Alec And John’s Thoughts On Magicka So Far

Are we... are we actually playing?

Something we rather want to do on Rock, Paper, Shotgun is write about Magicka. It’s one of those games, not a giant AAA mainstream release, but a small project that captured our attention. We’d been watching it from the corner of our eyes during development, and then Quintin fell completely in love with it when he previewed it last week. Our looks were forward. And then it was released.

It’s been a real shame to see what should have been one of those feel-good stories become something completely different. A tale of bugs and woe and disaster. One Paradox has responded to by offering all Magicka DLC as free until the end of the month. As they fight to patch it into something playable, we decided to take a look at the game in co-op between ourselves. Except for Quintin, who organised it then remembered he’d bought tickets for the opera or something. So Jim, Alec and John set forth to adventure.

Well, as you’ll note this is a conversation between Alec and John, because despite many efforts Jim was unable to get the game to even launch on two different computers. Not a great start. So Alec and John persisted, whittled down to two already. Nothing lasted very long. Once when we managed to get into a game John’s game just froze up. Another time in the middle of a Challenge John’s screen went black, and never came back. And a lot of the time was spent signing in and out of each other’s attempts to host games. But we got some glimpses. And shared some thoughts.

John: So, game of the year?

Alec: I’ll get back to you on that once it actually works. It’s aggravating – I can see the game underneath, this clever and cheerful thing, but I can’t get to it in more than short doses.

John: What have you managed to achieve with the game before our attempt tonight?

Alec: I’ve played through the tutorial mission about four thousand and thirty-eight times and the second and third missions about three times each.

John: Why would you want to play the tutorial so many times?!

Alec: I love being told how to walk left. It’s my favourite thing. This was a consequence of playing since beta, in fairness, and there were a couple of save-wipes as they pushed out new builds. I’ve played it enough to be starting to comprehend the magic a whole lot more than on initial forays – there’s a hell of a lot of strategy hidden inside this very cheery, casual looking thing.

John: Yes – there’s no question that somewhere, beneath the pain, there’s a really damned smart idea for a game. My experience has been one of finding that the single player really isn’t an option, as you get mobbed and then sent back to checkpoints many battles ago. And trying to get a game with Phill Cameron, but finding he was always stuck to the floor. But tonight. Tonight was going to be different. Tonight we… opened our ports.

Alec: a new level of intimacy. And lo, we did achieve about two-thirds of a level before you got nailed to the floor or the sky exploded or something.

John: Well, first of all we had to create three different servers. And try logging into each other’s.

Alec: There’s this issue we’ve had a few times, most recently with Elemental – how much do you forgive a severely broken game whose creators have pledged they’ll dedicate themselves to patching it? They’re doing it, and I believe they will, but they did put an unfinished game up for sale.

John: Which is particularly strange, since it was scheduled for March. No one was demanding it in January.

Alec: The critical thing is that it hasn’t put me off wanting to try again. I will keep checking back until I can play the game properly, because I do really like the game.

John: I’m at the point where I’m wanting someone else to tell me that it’s fixed before I’ll bother. Right, so say what that is. What is it that makes you really like it?

Alec: It’s about the organic learning. It requires you to pay attention and pick stuff up and be deeply tactical, but it isn’t that machine precision of StarCraft II. It’s a sort of mad science learning. What if I do this and this and ooh look what happened there. And it doesn’t tell me much of it; it waits for me to find out, so I can delight/horrify myself. Often the latter, as there are at least as many ways to messily destroy yourself as combine spells to victorious effect.

John: That’s what grabs me too. Stumbling upon a spell. Tonight was my first experience of co-op, eventually, and when we crossed the beams that was a similar moment of delight.

Alec: In my fond imaginings, we were all going to hop onto the server and share about half a dozen favourite spells each that the others didn’t know.

John: We’d all tip our heads back and laugh.

Alec: I think that can happen. But a) Quinns and Jim need to not flake and b) the game needs to be fixed.

John: Jim didn’t flake! QUINTIN, HOWEVER.

Alec: Let’s agree to fire him right now, and he won’t know until he reads this tomorrow.

John: We tried some of the challenge tonight, too. Now, while bugs still affected us, I think the problems were deeper there too.

Alec: Well, there were at least two things against us that weren’t necessarily the game’s fault
1) We’re not very good at it/games
2) It’s clearly designed for four players, not two

Alec: So we were overwhelmed and punished and got stroppy, as you would. But with a CRACK TEAM of area spells and ranged and heals and whatnot it could be great.

John: But that’s a giant issue too. Be designed for two players!

Alec: Yes, but it is the bonus mode rather than the main mode.

John: I still think the endless mobbing would grow tedious, even if you were adept at shaking them off.

Alec: Maybe they’ll patch in easier ones at some point. I do maintain we could be a lot better at it though. We’re still flailing.

John: Absolutely. I’m rubbish at it. But sadly the SP won’t let me practise to get better.

Alec: we’ll have to try again as a foursome, with you healing. OH NO WAIT.

John: Haha! Well, we’ll definitely come back to it. So, if you were to describe Magicka as a Magicka spell, what would it be a combination of?

Alec: It’d defintely be that one where you simultaneously heal and eletrocute yourself. And you?

John: It’s bugs + bugs + great ideas + bugs + exploding heads.

Alec: It’s unforgivable. But I’m prepared to forgive it later. Right, I must dash.

John: Bye!

Alec: [explodes messily]


  1. Jim Rossignol says:

    I was actually ready to BUILD A NEW PC to play this tonight. Not my day.

  2. pakoito says:

    Next time just use Hamachi.

    • Theoban says:

      Yeah that’s how we got it working with three of us.

      Was excellent, some of the most fun I’ve had in a game for a long time. Rez LIGHTNING BOLT rez LIGHTNING BOLT rez LIGHTNING BOLT muted shouts over vent telling me to stop bloody doing that. Great stuff.

      Then it crashed on level 3. Ah well.

    • Eplekongen says:

      Tell about this… “Hamachi”.

    • mlaskus says:

      Hamachi is good, but I switched to Tunngle quite a while ago. It is a lot more convenient and it works automagically for most games that require some additional tweaking in Hamachi. There is quite a few articles comparing the two services, google it if you are interested.

      Oh and if you want to know what those programs do. They create a VPN connection between your computer and those of your friends. VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, the end result is that your computers are connected to a single ‘LAN’ network.

    • Baka says:

      How exactly do you host a LAN Game? I can’t see any possibilities for it while hosting a game.

    • Tzarkahn says:

      @Eplekongen – link to – It’s a virtual Network, it makes your PCs think they are all on the same LAN, solves a lot of port and conenction issues.

      @Baka – Just host a normal game, but people in your Virtual Network can search it by using the LAN filter in game. I found that it means the connection is near instant.

    • Baka says:

      We tried that but couldn’t find the game that way. More tinkering required I guess!

  3. Archonsod says:

    I’ve been having plenty of fun in single player myself. It’s not that tricky thanks to most of the mobs being mere annoyances at best.

    And once you get the M60 it’s a whole lot easier.

    • Creeping Death says:

      I used the m60 for about 2 mins before ditching it for the next weapon I found. It made the game far too easy, so much so I didnt even touch any spells while using it. I haven’t found the game that difficult in sp anyway, apart from that damn beastman boss…

    • Samuelson says:

      Even more easy, my friend found the spell: Steam + Steam + Arcane + Arcane + Lightning, if anyone can find a more powerful beam spell I love you, but he was using this to make the other 2 players useless.

    • eph3meral says:

      Ditch one of the steams and replace it with another arcane. Builds to over 32000. Also makes a good heavy hitting aoe.

      I *believe* steam+arcane+lightning is just as powerful a beam, but it doesn’t last quite as long.

    • OldRat says:

      Actually, the M60 doesn’t really stay that useful for too long. Armored enemies, things with a buttload more hitpoints and such and such mean that it’s only going to be good for picking off weak things.

    • plugmonkey says:

      I’m mostly sticking with the M60 purely because of how awesome my wizard looks with a magic staff in one hand and a sodding great machine gun tucked under the other arm.

  4. zergrush says:

    Played with a friend yesterday night for a bit. Absolutely wonderful game.

    We both bought the game last night, and got to the snake-like boss without a single problem, so either the patches worked or we were extremely lucky.

    • P4p3Rc1iP says:

      Me and my room mate actually had a lot of trouble with it. We had to resort to one of us holding a shield up while being targeted, and the other casting massive AOE on it, because for some reason, none of the beam/short range spells seemed to be able to hit the head. Took us like 15 minutes.

      Now we’re stuck at the end boss in chapter 5 because both our games freeze up after 2 tries at the level. :(

    • DarkMirage says:

      Direct spells cannot hit the head. Flaming boulders can splash damage to the head but they take too long.

      The easiest way to kill the snake is for all players to cast AOE flame rock shields. The snake will crash into them and damage its head when trying to attack you.

  5. LimEJET says:

    I’ve been playing co-op for almost 12 hours and not noticed a single major bug.

    A few minor, not-at-all game changing ones, yes, but nothing that hinders my progress in any way.

  6. Kaira- says:

    A game via Paradox with game-breaking bugs? Unheard of.

  7. Xocrates says:

    I actually managed to play through the entire game in Single Player. The game is truly a joy to play… when it works.

    Seriously though, I had great fun playing it, but the level of brokenness was distressing. I went from not being able to progress due to a crash at the level 11 boss, to (after yesterday’s patch) a crash loading level 12, one workaround later I managed to play said level only to die during A CUTSCENE, and only after very carefully setting my character so he wouldn’t die was I able to finish the damn game.

    I expect that at least the single player should be fixed after today’s patch. Though I wouldn’t be surprised if they broke something else.

    Of course, this has done little for me being able to convince friends to get the game so we could try (the apparently even more broken) multiplayer.

    Which is sad since I really want to love the game and spread that love. I wonder how long it will take until I can actually do that.

    • ceriphim says:

      Yeah the brokenness really bummed me out. I slogged my way from beginning to end having to endure many, many black-screen lockups and CTDs.

      PS – Did you find out what happens when you beat Grimnir?

      SPOILER ALERT: The game suicides to desktop. Shocking, I know…

  8. thecrius says:

    This game have GREAT potential but it’s broken from the roots.
    Starting from the code, it’s very bad optimized/scalable.

    It’s a shame that i can play Dragon Age on my laptop but Magicka run around 10-20 fps :|

  9. trjp says:

    I think a BIG issue here is the lack of content for people who aren’t playing with friends.

    I wasn’t really expecting an £8 to be amazingly complex single-player experience – but finding out that it doesn’t work that well without the full quota of 4 players is taking the piss a bit.

    The demo suggested that single player was going to get REALLY tiresome due to the 80s-style checkpointing – and that apart from making progress, there wasn’t much else to do (no sidequests/score attack/secrets or the like???)

    Shame really – still, there’ll be a Steam Sale at Easter :)

    • Unaco says:

      We had a fun game with 3 people… I’d even think that 2 people, with some good skills, organisation and communication could do quite well and have a lot of fun. Even single player is amusing, and good practice for getting all your magics working well. And there are sidequests, secrets (Sherlock Holmes stuff) and other fun things (trying for achievements, or just trying for specific spells and takedowns… crossing beams, bouncing beams off shields, that sort of thing).

    • moragtheterrible says:

      Having seen both the demo and the full game now, thought it worth pointing out that the demo version is a highly pared down version of the start of the full game, rather than the usual package of ‘tutorial plus maybe the first mission’. There is a lot more content in the full game, as Unaco points out.
      I agree about the checkpointing though, it’s possibly the thing I like least about the game so far (bugs excluded).

  10. CoyoteTheClever says:

    Paradox will keep producing bug filled games, but I’ll keep buying them, because frankly Paradox is the SSI of our time, producing interesting games others won’t touch, and I don’t want to see them get put under like SSI.

  11. Diziet Sma says:

    Does this include the patch that steam announce in my rss feed a short while ago:

    link to

    9:26 PM (37 minutes ago)
    Magicka Updated Released

    they really seem to be hammering away at patches which is to be applauded, I’ve yet to try mp though.

    • noobnob says:

      Known issues:

      Beam spells merging sometimes crashes game with stack overflow (for real)

      Well, that’s just…wow.

    • Jeremy says:

      I just figured that was the consequence of merging opposing beams. The game exploded in a flash, then crashed. I actually thought it fit fairly well with the theme of the game.

    • Bhazor says:

      Still think Stack Overflow sounds like a made up 80s porno name.

    • Pie21 says:

      More like a computer programmer conspiracy protagonist.

      link to

  12. Mike says:

    Not sure what the problem has been here, on the whole. So far I’ve encountered no bugs, and even managed to play with my friend, who lives on the other side of the world, after just the first patch.

    It’s ludicrous fun, a really wonderful game, and it’s selling well. But everyone opens their articles about it with a kind of negative tone. Not only is the game in great shape, but it’s being patched daily, and the patch notes even point out problems the team know about and are working on. Can’t we at least point out that the team are working admirably to get it working for those who are having problems? :(

    • Andy_Panthro says:

      I had a similar occurrence with Alpha Protocol.

      I’d pre-ordered it, played it on the day of release, and had a great time. All I could read about on the interweb was about how buggy and broken it was, and yet I played through it absolutely fine.

      Fallout 3 on the other hand, I read nothing about bugs and got various issues including it crashing approximately every 30 minutes.

      It is strange how different peoples experiences of a game can be, seemingly based on the random chance of how many bugs affect your playthrough.

      More of a consequence for me is the seemingly poor single player options of Magicka, as I doubt I could find three other people to regularly play with.

    • Xocrates says:

      @Andy_Panthro I found single player to be perfectly good. Aside from a few sections with crappy checkpointing (not as common as the demo might suggest) I didn’t even see anything that particularly suggested the game was designed for multiple players.

    • Bhazor says:

      Same with me and New Vegas (I did need to download a patch to run Alpha though). I put Vegas and Alpha Protocol’s receptions down to reviewers receiving an earlier build rather than the final “gold” versions. Here on the other the issues seem to be with the actual gold edition. Although it’s interesting the game was shoved out two months ahead of schedule.

    • drewski says:

      @ Andy – I was going to make a smartarse remark about the PC not being a homogeneous platform and different hardware configurations having different issues, but then I remembered that even 360 users complain about games working perfectly on one system and constantly crashing on others, so I realised my point has been made moot by the PCisation of consoles.

      Still, it would have been pithy and appropriate. Trust me, there was pith out the wazoo.

  13. Unaco says:

    I decided to plunge ahead, and bought it just after it released on Steam, after trying (and thoroughly enjoying the demo). Just as I put the transaction through, and started the download, I heard the first mumblings about the “problems” with the game. I gave multiplayer a miss ’til after the first patch, and plugged on at the single player. Like Alec, I played the tutorial far too many times, with one thing or another happening, and got wiped on the first wave in the Arena. But none of that really mattered, because it was so damn fun!

    Next day, I jumped in a Co-Op game. 4 of us started, eventually. Then 1 dropped, so there were 3 of us. Then, for a long time, I thought another person had dropped, and that there were only 2 of us. Then I realised the model of the 3rd person had just disappeared from my game. I could still see their spells, but that was all. But none of that really mattered, because it was so much damn fun.

    I haven’t played any more Co-Op since then, as a couple people I was planning on playing with actually had more troubles with the patch from yesterday evening. Instead, I played some more Single player, played the Chapters (1 & 2) I skipped with the Co-Op game that started on Ch 3, and had a go at the Arena’s with my new knowledge. It’s still damn fun, and I’m looking forward to plenty of stable, Co-Op fun over the weekend.

  14. INinja132 says:

    I just got a few mates round with 360 controllers to play it local co-op. I have to say, it’s one of the most fun gaming experiences I’ve ever had. Accidentally exploding your friend when he’s sitting right next to you is always hilarious.

    We hammered through a decent chunk of the campaign, before getting stuck at a no-progression bug, meaning we had to restart the whole level to continue. Instead we just played the arena mode, and it is really, really good fun with four people.

    On the whole, definitely fun if you can get 4 people playing, and definitely worth 8 quid.

  15. Miker says:

    Does anybody know why its performance is so poor for such a simple looking game? I ask because my friends with older laptops, even those with halfway-decent mobile GPUs, are getting slideshows.

    • Pie21 says:

      One reason is probably that it’s written in .NET and the XNA framework, meaning managed code rather than native, which is always going to be a bit slower. It’s basically the same ‘problem’ (or weakness, more accurately) of Java vs C++.

      Of course the real problem is probably poor optimisation. Given that the game was evidently released unfinished, I would not be surprised if they still have a few optimisation runs yet to do. Or maybe they just didn’t test the multiplayer AT ALL. But there’s still time!

    • adonf says:

      .NET/XNA is not supposed to be 10 times slower than native code. MS says 98% of native code performance and that’s probably a big lie, but 80% seems reasonable*. This being said, it’s harder to optimize .NET code because no one really understands what’s going on inside the virtual machine and the API is insanely stupid**.

      *Of course I have no proof of what I’m saying but that’s ok on the internet.
      ** Of course this is just my personal opinion but it’s ok to use opinions as facts on the internet.

    • tonweight says:

      From my experience as a developer of .NET corporate software (assuming that the game’s written in C#), most of the optimization problems we can probably attribute to programmer laziness. I know that I’m not always paying attention to something’s Big O when I’m doing stuff, but I’ve mostly worked in wide-band, low-throughput orgs.

      I’m curious if you can use the ANTS profiler with an XNA project. I know that tool has saved my bacon a couple of times. I’ll have to fire up an open-source XNA project and find out, I suppose.

      If I get around to that, maybe I’ll send in some suggestions.

      Anyway, Magicka is pretty great. I’ve had a couple minor crashes (only on release day, though), and have gone about halfway through on SP without issue. So far, I’m really digging the game, the humour, and very much enjoy the “discovery spellcasting.” I do find myself spamming Arcane+Shield+Fire (SHIFT+LC) quite a lot though.

      I’ll also echo the sentiments about Paradox being like SSI – I was a hair’s breadth from doing the full Paradox bundle on Steam over the holiday. Figured I’d wait for that until next year.

  16. psyk says:

    So are Gamers’ Voice getting ready to act? or do they only go for triple a games?

    edit – “We will just have to agree to disagree and Gamers’ Voice will continue its campaigning about bugs in games on behalf of UK gamers and consumers.”

    I don’t see it.

    • rawtheory says:

      If the did “act” they’d be total arseholes.

    • psyk says:

      And by doing nothing they show what they are about, lose lose situation.

  17. Jeremy says:

    There’s a way to get past the Tutorial, hit ESC then type in BANANA?! At the beginning the thing says “Remember, safe word is BANANA?!” or something to that effect. Just if you wanted to skip past it and get into the proper game.

    I have to say that I’m having an insane amount of fun with this game, it’s one of those joyful games that comes around every now and then, like World of Goo. That being said, yes, the network issues are prevalent, but are actually getting better. I’ve noticed a difference in the smoothness of the latency since the last couple of patches. I think “Mad Scientist” perfectly describes the game.. just wildly throwing elements together and hoping you don’t blow yourself/friend/everything up. Sometimes my whole screen will explode and kill everything, and I don’t even know what happened, it’s brilliant.

    • MrWolf says:

      Must try this when I get home.

    • Pie21 says:

      Hey, you’re right! You don’t even have to type anything, it’s just there as the first menu item!

      Don’t know about multiplayer though.

    • Tarqon says:

      Joyful is the perfect word to describe this game. So frustrating yet so satisfying.

      I finished the singleplayer yesterday and I had a blast.

    • Wilson says:

      I don’t think it works in multiplayer unfortunately.

    • Lilliput King says:

      It does, but the host has to do it.

  18. Pijama says:

    I bought it today.

    It’s a bit disheartening, but I was sold on the basic setup and the humour long time ago, so I kinda hope it gets playable and well soon, hehe

    What I find even more sad is that this time Paradox REALLY managed it. Everywhere in the net people are complaining and joking about the company and it’s releases. What a shame. :p

  19. Dominic White says:

    I got my copy a few hours ago, and I’m currently hacking through the game to write a review for DIYGamer, and I’ve been playing it in local form, using 360 controllers. Mostly in two-player mode.

    So far, we’ve not had any trouble at all. Aside from one weird glitch that forced my testing minion to murder and revive me, it has been a completely bug-free adventure, and with a little coordination and planning, we’ve managed to take down every obstacle in our path so far, mostly without cheesing the comically overpowered superconducting steam/arcane/lightning combo.

    Guess I’m just lucky.

    So far, my most hilarious moment was accidentally casting the ‘ring of land-mines’ spell at the start of the airship level, causing an instant and spectacular failure as all players immediately blasted off into the middle-distance, Team Rocket style.

    • Jeremy says:

      That’s my favorite part of this game… those suicidal/homicidal moments where you accidentally kill everyone. A friend I play with is a notoriously horrible mine and barrier user.. he loves them both for some reason, and constantly kills the entire team with them.

    • Premium User Badge

      Bozzley says:

      I’ve yet to stop spamming the ARSES landmine spell. Still funny.

    • MultiVaC says:

      So the local multiplayer is pretty good, then? That might be enough to sway me to buy it now, because my friends and I have had so many more fun hours of local co-op in Trine than I ever thought was possible, much of it involving incredibly reckless wizardry and the ensuing hilarious deaths. It sounds like Magicka would be perfect for us.

    • Dominic White says:

      If you’ve got a few gamepads (360 controllers, ideally), then yeah, Magicka joins Lara & The Guardian of Light and Trine as must-haves for local cooperative play.

  20. nuh uh no way says:

    …. The game doesn’t scale the quantity (or quality or both) of enemies to suit how many players there are?

    ….What a shame.

    • Daiv says:

      Difficulty does most assuredly scale with the number of players. Just a few lowly goblins left, and one of my lovely colleagues sets me aflame as he wildly sweeps the screen with firebeams, another casts Meteor Storm summoning angry rock from the sky striking indiscriminately left and right, and the third one demonstrates his wild ineptitude by area casting Shield instead of Fire and reflecting my own Arcane beam back at me…

    • Chris D says:

      It does seem that adding more players can only make it more difficult. I mean, I have to trouble trying to avoid blowing myself up.

  21. crainey92 says:

    Me and my friend tried several times to get this to work with no prevail but eventualy I went onto my steam friends list and right clicked him followed by “join game” and this time it worked, mind you had to try that several times before it worked. When I tried this the day before my game kept crashing, when you get into the game I can’t say we encountered any bugs or glitches that would hinder progress and it was great fun, we laughed, too much perhaps.

  22. Lucas Says says:

    I’m playing this and Dragon Age concurrently. Total number of Dragon Age crashes: 8. Total number of Magicka crashes: 0 (if you don’t include it failing to launch the first time and telling me my video card was shit. I don’t, personally, because it fixed right up).

    Maybe I’m just lucky. Or just that good. I don’t know. What I do know is that, someday, this will be a fantastic game. And I’m glad they seem committed to that.

    • Mr_Day says:

      Christ, I have had Dragon Age crash on me as well. Several games have been doing it, mind, so it might be something horribly wrong.

      I have been playing DA whilst watching Lord of the Rings on my second monitor. Because I am this: Very Sad.

  23. Zeno says:

    Apparently my graphics card is up to running the recent DC Universe Online at medium-high specs, but completely inadequate to get this game to launch at all.

    There is no justice in this world.

  24. Mr_Day says:

    My advice is to play the challange mode in the forest, not the arena. I managed to get to wave 8 or 9 playing solo, but I did get the teleport magicks early on and that is really useful for gettng overwhelm protection.

    Current pet hate is monsters grabbing you, then running off a cliff. Bastards.

    EDIT: The M 60 is overpowered and I love it.

  25. thesundaybest says:

    Well, this is making me feel absolutely terrible for having bought it. I don’t suppose it will just magically work for me and my friends.

  26. JayTee says:

    Not had a single crash or bug so far in ~6hrs of play. Maybe I’m just blessed. Really good fun game, only had a very quick go on co-op, mainly tooled around in single-player, and despite some fight scenes that cause me great anger as I stupidly picked up a Frost Aura staff (Worst. Idea. Ever. Don’t do it) so I couldn’t effectively kite, it’s good fun.

    Steam+Arcane+Lightning+Lightning+Lightning beams are hilariously overpowered. Until you get those stupid leaping monsters who punch me in the face and stop the crazy beam-o-death. Sadface.

  27. Dominic White says:

    It’s really sad to see all these nasty bug reports here. It seems very much a ‘your mileage may vary’ situation, though – it runs silky smooth at full detail here, and I’ve played through a third of the adventure mode so far with only one minor glitch, and that was solved in a rather in-character fashion: exploding me into a red mist and reviving me.

    The devs have already released two fairly major patches, and have announced that they’re going to aim for one update a day until all the issues are hammered out. Considering that it’s by a tiny 8-man studio, that’s pretty impressive.

    • Nathan says:

      Didn’t you say you’ve not really been playing network multiplayer, though? This has seemed to be where eighty percent of the issues lie.

  28. Lim-Dul says:

    I played with three friends on release day before even the first patch and it took us like 1 hour to get the match going, especially since two of them couldn’t host despite best efforts, port opening and whatnot.
    Then we had an absolute blast for like 2 hours until they dropped and the game wiped our progress for two chapters. -.-
    Not to mention I have to play Magicka in windowed mode since it stutters otherwise due to some vsync/triple buffering bugs (known) and suggested work-arounds didn’t do anything…
    Having said that Arrowhead Studios are in a patching frenzy releasing a patch every day – it’s getting there. Yes, perhaps the game was unfinished BUT such a small studio might have problems with QA and playtesting. Perhaps releasing it to the public to find and squish bugs as soon as possible is the way to go.
    Most game-breaking stuff has been ironed out already but there’s still MUCH room for improvement. And yes, I’m disappointed in that the bugs will have turned much of the audience away from the game AND when it works it’s just EPIC fun. It works fine in SP, although it’s a different experience but when you go multiplayer it’s like 4 or bust…

  29. Neut says:


  30. airtekh says:

    I haven’t had any trouble with bugs, just the odd slowdown. Then again, I’m only playing single-player mode.

    I’m finding the humour in this game to be right up my street. From the numerous Star Wars and Monty Python references to the crazy, self-aware characters.

    The highlight for me today was finding a ‘Knife of Counter-Striking’. Its special ability? It makes you run faster! I just ROFL’d.

  31. Pamplemousse says:

    I’ve had no trouble at all with bugs, I suppose I’ve just been lucky. I have seen the occasional floor glitching or item glitching bugs but usually they are of very little significance.

    One little tactic to avoid being overwhelmed is this.

    Stone + Shield + self cast = rock form.

    4(Ice + Water) + rock + Projectile cast = ice comet

    4(fire + water) + arcane + Projectile cast = OMGSTEAMBEAMOFDEATHRAGAHAGH

    4(Ice + Water) + Arcane/electricity + Projectile cast = Shotgun blast of death

    Combine the Rock form with any of those powers and you can usually clear 1 or 2 of the enemies (no matter how tough) off of ya.

  32. jackflash says:

    I honestly don’t care about the bugs. Yeah, I spent like an hour and a half trying to get network working today with my friend, but whatever. The devs are diligently addressing the problems; the game was $10; and it is fucking brilliant. Issues will be fixed, life will be okay, and all will be fine a few weeks from now. Magicka is an absolute blast to play (when it works), and it is the type of game that NEEDS to be made.

  33. Enikuo says:

    My boyfriend and I are both experiencing crashes, freezes, and graphical bugs. We haven’t even tried co-op. That said, the bits we’ve managed to play in single-player mode are joyful.

  34. terry says:

    Paradox in buggy game shocker.

  35. Yargh says:

    I’ve had good success with using the ‘Join Game’ functionality of steam to join a server.
    The game is an absolute blast even though we encountered a good number of lag issues.

  36. tungstenHead says:

    I haven’t had the heart to try and convince any of my friends to pick it up to even try and play with, but I’ve been playing the singleplayer. It’s crashed a couple of times and refused to start up (I went and nuked the config and settings files in the game folder and it worked again) but good glory I love it. I’ll probably buy a couple of copies for my friends this weekend.

  37. SirKicksalot says:

    link to

    30k copies sold day one!

  38. Fwiffo says:

    While me and my clanmates had trouble getting a stable game going yesterday, the latest patch appears to have cleaned our problems right up. We laughed like drains for ages at our multifarous deaths – random and deliberate – and ended up having a ‘Gandalf-off’ seeing who could get the best looking spell together.

    The game’s humour is bloody fantastic as well, there’s a lot of jokes hidden away such as the Zelda master sword complete with working full-health-beams and a ridiculously overpowered M60 machine gun complete with Rambo taunt.

    • mda says:

      @Fwiffo: “a ridiculously overpowered M60 machine gun”

      Reckon that’s having a poke at BC2? I do!

  39. DOLBYdigital says:

    I got the game but just don’t have time to try it out. I searched everywhere to see if they are going to support modding and found nothing which leads me to think that it will not. Also the fact that they are selling and talking about DLC is another subtle ‘no’ to that question.

    Its a shame since modders would really add to this with some great single player levels, new arenas with different ideas and finally tons and tons of sweet new spells to learn and experiment with. Maybe they will open it up to mods in a year or so…. one can hope :)

  40. Retro42 says:

    One caveat for your readers is that the bugs are truly hit or miss. I’ve personally had very few issues playing the game. Multiplayer was a bit wonky to start but the last patch (they’ve been patching it DAILY) made things go alot smoother.

    I know other people who can’t even get the game started. XNA is truly an evil piece of work.

    Edit: Before I forget…Drop a few E,S,Q,Q,Q at your buddies feet once….Watch him reach lower Earth orbit.

  41. TheAntiHick says:

    First off: (sorry for being off topic) This is my first post ever on this website. I don’t know why I haven’t been using RPS for my PC gaming news like…always…but yeah. I was recently banned from Kotaku because I questioned one of their admins calling a 1:15 long video of his blank TV screen with a block of text complaining about missing a football game “news.” Four e-mails and 0 responses later, HERE I AM!!!.

    I think they did me a favor, honestly. Reading the posts here, and seeing all this delicious PC news that I was otherwise missing…god, I’m half hard just thinking about it.

    Anywho–in regard to magicka–I effing love this game, but unfortunately I’m one of the (apparently) majority who is having endless issues with multiplayer. I’ve tried Hamachi (why doesn’t the steam version have an option for hosting LAN games?), I’ve even put my router in DMZ mode. At this point I’m wondering if my ISP has randomly stuck me behind some lame firewall, or double NAT’ing me or some crap. But yeah.

    Great game, I don’t really regret the purchase (if it weren’t for the fact that I wish I’d rented a MNC server instead and bought magicka next month after all the inevitable patches), but…yeah. That’s it I guess. I’m a bit drunk. Wheeeeee!

    • Thants says:

      Welcome aboard!

    • MikoSquiz says:

      Kotaku is a hideous and mean-spirited parody of game journalism and has been for a long time. You’re better off out of it.

  42. Retro42 says:

    I just caught the line about the DLC in the article. It’s not that they are offering it for free because of issues. The “DLC” is just a new outfit for early purchasers. Like a pre-order bonus only good for the first month it’s out.

    • Wisq says:

      Yeah, the DLC offer has been around since before the game was released, so it wasn’t a response to the bugginess.

      … Unless they predicted the bugginess and figured it wouldn’t be fixed until the end of the month. Sneaky …

  43. Dodger says:

    Something that’s bugged me so far, and I don’t really understand – I’ve played through a few levels now, and all I’m seeing is fighting. Don’t get me wrong, the fighting is hilarious. I love to fight. But I’d also love some puzzles a la the tutorial as well. I’m finding the tutorial my favorite part of the game, simply because it forced me to think of uses for magic outside of combat.

    • Harlander says:

      Some puzzling elements would sure be nice, though I’m not sure how deep you could make them, since your arsenal is basically a series of different coloured bombs and lasers…

      Maybe something based on bouncing arcane beams off shields…

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Does anyone remember the game Legend back in the 90s? It had a similar magic system to Magicka, and when it wasn’t enormous brawling, it was all about puzzles. They were mainly about working out how you could get a certain “sort” of magic projectile to a certain place at the same time.

      (Its magic system was a little more complicated than Magicka in terms of individual atomic components – so you could do stuff like make a spell which hit and exploded into a series of other shots, meaning you could activate a load of stuff at once, etc.)

      Basically, you could merge something like that with the puzzles in something like the latest Lara game.

      Which would be interesting, but I suspect a very different game than Magicka is.


    • TimA says:

      Yes! I very nearly commented to bring up that game, but didn’t think anyone would remember it.

      I had it on Amiga and loved it. Spent ages on that mixing bowl, experimenting to create spells of varying degrees of explosiveness. The whole rune system was really enticing to me, I distinctly remember some of the shapes now, and my pleasure at just putting together missile+missile+missile+fire (or some such).

      I’d so love to dig that out and play it right now. I was so bad at it back then, though I’m sure I wouldn’t be any better now.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      I always remember it as a magic system entirely driven by capitalism. As in, yeah, your characters levelled, but all that really mattered is that you could buy ingredients.

      Also, the old AP observation that when the team ran around together, it looked like they were a Madness Tribute band.


    • TimA says:

      Haha, I’m looking at that review now, and grinning with nostalgia. Wonderful.

    • deejayem says:

      Man, now I’ve got Legend theme music in my head.
      Christ I was rubbish at that game.

  44. OldRat says:

    The adventure mode can be really assholish if you’re in single player. The game’s obviously designed for more than one player, sudden deaths and revive and whatnot. Many situations are as described in the article, you’re going to be swarmed by everything and murderized brutally. Even many of the spells have a geeful suicide element to them, and I was kinda sad I couldn’t partake in that element. Hell, even all the dialog talks about wizardS, not a single measly spellcaster. So, since the game put me against horrible odds, I kind of took it as a permission to use some of the more overpowered stuff to balance out the equation.

    And on that note, whoever designed the yetis is a horrible, horrible person. Let’s see, it’s fast as all hell, has somewhere around 6000 hitpoints, regenerates quickly and WILL kill you if it gets to grab you. Shield doesn’t matter, it WILL stuff you in its mouth and tear your head off. Your window of opportunity to break free is miniscule, and I don’t think I ever actually did it. And if you, say, light yourself on fire to prevent it from grabbing you? TOO BAD, NOW IT WILL MAUL YOU TO DEATH! And die you will, many times and many again, since first you’re thinking you just have to outdamage it. But you can’t, there’s literally not spell that’s quick enough to kill it before it closes the gap unless you know where the white hellbeast is going to come from and have everything prepared. So basically every yeti encounter is more than likely to make you see the DEFEATED text again. And there’s around three or four times you run into two at once.
    I finally managed to turn the damn things into a rain of blood with two possible tactics. The first is to spray it with water from maximum distance, then freeze it and unload the Ultimurder Beam (that’s steam-lightning-arcane) in its face. The second is to raise endless amounts of zombies to slowly whittle away at it. Which is actually kind of cathartic.
    Fortunately, the yetis only appear in a later level’s earlier half, and I could probably count them with my fingers, after which you’ll get to electrocute teleporting dwarves to death. Preferdably by getting them wet, since the midgets are all retarded and don’t realize their teleports really don’t mix well with water.

    My friend actually remarked that tactics in Magicka are kinda like sex: get them wet, then work your magic. I chuckled.

    • Xocrates says:

      Or you can use the sane approach of fighting yetis of spamming Haste and Teleport until you’re on the next screen.

  45. Mister_Inveigler says:

    Question…is this only really worth getting if you’re into multiplayer? Because I’d love to pick it up, looks like so much fun, but I don’t really know people who’re into multiplayer so I’m usually restricted to single. (None of my friends are really into gaming)

    • OldRat says:

      Well, you can play online with random people. Only the online play is kind of… faulty at the moment. Give it a month, then give it a whirl.

    • Mister_Inveigler says:

      But if the game requires a huge amount of cooperation and communication when multiplaying, playing with random people kind of sounds like a recipe for disaster. Or at least that’s how I see it. (I know nothing about multiplayer)

    • jackflash says:

      It’s worth getting, period, because it’s one of the best games of the past 12 months, and it’s ten bucks. That’s how much a beer costs in my neck of the woods.

  46. chakraist says:

    How do you walk left? I’ve always been confused.

    • Doesntmeananything says:

      It’s extremely easy! Just point the cursor to the left of your character and…

      Oh, you sly dog, you got me!

  47. MeestaNob says:

    Regarding the need for 4 players in multiplayer, I think Magicka multiplayer would be BRILLIANT if it had the AI Director from L4D scaling battles to the players skill/ability.

    • Dominic White says:

      Honestly, it doesn’t even need that. Just a couple of sliders that affect player and enemy stats, really. Enemies 25% slower with 50% less health would be perfect for solo play.

  48. Out Reach says:

    Go on the steam official forums Magicka section and you can only be impressed by Paradox. They have a representative there collecting bug details and community requests, replying to the players, telling people when the patches will be out, telling people in advance what will be in the patches. Also they’ve released a patch every 24 hours since launch.

    It’s a shame the game was launched with so many bugs, but you can’t fault paradoxes commitment to fixing them as soon as possible.

    The humor and pop culture references are top notch :)

  49. sneetch says:

    I just need to remember that healing goes on me and fire goes on the enemies and I’ll be the best player in the world.

    I really like this game, but I want to be able to play it with my friends without hearing, “hang on, I think I crashed” every few minutes.

  50. cytokindness says:

    Make sure you have the latest drivers for your videocard – that solved things for my computer.

    Does anyone know what the limit is supposed to be on the demo? It keeps stopping halfway through the Jormangur fight. I haven’t even *seen* the Beholder I’m supposed to get an achievement with.

    In addition to that, what’s the second element in the Rain spell? I can’t figure out what it is besides water. :(

    • Chris D says:

      I think the demo ends when you kill Jormungandr.

      The Beholder is way back at the end of the tutorial section.

      You can mix fire and water to create steam which is the second element for the rain spell.

    • Saiko Kila says:

      The demo seems to be timed, maybe with some random elements. During my first play it ended when fighting the serpent (it was half-dead), but during my second play it ended just before the fight.