???

      I want secrets – I want stuff to discover on paths other than the highway – I like levelling and scoring and getting ratings and stuff like that – it’s how games work.

      Take Pacman and take Pacman CE DX – same basic DNA but one is how games USED to work and one is how games SHOULD work.

      Magicka is at the Pacman end of the scale – sadly…

      I’m not saying it’s shit and I realise it’s like £8 which isn’t a whole lot of cash BUT it really only has that spell system to engage the player (at least that’s what the demo shows).

      I suspect they’re relying on multiplayer to provide the entertainment – and that’s a fair business model which hasn’t harmed CS or L4D or a load of other titles – I’m just not interested in that myself.

    • Giaddon says:

      But… “advancement” in game terms is only meaningful in how it lets you clear a level/kill things. New equipment, level ups, new skills, all that just helps you kill guys better. The gameplay itself is (should be?) the source of fun.

      Besides, Magicka has new equipment!

    • plugmonkey says:

      It also says it has score tables, implying some sort of scoring.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Of course you don’t have to use the middle mouse button. There is an options menu, yunno.

      No I’m not going to slow down. People must feel my scorn when it is fresh.

    • trjp says:

      I don’t disagree with “the gameplay should provide the fun” but when I travelling through a nicely realised world, I’d like for there to be more to do that

      a – talk to people
      b – kill things

      A game should be a journey of exploration – not a bus ride from A to B, ploughing through everything on your very straight path.

      I’m assuming scores relate to Challenge Mode but as the developer can’t be bothered to tell me what that is – I can’t be sure…

      p.s. on controls – the game (or the tiny bit of it I’ve played) seems to use qwerasdf space lshift lctrl and 3 mouse buttons so customisation is wonderful but my fingers are of limited length and there’s not a lot of options there…???

      I’ve not even tried a 360 controller because it doesn’t appear to even have enough buttons!? I probably should try that – it couldn’t be worse really!?

    • godgoo says:

      I really think this depends on the genre and the intent of the game, I would hate to live in a world where I have to choose between super meatboy OR Fallout.

    • plugmonkey says:

      p.s. on controls – the game (or the tiny bit of it I’ve played) seems to use qwerasdf space lshift lctrl and 3 mouse buttons so customisation is wonderful but my fingers are of limited length and there’s not a lot of options there…???

      Tab?

      Anyhoo, sounds like it’s just not quite your cup of tea. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve played so far.

    • trjp says:

      Tab brings up your inventory (according to the settings) – and you can’t customise the mouse buttons anyway – at least not in-game.

      You’re right tho – I’m just not sold on this. I wanted to like it but it’s clearly made for co-op/multiplayer and is little fun single-player (at least the demo isn’t).

      That bit where you reach the bridge and a load of goblins start firing arrows is a nightmare of interrupts and knockdowns – so you cast a shield but that blocks arcane (actually reflects it) so you can’t use a spell which actually HARMS the goblins much and – Alt-F4 – nice try but not for me…

      p.s. I tried the 360 controller but learning the gestures for magic is a bigger PITA than 6 buttons I think – it works OK tho

    • Om says:

      Its not the game for you trjp. It makes no pretence at being Planescape. Of course, if it had 2D retro graphics and a haunting electro soundtrack then I’m sure that everyone would be willing to overlook this and talk solely of ‘gameplay’. And ‘alienation’

      As for controls, you can map these from the options on the main menu

  27. plugmonkey says:

    When I get a goblin on my back and the text appears saying “Break free”, what exactly am I supposed to do?

    Edit: Never mind. Fire area of effect spell.

  28. mda says:

    Apart from the annoying lack of checkpointing from “just before killing the watcher” to “ship goblin battle” … AWESOME :D

    Will be buying this for sure.

  29. hjd_uk says:

    The controls are taking some getting used to, I want to swap left and right mouse buttons, i keep right clicking to move and left clicking to ‘attack’.

    Its fun but getting pinned down by archers is a bee-ach. The millisecond you stand up you get knocked down again, FUUUUUUUU….

    Ive taken to spamming Area-Shield while charging a fireball / arcane-lightning beam and waiting for the shield to drop.

    Still , jolly good fun and i’m sure its more so in co-op.

    • slabgar says:

      Do a personal rock shield instead. Something like D-E cast on self will get a goblin off you, or give you breathing room to cast something bigger. (Like a stronger shield with more rock, or perhaps a bigger nastier spell, like fully charged 5-rock.)

      Casting without an element loaded will shoot some air, that’ll knock away non-large creatures, arrows, bombs, and so forth.

  30. Brumisator says:

    COME ON ALREADY, unlock, baby! daddy needs his fix!

    come oooooooooooooooon…. an hour to go, come oooooon! I need my fix man, c’mon, cmon.cm….c….mon

  31. Mr_Hands says:

    I still can’t figure out what combo creates those land mine things.

    • Xocrates says:

      I believe I accidentally did that by using Arcane and Shield

  32. protobob says:

    I HATE using middle mouse button, and there are no options to change this? That’s insane. Patch please.

    Also I can’t get past the tutorial. It gets stuck asking my to use the middle mouse button to heal myself. I do this and that message does not go away and I have no option to progress.

  33. ezekiel2517 says:

    Could anyone explain how to cast the Rain spell? I don’t know why I can’t find that element mix or whatever it is.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Yeah, I couldn’t do this either. It looks like two waters, but the colours are wrong.

      KG

    • Towercap says:

      It’s an element mix, but I don’t know how to get it.

      Notice how, for example, mixing water and frost creates an ice element; the round icon changes to a completely different one to represent the mix.

    • Volente says:

      You can mix Water and Fire to make a Steam element – the Rain spell is Steam and Water.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Yup, gotta mix water and fire for the steam. You’ve also got to get it in the right order in the buffer.

    • ezekiel2517 says:

      Thanks. QQF + space rapidly does the job.

      I also found out that with a frozen sword, the trolls are easy. Just freeze and shoot rocks at them. It is pretty nice how they fall in slow motion, too. Only those damn archers make it difficult now.

  34. man-eater chimp says:

    Unfortunately this game is rather laggy on my computer and moving quite slowly, even if i set all the settings to ‘low’ and lower the resolution.

    Annoying, I hope it gets fixed in a patch as otherwise it’ll be no fun!

    EDIT: Found the steam thread on this (by actually reading the other comments) but I have the full game version and that installed the extra programs when the game downloaded (It seemed to download them). The tutorial is also messed up for me, I can’t get past the healing yourself bit as the game isn’t noticing me pressing the middle mouse button, despite the fact I am and healing myself!

    • Lilliput King says:

      URGH RPS is eating my comments now. Suffice to say you need to cut the red rope in the corner of the room with your sword, which is IIRC shift-click, and you can progress.

  35. irongamer says:

    Interesting mechanics. Judging from the demo alone this is a simple dungeon crawler with mix and match spell effects. It is very easy to hurt yourself and your spell effects already in play can react with your next cast.

    This must get real interesting when adding additional players, much chaos could ensue. The controls will take some getting used to, as your standard wasf are used selecting spells and not movement.

    Right click is for a ranged attack with spell.
    The longer you hold the right mouse button the stronger the attack. (Includes power up sound and power/wind effect)
    Middle click is to cast the spell on yourself.
    Shift right click is to cast an AoE spell.
    If you have no spells queued shift left click attacks with your sword. If you have a spell queued you can’t swing your sword.

    The controls may be more intuitive with a controller but I’m sure you will adapt with the keyboard / mouse after a little bit.

    It be interesting to see how the mechanic of spell casting holds up over time. To start with you get to explore combos but once you know the combos is punching in the combo every time entertaining, vs picking the spell from a list. At least in the demo you always have to punch in the spell combo to use it (there is a list of known spells that you can mouse wheel through, but you still have to punch in the combo). It could be that punching in the combo of spells becomes second nature and you will not really think about doing it.

    I’ll most likely pick this up if I can haggle some of my friends into playing it.

  36. TheOldFirm says:

    I love living on Pacific Standard Time. Game comes out right when I get to wake up in the morning. No school today!

  37. theunshaven says:

    This is weird: RPS keeps eating my replies!

    My issue is that the game opens onto what seems to be a setup for mapping buttons on my game controller, but my xbox360 controller doesn’t lead to responses on the screen.

    Plus, I want to use mouse and keyboard anyway.

    Ah well, I’m pleased with the purchase, and look forward to it all getting fixed.

  38. soundofvictory says:

    +1 for the bloodninja (or w/e his other aliases are) reference in the title.