Monday, January 31, 2011

gaming Update with a little bit of Magicka

Magicka is getting a lot of press recently and rightly so. Paradox interactive's spell-fest is a riot of cleverness and fun, or at least it should be if you don't encounter one of the many bugs reported. I waited about a week to buy the game and I haven't encountered any bugs yet in the single player game, I guess they have been busy patching it. I still recommend the game strongly though, for only a tenner on Steam it is a steal. Of particular note is the sublime spell system. You start with eight basic spell elements (and at least one hidden one) that can be combined in thousands of ways to make new spells. You will need nimble fingers as well as a quick brain to pull off these combinations in the heat of battle, a feat that is made all the more challenging by the fact that there is full friendly fire leading to plenty of stray fireballs roasting yourself or your team mates. The humorous tone of the game makes it all hilarious anarchic fun. Be warned though, the single player campaign is brutally difficult with mob levels that seem to have been designed for groups and an extremely miserly checkpoint system. You play a very squishy wizard who has access to some ridiculously powerful spells but who is facing ridiculously overpowered foes. If you know what you are doing things just about balance out but the slightest error can leave you splattered in an instant.

Previous to Magicka I played a bit of Brothers in Arms: The Road to Hill 30, bought in a Steam sale. This squad based shooter was well reviewed when it came out some years ago but I have to say I didn't enjoy this as much as I expected. Partly this is because it is "yawn" yet another WW2 games featuring the US Normandy campaign but  I also struggled to find an enjoyable difficulty setting. On the easier settings My character was near indestructible and could kill all the enemies solo.  On more difficult settings you really really need your squads but their AI and path finding is so terrible so you cannot expect them to do any clever outflanking. There just doesn't seem to be a happy medium.

Apart from PC gaming I have spent a fair bit of time experimenting with my Android phone. I am not really into mobile gaming even though I did do the obligatory download of Angry Birds. Nevertheless there was big new recently with the move of online gaming portal "Kongregate" into the mobile gaming space with a new Android web portal. 

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