Have You Played... Magicka?
Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.
QFQFSAA + M2. I just made a double steam arcane double lightning beam, and now you’re dead. Oh, you were on my team? Crap.
Magicka does away with mana and cooldowns, allowing up to four wizards to cast spells as quickly as they can hammer on their keyboards. Eight letters correspond to eight different elements, which can be combined together and cast in different ways to create a bewildering array of spell effects.
The game launched with a campaign mode that was best enjoyed with a full complement of friends. That’s partly because of how many opportunities there were for clever team play, like combining beams together for devastating effect. Mostly, though, it’s because of the even greater opportunities for calamity if you get things slightly wrong: throw in the wrong element to help with your friend’s spell and it might explode in their face.
As great as the co-op was, I had the most fun in the PVP mode that got added later. The hours I spent with it paved the way for the many, many more hours I’d spend with Invoker in Dota 2, who uses a similar element combining system. Magicka came out in 2011, but as I sit here now I can still feel my fingers twitching towards the button combinations needed to cast my favourite spells.
SAFE + middle mouse button: I’ve got a shield protecting me from 3 different elements.
ARSE + Shift + M2: I’ve summoned freezing mines in a circle around me.
ASA + Spacebar: I’ve teleported out of that circle.
SRRQRS + Spacebar: I’ve summoned the grim reaper, and he’s heading for the nearest character with low health.
It’s me. I’m dead. Those last two were Magicks, special element combinations that have powerful, unique effects. You need to memorise them from a book, which makes you feel - just a little bit - like an actual real life wizard.