PAX East 2014: Magicka: Wizard Wars Demo Impressions

Interested in multiplayer, fast patched, twitch action? Why not check out Magicka Wars, from Paradox a PvP follow-up to Magicka.
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This PAX East, I played Paradox’s newest edition to the Magicka franchise, Magicka: Wizard Wars. Fans of the series have long-lauded it for it’s over the top, irreverent humor as well as the ease of play, and this newest edition to the franchise does not disappoint. 

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To start off with, calling Magicka: Wizard Wars a MOBA is doing a disservice to the game and fundamentally altering what you would expect from it. From the people manning the booth, I got a couple euphemistic sounding titles, like “action PvP” and “spellcasting battle arena,” and my personal addition: “MOBA-ish.” In fact, Magicka Wars is an engaging game that is most easily likened to the multi-player experiences commonly attached to single player games. 

The version I was able to play at PAX 2014 was a “Capture the Point” map, pairing off teams of 4 against 4 other players. Each team consists of wizards in the classic Magicka cowl. Instead of the 5 element slots that make up spells in the original game, players have only 3 elements they can combine. 

Unlike the MOBA’s I’ve played (I’m looking at you League), Magicka: Wizard Wars can be incredibly forgiving in terms of down time. If I’m in a losing streak in League of Legends, I could eat a yogurt in the time it takes to respawn, but it’s under 10 seconds in Magicka: Wizard Wars. This leads to the riskier, ballsier game play as well as a twitchier response from the speed of play. 

Also, friendly fire, a component of the original Magicka is still in play. Mess up a spell (and you will, it’s Magicka) and you can fry your team mates as well as your opponents with frozen lightning. 

Currently, you can find Magicka: Wizard Wars on Steam Early Access, with a wider release planned for summer. If you’re interested in fast paced game play, the same irreverent humor as the original, and the PvP multiplayer modes then you should definitely check it out. 

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Amanda Wallace
Former rugby player, social media person, and occasional writer.