Magicka: Wizard Wars – Preview (PC)

You Shall Not Pass!

Just when the MOBA genre was beginning to stagnate, ParadoxNorth brings a new contender into the mix with Magicka: Wizard Wars, a competitive online PvP title that will have you spell-weaving fun in no time.

Each player controls a faceless mage with the ability to mix up to three separate elements from a selection of eight into a unique spell before casting it on their foes, or on themselves with different results. Each spell has a strength and a counter. Players can buy different items to equip in their load-out which alter the stats of their mage – these can be purchased with real money or in-game currency, Melee weapons are also available, because when all else fails an axe to the face is as good a way as any to come out on top. Each mage can also unlock four abilities that become available as they earn points. These abilities become increasingly more destructive;  unleashing a meteor strike with a maxed out ability bar has many times turned the game one way or the other.

The Magicka series has always been designed to be easy to pick-up and play, but difficult to master, and Wizard Wars is no different. Our first few games were a chaotic button mashing frenzy with enough spells being cast to make Harry Potter dizzy. The game doesn’t include an in-depth tutorial and pretty much all learning is done at the expense of being repeatedly exploded or disintegrated by more knowledgeable wizards. Finally getting a grasp of the mechanics and feeling like you wield some sort of power is rewarding until you inevitably realize you have just scratched the surface of the game.We witnessed expert players take on three other wizards and beautifully counter each attack before returning fire in what was an inspiring and magnificent display of skill. Knowing the potential of your wizard gives you something to aspire to as you play, and really makes you focus in each game. Mindlessly spamming the same spells will see your life end quickly and players are rewarded with smart plays that are executed quickly.

The meat of Magicka: Wizard Wars is in its t 4v4 gameplay. The objective of the game is to capture and hold all spawn-points to stop the other team from respawning. Alternatively, you can grind the enemy team down until they have no respawn tickets left. The way you go about achieving these goals is entirely up to you. There is also a duel mode where you can test your wizardry skills in the truest form of PvP – one on one battles to the death. These match-ups are best of 5 rounds with each round ending when a player is killed. Although it offers a great way to practice your skills,it lacks the spontaneous intensity that warfare mode delivers. Players can also enter training mode and practice spells on a dummy which again is useful to get more familiar with the game and it’s mechanics. However we recommend just diving into the deep end and let the madness ensue.

Magicka is packed full of colour and each spell has it’s own particle effects which can be easily identified and provides some order to the chaos visually. Humour is prevalent in the title and is reflected with the graphics so that even when your character is turned to dust it still leaves a grin on your face.

Magicka: Wizard Wars is not a perfect game, not yet anyway but it is shaping up to put some ripples in the MOBA world with it’s fast-paced gameplay and heavy emphasis on skill.

Magicka: Wizard Wars is available on Steam.