Armed with all the elemental knowledge I had gleaned from years of raising Pokemon, I spawn with the utmost confidence- I mean how hard can a game based on rock paper scissor-esque elemental battles really be? I stroll over to my opponent, and zap him with a well timed water spell, but to my surprise he’s already thrown up a shield. I start to panic, I hastily combine a few hap-hazard spells in an attempt to launch a second attack but before I know it…ZAP! My chirpy little blue wizard has been engulfed in flames. I think its fairly safe to say that this game is slightly more complex than Pokemon…
For those of you who don’t know your Magicka from your Magic The Gathering, Magicka: Wizard Wars is a PVP MOBA spin off of the much loved single player adventure game – Magicka, and like the original, revolves around epic spell casting battles between vertically challenged wizards.
As you may have gathered from my epic fail earlier, Wizard Wars encourages you to constantly combine different elements in order to create just the right spell that will exploit your enemy’s weaknesses. Combining fire and shields for example creates a wall of fire, and combining water and electricity has equally predictable results, but what happens when you combine healing and electricity? Or Fire and water? Wizard Wars actively encourages you to experiment, and indeed you’ll need to in order to survive. The rush to create the perfect spell in that split second before your opponent is unlike anything else in gaming, and is hugely entertaining. Luckily, there is no MP or magic bar to be found, so you can cast to your hearts content without fear of being interrupted by pesky error messages or magic bars delepting. You also get rechargeable super spells, that do everything from revive your fallen team mates, to rain down meteor showers on your opponents – needless to say, they were pretty awesome.
While the gameplay may sound like a weird fit for PVP at first, The frantic nature of combining spells results in surprisingly tactical showdowns, and not only is it extremely exhilarating to play – but this mechanic fits the MOBA format like a magically-tailored glove.
In my time with the game, I faced off against a single opponent in a base-holding mode showdown. The aim of the game was unsurprisingly to capture the enemy’d flag, and you are given a team of tiny minions to assist you in your task. These little minions don’t pack a lot of damage, but are a pretty handy way to distract your enemy while you figure out the perfect spell to fry them with. As well as the pressures of predicting your opponent’s spells and countering them, the added pressure of watching out for your flag made the game pretty intense – and this was only with 2 players participating. The full game will support up to 8 players, with two teams of four battling it out for control of the three points,which seems like it will lead to some particularly spectacular battles.
After the much loved quirky single player action RPG Magicka charmed its way into PC gamers hearts, I don’t think many predicted that the series would go on to spawn a free to play PVP MOBA spin off. After playing a couple of rounds however, it becomes abundantly clear that Magicka’s spell combination mechanic lends itself to PVP perfectly.
Get ready to don your cape and wizard hat once again, as Magicka: Wizard Wars is shaping up to be a truly fun and unashamedly different,MOBA PVP experience.