I’ve got a secret to share with you all: it turns out that I’ve got the magic in me. Every time I touch a track I turn it into gold. It’s a blessing and a curse, really. This is why Magicmaker is a perfect game for people like me; it’s very true to life in the sense that it allows players to command immense and terrifying arcane powers. What’s more, those of you who are, shall we say, eldritch-challenged can get a taste of what it’s like to be a wizard through Magicmaker. The game’s doing a public service, really.
The wizarding world has fallen upon hard times in Magicmaker. Your unemployed spellcaster’s forced to head to a temp agency to look for a job. This lands our hero a gig as a security guard for a local wizarding community college, an affordable and practical centre of higher education for in-state students with a predilection for robes. Naturally, you’ll be carrying out your duties with a variety of mighty (and not-so-mighty) magical spells. The twist that Magicmaker brings to the table is that each of these spells is fully customizable, allowing you to wield arcana of your own design!
Your wizard is armed with a wand, several spells and a magic robe. Each of these can be customized to your liking; your wand provides free but low-power magic, spells cost mana but pack vastly more punch and your robe is your primary defense against nasties. To design a spell, you’ll slap various components onto it to apply different effects. For example, a crystal ball can lend homing properties to your spell, explosive powder can cause a bang and vampire teeth can add a life-draining property; you can also set a spell as an “enchantment,” removing any damaging properties but amplifying the power of non-damaging properties. Meanwhile, on a robe you might add a ninja sword to allow quick martial arts dashes or some fire essence to leave a trail as you run around.
Proceeding through the game’s levels will unlock more and more customization options in the form of more components and more component slots. Eventually you’ll be causing a massive conflagration of death at all times. It’s incredibly satisfying. You can even customize the look of your spells and wizard. Magicmaker really encourages you to play the way you want and this proves to be the game’s main appeal.
Missions you’ll conquer using your freshly-designed powers largely revolve around destroying baddies and props, collecting goodies and various combinations of the above. An interesting touch is that several missions rely around self-control; while it’s certainly easy to lay waste to entire levels at a time, it takes a lighter touch to only destroy certain enemies while sparing others, for instance, especially when the targets to be spared are still trying to attack you! You’re also able to explore the game’s various environments at your leisure to collect more components or practice with your spells.
Aesthetically, the game employs a minimalist art style, except when it comes to your spells, which can grow to incredibly bombastic proportions. Swathes of cutesy clip-art foes will be fried underneath your arcane wrath. It is, again, extremely cathartic. The game also offers a fair amount of humor and a wry wit that spices up the between-mission text a bit.
At around $10, Magicmaker is an easy game to recommend. It’s fantastic for quick hour-long sessions where you pop into the game, blow off some steam by disintegrating flocks of fairies with mighty spells, then pop off. It’s absolutely worth a shot. By the way, that’s basically my life: disintegrating flocks of fairies with mighty spells. It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it. Actually, who am I kidding? Setting fairies ablaze isn’t tough at all. Try it sometime, maybe after you’re done trying Magicmaker.