by Joseph Leray
The first gameplay trailer for "Magicka: Wizard Wars" has been making the rounds for a few days. Timeliness notwithstanding, the original "Magicka" was so fun, and the uncontrolled mayhem promised by its unique spell system so intriguing, that I figure it warrants some attention.
Announced earlier this year, "Wizard Wars" is a competitive four-player game built around "Magicka"'s do-it-yourself spell system. Instead of pre-loaded spells, players are free to mix and match offensive and defensive abilities on the fly. You might, for example, combine certain rock and fire to hurl boulders at your enemies; get the ratio wrong -- as the trailer above suggests -- to accidentally crush everyone under a torrent of fire and brimstone.
In previous "Magicka" games, the unpredictably chaotic magic system complemented the single-player campaign's self-referential humor, but "Wizard Wars" is an arena battle game that developer Paradox North hopes will appeal to "Dota 2" and "League of Legends" players. (No, really: "With short rounds and unpredictable strategies, Wizard Wars gives both novice players and experienced MOBA veterans a unique tactical depth in every encounter.")
I tend to like games built around one interesting mechanic, but without more details it's hard to say if "Wizard Wars" will have the legs of its wildly popular, presumptive peers. My official recommendation, though, is to memorize a revive spell since you'll surely need it.
"Wizard Wars"' website is unfortunately devoid of a release date or likely platforms -- is a Mac version too much to ask, Paradox? -- but you can use it to sign up for the game's upcoming alpha. As more players sign up for the "Wizard Wars" alpha, new rewards will be unlocked, including a free copy of the original "Magicka."
Joseph Leray is a freelance writer from Nashville. Follow him on Twitter