Saturday, November 19, 2011


Remember when I played the Magicka demo and made a post about it?  Well thanks to a free weekend on Steam, I've beaten the full game now, and I'm back to offer my thoughts again.

The demo is an older version of the game, and several things regarding how various elements work have changed since then.  The area cast Shield, then spam heal mines trick no longer works.  Earth and Ice armors no longer hold you in place when you cast them, but you do move more slowly.  That's really about all I noticed.

The game is set in a satirical fantasy setting.  It makes references to a lot of things.  Just the ones I noticed, in no particular order:
  • Star Trek - There's an enemy you fight named Khan, and NPC dialogue just before the fight concludes with "KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!"
  • Back to the Future - you get sent back in time partway through the game, when this happens you get the achievement "88mph"
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail - The druids shout "Shrubbery!", "Ni!", and "Ecky!", and there's an achievement called "Blue!  No... Yellow!" that you can get while selecting your robe color.  I got it by selecting blue, then yellow (lol).
  • SkiFree - Remember that old Windows 3.1 game?  Where once you got past a certain distance a yeti would come and eat you?  Well, that happens in the game.  A soldier skis down a hill, goes over a rainbow colored ramp, lands, and gets eaten by a yeti.  Then you have to fight the yeti to avoid being eaten yourself.  Here's a hint: fire.
  • Guitar Hero - Believe it or not, there's a staff in the game that grants fire immunity and a resistance aura, and in its description it says "'Through the fire and flames' - 100% guaranteed".
  • Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time - When you use your first checkpoint, you get a fairy. This fairy will resurrect you if you die (only once, the second time you go back to your last checkpoint), and periodically gives you useless gameplay tips after saying "Hey! Listen!".  Also, a general reference, you can find the master sword, and it shoots a projectile when you're at full health.
There are a whole host of weapons available in the game, which you can switch to as you come across them.  I didn't really pay attention to them past a certain point, because I settled on a weapon setup that worked well for me.  So well, in fact, that any time I died and lost one or both of them, I'd purposely die again to load back at the last checkpoint.

Rather early on in the game, a village that manufactures gunpowder gets attacked, and if you save it without any of the five houses being destroyed, you get the M60.  It's a machine gun.  That takes your melee weapon slot.  It doesn't deal a heck of a lot of damage, but you can just keep firing.  A lot of enemies are vulnerable to it, or can be made vulnerable to it.

A fair distance after that you kill an enemy that has a Staff of War that doubles your HP and has an Arcane Bolt active ability.  I used this up until I got...

...the Daemon Arm.  It doesn't offer any active ability, but it gives your beam spells infinite duration.  Without it the beam will just stop after a while and you'll have to recast it.  With this, you can just keep on beam spamming.

One of the things I like about Magicka is its lack of a mana bar.  This makes each fight more about skill and knowledge of the elements, and less about "oh I wish I could cast the spell that would end this but I don't have enough mana".  It helps greatly towards the end of the game where it starts getting really frustratingly difficult.

On that note, the game does have a decent difficulty curve.  At the beginning it's easy and you have a lot of opportunity to play around with the elements and what spells you can make, then as it progresses you start encountering more and more enemies with elemental resistances, immunities, or armor that needs to be destroyed, and you need to know exactly what you need to be doing at any given moment.  Giving yourself elemental immunities becomes very important towards the end of the game, especially so in the final boss fight (both phases of it!).

A rather fun thing I had to do towards the end was effectively dropping enemies into lava.  You're going through a room with tons of lava that you have to use aoe frost spells to solidify so you can cross it, and there's enemies waiting for you on all the platforms.  Including the annoying guys with the instant kill rocks.  I would get their attention with my M60 and lead them back out onto the solidified lava, then shoot fire at them to un-solidify the lava and drop them into it.  It might be cheap, but hey, if they're going to spam instant kill rocks at me in an area with limited room to dodge, I declare free license to drop them into lava.

One of my go-to spells when there were lots of enemies around is the ARSE mines.  Yeah, those are the keys you press to make the spell.  They could be in any order, but it's more fun to call them ARSE mines.  Anyway, they have lightning and frost in them, so they deal a fair amount of damage and slow enemies down, which helps as you're trying to run around dodging instant kill rocks.

One of the great things about this game is that there isn't really a set method for getting through most of it, leaving you free to experiment with the magic system.  You know, the magic system that was designed to be experimented with.

Throughout the game you get Magicks as well.  These are specific element sequences that you enter and cast by pressing the spacebar.  These range from being overlookable, to helpful and useful, and finally to required to get through certain parts of the game.  I came pretty close to getting them all (for the vast majority you have to find books to learn them, which can be hidden).

The game offers up a lot of achievements to get, some of which contribute references (as I previously mentioned).  A fair amount of them can be obtained just through normal gameplay.  Others I got because of repeated failures meaning I racked up more kills (the "overkill 1000 enemies" and "kill 1000 enemies with firearms" achievements).

When you begin you can select a robe, and the different ones do different things, including affecting your starting weaponry.  I beat the game with the Vanilla Robes that don't do anything special, and I have another game started up with the Space Marine robe, just so I could get the "have trouble choosing a robe color" and "die while wearing a yellow robe" achievements.

Normal post ends here, spell bullshit after the break.

ARSE - as previously mentioned, lightning-frost mines.  Useful any way you can cast them.  Especially in the goblin aristocrats fight, area cast them in the middle before the next wave comes and then teleport out of the ring.  The next wave will get blown up, pick off stragglers and re-lay mines for the next wave.

QFQFSAA, staff or area cast - One of the highest damaging beams in the game, the steam-lightning beam.  Steam wets the enemies and lightning gets a damage boost by shocking wet enemies.  Area cast, it's a great way to kill stuff around you, though a bit cumbersome since you have to type it in repeatedly...

QFQFEAA, sword cast - The cousin of the steam-lightning beam, the steam-lightning shield!  I use it from behind a regular shield to dispatch those annoying eye things.

DQRQRQRQR, charge cast - high damage ice ball.  Can take out stuff in one or two hits usually, when fully charged.

DSQRQRQR, charge cast - slight variation of the above, but with an explosion radius.


QFASA - Great for dispatching single enemies.  Spamming this is how I got through the mind battle with Grimnir.  Use a water shield (EQ) since the druids in the second battle like to make it rain.

I don't remember the keys for it, but Summon Elemental - Don't even bother trying to get through Fafnir's place without this.  There's too much bullshit.  It's in a side room after you get past the yetis and the groups of dwarves (the room where you get yelled at for intruding).  Defeat the eyeball thing and go in the room behind it.  After summoning it, hit it with the element you want it to be.  This excludes Shield and Earth (and maybe the advanced elements, Steam and Ice?).  You'll also fight these guys when you get sent to the area where you encounter Death, and you can choose their element there as well.  If you don't choose one and walk close enough, it will gain a random element and come after you.

Death strategy:
  • Two words: Healing Mines.
  • Two more words: Area Cast.
  • One last word: Constantly.
Grimnir/Assatur strategy:
  • This fight gets a lot easier if you have either the M60 or the Daemon Arm.  Prefer the M60, as it lets you ignore Grimnir's shield he uses periodically.
  • After beating Vlad (again), scroll through your list of magicks until Corporealize is shown.  You have a small time window to cast this to shift the fight to its second phase, so you might as well have it up to remind yourself how to cast it.
  • Now, before running up to Grimnir, self-cast EFA for a fire-lightning shield.  Sometimes he'll make it rain, but it doesn't always happen.  Keep this shield up at all times during the fight, even if it means having to quickly put up an EQ water shield so you can conjure lightning safely.
  • Engage Grimnir.  Use your best spells on him and avoid getting knocked off the side if at all possible.  If you don't have the M60, watch out for when he uses a shield.  The M60 will just tear through the shield...
  • You're immune to everything that the ghosts are going to throw at you, but you'll get knocked around a bit and that will damage you.  So don't forget to heal periodically, and watch out for tornados.
  • Once you get Grimnir's health all the way down, it's time to use Corporealize.  Cast it quickly enough to fight Assatur.  Otherwise, the fight starts over and Grimnir's health gets refilled.
  • As soon as you can move, get your shield back up.  Continue to keep it up during the fight with Assatur.
  • Quickly run over to just below the place where Grimnir was "hanging out".  This will provide a physical barrier against the uncounterable blue spell Assatur uses.  You should take 300-400 damage from it at most.
  • Use your best beam spells on Assatur (or lay into him with the M60).
  • After taking damage, renew your shield and heal yourself.  He uses the spell often enough that your shield shouldn't run out, but make sure to keep an eye on its bar and recast it if necessary.
  • You'll need to thaw yourself with fire after he casts Blizzard.  Shame we can't get frost/ice immunity in with fire immunity...
  • It may take a while, especially if you don't have either the M60 or the Daemon Arm, but eventually he'll go down.  You'll get two "level complete" screens, then the credits roll.  Make sure to examine the moose in the credits for achievement progress!

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