Quicklook is up and now seems the right time to talk about this game.
Never before have I had so much patience for a game than for Magicka, my friends and I have been attempting to play some 4-player coop since launch, we've played the first chapter probably about 15+ times trying to get through it without one or more of us crashing to desktop, lagging out, getting stuck under the map or some other game breaking bug and yet we still have a massive amount of fun for the 20 minutes at a time we can get all 4 of us together.
Then we learnt the mechanics. This game is a prime example of a game that loses a lot of its fun once you learn how to play properly, you know all the combinations and fights devolve into 'combine beams and destroy everything in seconds because there's no point in using anything else.'
Don't get me wrong, the references are great, the humour is fantastic, the voicework is hilarious and the innovation this game makes with the spells is a refreshing change from the same old games and their sequels that have been released recently.
The first 5 or so hours of gameplay are some of the most fun I've had in a long time, dropping a meteor shower for the first time, laying landmines and blowing a teammate right off the map, combining opposing beams and gibbing yourself and everyone around you for massive damage, dropping a shield around your team and causing their beam to bounce back and kill you all, all these things are great fun the first few times.
It may sound weird but we were having more fun when the game was broken, we didn't care about finishing the levels because we knew that we wouldn't make it to the end so we just sat around experimenting with spells for a while and moving on to the next area every 5 - 10 minutes. Now that the game is fairly stable and we can reach the end reliably enough it just feels like we're wasting time if we're not making it through as efficiently as possible. It starts getting frustrating when a teammate blows you up because they should know what spell they have stored and how to use it safely, you realise that you can finish any situation with haste and beam spells, using anything else is simply slower and more dangerous.
Perhaps it's just me, when playing with friends I much prefer a game when it's new, when we're all learning the mechanics together and having a blast while doing it, the second the game gives me an objective I get serious and do my best to do it as quickly and as efficiently as possible and that just doesn't translate well to this game.
I won't get too much into the challenge mode, I haven't played a lot of it online but it seems to be very similar to the Last Stand mode from Dawn of War 2, perhaps that would be much more suited to my playstyle, I can play to the best of my ability and be rewarded by achieving the highest score I possibly can.
All in all, this game is great, the whole concept of having almost every spell available from the start is amazing if a little flawed in that there are very few combinations actually worth using. The game is solid when playing singleplayer but the multiplayer is where it really shines broken or not. With no join-in-progress option the crashes can be frustrating but i'm confident that the online will be fixed soon enough. The references, while fun at times sometimes feel very forced, as if random encounters were just squeezed inbetween actual story parts just to fit a reference that they wanted to add.
That felt like a poor end to this post so I added this sentence.