Magicka Launched, But Rather Buggy

What if the bridge is made of bugs?!

We’re very excited about Magicka at RPS, and I’m currently trying to begin an adventure for part of our coverage. But the keyword at this point is “trying”. The game has just gone live on GamersGate and Steam, but rather a lot of people are having trouble. Of the bugs reported, two have rather got in my way in the first two minutes, and an attempt to play a co-op game has already collapsed into an exchange of, “Can you connect now?” instant messages.

However, pleasingly, Paradox tells us that a patch is already in the works. And even better, new patches will be appearing every 24 hours to address any other issues that may arise.

The first big issue people seem to be facing is the tutorial, in which the second instruction given is to cast a healing spell on yourself with the middle mouse button. Do that and the tutorial doesn’t update, leaving you stood in a one-room basement without anything to do. It seems the solution is to cut the rope, but this is made further obscure by the game not having a guessable keyboard instruction to achieve this. It turns out it’s Shift+click, so that’ll get you through that one at least. And from there on I seem to be okay to continue soloing.

The font chosen for on-screen instructions is a peculiar one, the letters so close together it’s difficult to read. This is made worse by another bug causing what looks like an ® to appear throughout text, making a lot of it more difficult to decipher.

The Steam forums are getting pretty busy with other issues that are appearing, along with others who aren’t able to establish online games. My attempt this afternoon began with the other player stuck in the cutscene that I’d skipped, and then unable to move. My attempt to restart the level crashed the game, and then we weren’t able to connect to each other at all. There’s also no option to create a private online game, and no option to boot strangers you don’t want wandering in.

So clearly there are some issues to be ironed out here, things that are unfortunately rarely revealed until the game’s handed over the the smelly masses. We’ve contacted Paradox to find out what’s happening with a patch, and they’ve told us one is already on the way. And indeed there will be new patches every 24 hours as issues arise.

We’ll let you know our thoughts on the full game later this week. Right now, bugs aside, my impression is of something that looks pretty special.


  1. Javier-de-Ass says:

    Maybe it’s a good thing the non-steam version of the game was delayed by a week or two. And probably the steam version itself should have been as well. Heh.

    • goddamntheholyspiritandgod says:





  2. Brumisator says:

    Well, at least the single player is still great.

    The only good part about it being very broken online for now, is that the devs have taken notice and are working on a patch, hopefully they’ll put as much effort as Team Meat in it.

    • Javier-de-Ass says:

      Seem to be a pattern here with developers leaning on steam technology for parts of their games. They relax their work on other aspects as well.

  3. HeavyStorm says:

    More and more I think that we should wait some months before buying any game. Even one as cheap as this. It will give the producers time to polish and actually finish it.

    • HeavyStorm says:

      “So clearly there are some issues to be ironed out here, things that are unfortunately rarely revealed until the game’s handed over the the smelly masses.”

      Rarely revealed? I’m sorry, this kind of bug have nothing to do with hardware, user interpretation of on-screen instructions, etc. The fact of the matter is that producers, without any regard for customers, are releasing either badly tested games or games with many know issues to meet deadlines.

      The way patches are so easily applied today created a breach so that soft houses can release a half-finished game in order to meet distributors deadlines and then spend the next few weeks fixing the bugs.

    • CoyoteTheClever says:

      Complicated PC games being released full of bugs are nothing new though. Even classics like Master of Magic are -still- full of bugs and crashes in their latest editions. I think its PC customer expectations that have changed. We are more used to console games that don’t need patches and don’t constantly crash than PC gamers in the past were, because there is less segregation among gamers into PC or console users, so we have less tolerance for bugs and other issues that aren’t prevalent in console gaming. The existence of quick patching through say, steam, aggravates the issue, but not for the developers, rather for us, because it makes the patching process so much more obvious to us as small, quick patches fixing only one or two issues are so much more common.

    • Hypocee says:

      Tutorial dead-ends even when you follow its script. ‘Complicated PC games’. Yeah?

      But OTOH, ‘rarely revealed until the game’s handed over the the smelly masses’… It had a…thingy…second letter in the Greek writing system. I read about it here! Apparently not one of those people played the tutorial.

      I’m not angry at Arrowhead – these things happen – but watching a game rip itself apart during launch week for no good reason is always just so sad, like a kitten in the rain. It does make me feel less deprived by my wait for an Impulse release, though, so there’s that.

    • Bonedwarf says:

      Coyote: Console games DO and OFTEN receive patches.

  4. Nick says:

    Yes, it is a touch buggy at the moment but highly enjoyable when it does actually work, so hopefully the patches will get the worst of them out of the way. I’m quite enjoying its silly brand of humour too.

  5. Dyst says:

    It’s buggy but if you can get into a game it’s a ton of fun. It took about 5 minutes for me and a mate to get going but after that we played for an hour and a half with no interruptions and had great fun.

  6. Daiv says:

    You see this is what happens when you cast Code-Code-Code-Code-Beer.

  7. jd says:

    The online play button shows some wizards communicating via two tin cans and a string. I can only assume this primitive technology is to blame for the multiplayer problems.

    • jon_hill987 says:

      Primitive? Surely that is current tech? After all, isn’t that what Virgin Media use for their non cable subscribers?

  8. jplayer01 says:

    Sigh, can’t connect to any servers either, just like plenty of others I know. I’m simply not interested in SP, so I probably won’t play until they release the first patch. A bit ridiculous, imo.

  9. Zogtee says:

    “…things that are unfortunately rarely revealed until the game’s handed over the the smelly masses.”

    I disagree. The issues you listed are pretty obvious ones and the smelly masses picked up on them in less than an hour.

    • PleasingFungus says:

      Obvious bugs… when they appear.

      Presumably, they don’t appear on all computers?

      Might make a little more sense than assuming that the creators released a game with extremely obvious, crippling bugs on purpose.

    • jplayer01 says:

      Well, “on purpose” is going a bit far now … I don’t think that’s what he implied.

  10. The Magic says:

    I can’t even start the game… It does the whole “preparing to launch Magicka” and then just flops on its face. Nothing happens… though it keeps doing the “Installing Microsoft.NET redistributable” thing. Maybe that’s the issue.

    • HeavyStorm says:

      I still haven’t installed it (since I’m at work) but, does it uses .Net? Has anyone got more information over it? Is it a XNA game?

    • jplayer01 says:

      Yes, it requires .NET 3.5 (installed automatically upon launching the game, and the binary is otherwise present somewhere on your system after installing the game, don’t remember where …) and it’s an XNA game.

    • The Magic says:

      Okay, patch installed… and it won’t start at all,
      removed .net installer… and it won’t start at all.

      My other games work fine, and I can’t tell Paradox because I have to wait to be allowed to post on their forums and the Steam forums… Perhaps Fred Wester, CEO of Paradox might read this.

  11. mcnostril says:

    This is the reason I’m waiting until the end of the week to buy it. I had my suspicions about the state of the game when the tutorial was choppy during the demo even though my system greatly exceeds their specs. There was a simple fix posted, but my spidey sense was a-tingling.

    I still want mah pointy hat, but I have until the 31st to get that.

  12. Heliosicle says:

    Crashes my router if I stay in the lobby/server system for too long, good thing you can connect directly through steam!

    Seems quite buggy though, lots of scripting errors and things :(

  13. PleasingFungus says:

    “# Publisher: Paradox Interactive”

    Oh, Paradox.

  14. ManaTree says:

    I eagerly await the new patch to see if it fixes not only performance issues but some of the checkpointing in the first part. That’s all I played, but oh man, love the game thus far besides them.

  15. Mr_Hands says:

    Shame to hear that there’s some connection issues. Doubt it’ll interfere with local co-op, though, yeah? So I and the girlfriend can have a round or two?


    *goes back to Atom Zombie Smasher*

  16. serioustiger says:

    “No suitable graphics card found.
    Unable to create the graphics device.
    This program requires pixel shader 3.0 and vertex shader 3.0”.

    Well, it’s a GTX280 – hardly state-of-the-art but not that old either. Who knew such a wee game was going to require a bigger beast than Crysis?

    • Merkoth says:

      You should check drivers or something, I played this successfully on an ancient 9600GT…

    • Vague-rant says:

      Try again. I got that message with my PC. Started it up anyway. Black screened on me. Exit game, restart and everything was working. Finished the demo then decided to buy it when I have time to play it.

    • serioustiger says:

      @ Merkoth Yep, already updated drivers before posting.

      @Vague How did you start it up? When I get that message I have the option to OK it, but that’s it…just back to Steam game list, same thing happens every time.


    • DarkNoghri says:

      I could have sworn my brother said he got a similar error on some games the other day. He was shifting them from his laptop to his desktop (which had a brand new GPU, newest drivers installed that day). It sounded like his games all got corrupted and needed a redownload.

      Have you tried verifying the game cache integrity?

  17. Colonel J says:

    Wouldn’t be a Paradox launch without the added fun of a few game-breaking bugs.

  18. J. says:

    I got gifted the game on Steam. Nice. However, during the first 10 minutes of multiplayer I encountered the following:

    -Joining an ongoing game did not work
    -Joining a game via steam didn’t work, also broke the main menu
    -Font bugs
    -Crash to desktop when clicking a certain painting
    -Scripting freeze during a dialog before falling through the floor
    -Tutorial objects not aligned properly
    -Desync between players during the tutorial

    All in all: do not buy yet. Haven’t gotten past those first 10 minutes.

    Edit: more:

    -In challenge mode, freezes after dying
    -Invisible enemies (desync) in challenge mode
    -After the patch I can’t even join or host games

  19. CMaster says:

    Huh funny, the tutorial was just fine in the demo. (only real problem was that the checkpoint before the last “boss” of the tutorial being the only checkpoint for altogether far too long.
    Mind you, it did manage to make the Direct X installer crash, but seeing as I’m up to date with that one anyway, worked fine.

    • TonyB says:

      This, bit of an odd thing to break between the demo and release. I really hope they added a checkpoint in the first village in the final version though as that almost stopped me playing when I was sent right back to the cellar (although now I know what I’m doing hopefully it won’t catch me out as and when I buy it).

  20. Enzo says:

    They just released a patch! It’s “only” 522 mb.

    • Baka says:

      Fast response, if it’s really a patch and not some weird Steambug redownloading half the game.
      But guys, wait a few minutes before overloading the servers, I want to play NOW!

      Edit: Sadly, didn’t really help.

  21. Solcry says:

    I bought the game – haven’t really had the issues listed here though. Initially I tried joining a game my buddy hosted, but the game crashed on me. When we switched over to me hosting, it worked perfectly fine. He joined, two others joined, and off we went.

    • Archonsod says:

      Only issue I’ve hit is the font one. And the game slowing down in the later stages which I suspect is due to a memory leak. But then I’d been playing it nearly four hours.

  22. Wilson says:

    Yep, we found a few bugs with it as well. But after we got over those, we managed to play for a fair while. And it’s great fun! But yes, patch certainly needed.

  23. Doesntmeananything says:

    The first patch is already out, and it’s a heavy one, sporting 522.2 shiny megabytes. I guess that patch notes will arrive soon.

  24. RegisteredUser says:

    A buggy-on-release Paradox game?

    No wai!

  25. Schaulustiger says:

    A patch not even 3 hours after release – nice job.

    More infos here: link to

  26. Fred says:

    Hey all, we’ll keep on updating the game. It is of course not acceptable that the network code worked so poorly for a lot of people.

    Update/patch released just a while ago, more updates to come.

    Here is a status report from the Steam page:
    link to


  27. Brumisator says:

    Patch or no patch, I still can’t join a game, even when making sure to try with a steam friend who has also updated his game.

  28. Pijama says:

    Bloody hell, I know that Paradox did not develop it, but the day that one of their games do NOT come out ver 1.0 with some staggering bugs it will rain squirrels and chocolates.

    They *really* need to up the QA department. EVERY – DAMN – GAME they released recently had some mess to deal with.

    • Chakawi says:

      It’s very unlikely that the QC departement is responsible for this. Most of the time it’s not even the developers that are the culprit. The majority of these situations are caused by imposed and accepted deadlines (contradictory huh), scope creeping and (this is more my opinion here) having no beta.

      I’m veary eager to try it tonight though :)

    • Creeping Death says:

      But to be fair, bugs aside, most of their games are definately worth the hassle :P

  29. Enzo says:

    Downloaded the patch – nothing has changed, game is still broken.


  30. Vague-rant says:

    Hmm, only played the demo, but I guess this is as good a place as any to ask. How do I make a magic rock wall? I know a basic rock wall is just earth and shield, but, I once panicked, did a weird combo and ended up with rocks that had glyphs all over them and exploded when they were destroyed. I think that’s how all the best discoveries were made, including the internet.

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      You need to add arcane, I believe.

    • jd says:

      I was halfway done killing a boss, then I accidentally summoned a ring of life mines. The boss stumbles into them and regains full health. Oops.

  31. Teddy Leach says:

    I am quite amused that I’ve encountered no bugs thus far.

  32. hjd_uk says:

    Oddly enough, the tutoral’s missing prompt and the “@@” bug aren’t in the Demo.

  33. Out Reach says:

    Release day blues aside I’m loving this.

    Been playing single player, and I’m having a blast :)

    The workshop (you’ll know it when you see it) at the very start made me lol so hard. It’s the font ^^

    • Archonsod says:

      And you can pick up a warhammer outside …

      There’s hundreds of silly little references like that. Another fun one – when you first leave the castle break through the door on the left hand side and open the chest. You get a suspiciously familiar white staff.

      Oh, and Dunderhead village, pay attention to the cattle.

    • Creeping Death says:

      I havent reached Dunderhaed yet, but I have found the white staff and warhammer. There’s also a dead wizard in a fridge that I can assume one of the references to indiana jones (along with the more obvious one of the goblin witchdoctor). So far, things like this have me loving this game

  34. Blaq says:

    The worst thing about this kind of otherwise harmless screwup is that it will drive potential costumers away and affect the sales like an ugly sperm stain on a dress (not that I would have any personal experience).

  35. kutkh says:

    Total failure to get anything resembling a game going for me – real shame. I think I’m always going to associate that “An adventure of sorts” line with a hard-crashed Steam overlay.

  36. Sigh says:

    Uh oh…don’t let Gamers Voice hear about this!

  37. Diziet Sma says:

    I’ve been playing single player and the only bug I’ve found was not being able to caste haste spell well, which worked first time for me in the demo. Single player seems to be quite bug free and OK but I doubt anyway near as much fun as MP, want to play multiplayer but I’m going to hold off for a while until a mate is about.

  38. frags says:

    Yeah what a shame. It’s a really good title. Hope they get this sorted out soon.

  39. theunshaven says:

    My issue is that on opening, the game presents what looks like a key-map screen for my game controller, except that it doesn’t respond to any buttons on said controller. Plus, I want to be using mouse and keyboard anyway.

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

  40. Zeno says:

    Augh, this is what I get for supporting small developers. I guess I’ll go buy another generic FPS that’ll actually run…

  41. Phinor says:

    This game is exactly the type of game I want at the 5-20€ price range. New ideas, new gameplay mechanics and solid enough all around. Add in a touch (or a bucket) of humor and it’s a winner. I’ve encountered some of the bugs mentioned here but I guess I got too used to bugs in the 90s as they rarely even register to me while I’m playing. Many if not most smaller games do suffer from various connection problems though, it’s just the nature of budget&resources vs. the jungle that is networking. It’s slightly easier on the consoles but still, of course connection problems shouldn’t happen.

    Hopefully the team can polish this game & the game sells well enough. I want more of this stuff on PC :)

  42. Demiath says:

    This would have been an instabuy for me if it hadn’t been for the crippling performance issues (or, to be precise, the lack of appropriate graphics options to mess around with). Admittedly, my poor computer is as anti-gaming as desktop rigs go, but at the very least the thing does run Fallout: New Vegas, Risen and similar new-ish big budget titles a whole lot better than Magicka.

    Of course, a notorious lack of custom graphics options combined with poor optimization tend to be the single biggest issues with most indie games which include any kind of fancy demanding visual stuff (such as shadows, spell effects, etc.). Ironically, that’s the one thing such otherwise endearing games seem to have in common with lazy corporate console-to-PC ports…

  43. Dreamhacker says:

    I’ve just had one blue screen thus far…

    …but GODDAMN that goblin shaman is difficult! Any hints on massacring that bast’?

    • man-eater chimp says:

      Run around keep using AOE spells (Shift-right click), mines are especially awesome.

      My new tactic for quick healing is 3/4 heals and a rock and drop it on your head, is quite funny as well!

    • Creeping Death says:

      I used meteor shower at the start, which killed everything but 2 archers and a severly wounded boss :P

      On a semi-related note, anyone have a clue as to how you get the other early purchase dlc content? I want my pointy wizard hat, damn it!

    • Retro42 says:

      Counter his water beam with a fire beam ghostbusters styke,

    • CaptainV says:

      Spam him with laser beams from the master sword.

    • Archonsod says:

      Water him till he’s wet, freeze him till he’s solid. Clobber him till he’s dead. Works on most bosses for the first three chapters.

      You can use area cast water / cold combo whenever things get hairy too. Water will shove them back and get them wet, cold will freeze them giving you time to breathe.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      Cast “Bane of Paradox”.

      His Spells will misfire and trying to use his weapons will cause his arms to freeze, after which the goblin horde appears and demands their moneyskulls back, tearing the shaman limb from limb.

      Or hit ‘im wiffa stick.

    • Chris D says:

      I used a rain spell to soak everything then lots of electric attacks. Finally a beam to finsh off the shaman.

  44. Sardaukar says:

    Dear god.
    I cast Meteor Shower. I expected a few flaming rocks to impact around me.

    I did not expect this.

    Huge, fiery chunks of earth and hate screaming down from the sky! Two bystanders dead before it occurred to me that the murderous rain was not stopping. I ran in panicked circles, narrowly avoiding the big ones, dousing the flames of a near miss, and then, as suddenly as it started, it was over: As the last enormous rock landed on my head in judgment of my foolishness.

    • TheOldFirm says:

      Spot on. It was exactly like that for me as well. When I figured out how to cast it, of course.

  45. Lazaruso says:

    What?! Another buggy game release from an small studio? This is an outrage! I knew I should have stayed with the AAA publishers like Activision, whose mega-millions can* fund an actual QA department!

    Someone should sue Paradox or something!

    Awesome game, the only thing I hated in the demo was constantly having goblins jump on me and push me around. I’m a skinny weak wizard, dangit, I can barely hobble along, much less give piggyback rides.

    *the operative phrase being.

    • Retro42 says:

      Heh, Agreed. So many people raging about “How dare they not predict all these issues.

      It’s an 8 man studio. Who just made a decent chunk of cash and are looking very commited to patching any bugs they find.

      That said I’m having a blast. As soon as multi gets up and in full swing I’ll be playing 4player non-stop. Just seeing the carnage one mage can cause……

  46. GHudston says:

    If you are being put off this game due to the bugs, PLEASE wait until they patch it. When it does work it’s absolutely wonderful.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      What this should read is “If you are being put off this game due to the bugs, PLEASE wait until we patch it before release” and it should have been the line the developer wrote to the publisher in due time before the release date. You know, the date upon which you expect someone to actually start PAYING for the whole thing, in the crazy notion that he is purchasing a (equivalent to) finished and (in all advertised ways) functional product.

      I am all for giving folks a chance via post-release support and lenience towards bugs; however bugs used to be known as quirky buggers that pop up in odd situations, not people forgetting to make sure that someone following the plain vanilla path on 1.0 release build is unable to even get past the tutorial or a netgame working.

      I do believe this is where the real issue sits with a lot of so-called “modern” games.

      Other than that, I absolutely look forward to picking this up for 3-5 EUR in the Steam 2011 xmas sale, after the half million patches it will require to be a proper Paradox-playable game.

    • Cruxis says:

      Agree with above. I can deal with the fact that there are random (and in many cases completely obvious, such as the trigger bugs from a trigger not activating on time) bugs, but what really gets me is how faulty the multiplayer is. The basic options that are standard for almost every online game of the current generation are completely missing from this. It was like stepping back into Warcraft II prior to it being available on Battle.Net.

      The fact you can’t identify which chapter someone is playing, if I join a game and constantly rejoin even though I want to leave, no way to take over roles from a host, no way to boot players if I’m trying to restrict a game, no way to restrict a game period (number of players/private or not), and the numerous issues with packet transfer and synchronization is really just telling of poor design. Yes, the product was 9.99, but honestly, the reason anyone even bought the title was because of the potential to play it with friends. It was a huge selling point and ultimately is the biggest letdown in the game. I’m happy to continue playing it but will be leery of the next purchase from this developer again.

  47. Nathan says:

    Depends what you mean by this. I can filter the game list to those being hosted on a LAN, certainly.

  48. ChainsawHands says:

    Cut the rope? I thought you had to burn the rope.

  49. chrismissy says:

    And even then, tested with my PC in a DMZ (which is kinda like opening ALL ports at once) and no dice. Don’t know what you are talking about.

    If it even launched, even for single player play I would buy it, but since I can’t even fucking see the intro scene or whatever, why would I buy it?

    It was causing crashes for some people, but then again what about this game wasn’t? I played it last night just fine and except for the multiplayer lobby looking like it was made in basic with the worst search options.
    dich vu seo

    The game gets an A for effort and will secure them a sequel.