Magicite. Enjoyably Tough Roguelike, or Maddeningly Unfair?
Magicite – Reviewed
By Nathaniel Liles
Of all the games I’ve been tasked with playing here at Cliqist, not a single one has brought me as much anger and frustration as Magicite. Now, as you guys may know, I am not a fan of games that rely entirely on difficulty as their one selling point, and as far as I’m concerned, that’s all that Magicite has going for it. Mediocre visuals, a convoluted, nonsensical, and incredibly limited crafting system, no direction or guidance of any kind, little to no overarching progress, and staggering, soul-crushing difficulty make this one of my least favorite games of all time. While it may not be a bad game for everyone, I’m going to fill you in on exactly how frustrating this game is so you can make an informed decision whether or not to add this to your collection. Let’s begin.
My first impressions of Magicite were actually extremely positive. I was charmed by the graphics, and the idea of a “go as far as you can then try again” roguelike wasn’t something I was opposed to. I love games like Rogue Legacy, but in Rogue Legacy, every time you fail and start back at the beginning, you have something to show for it. You have a new weapon to craft, a new skill to use, or some gold to up your stats. Magicite has a system similar to this, but most of what you unlock is either randomly generated or preposterously hard to unlock. There’s no currency, your stats don’t increase between playthroughs, and the unlocks have requirements like “20% chance of unlock when you kill X amount of enemies in a single life”. 20%?! No. Not going to do some tedious, difficult task over and over in the hopes that I’m doing it right and will eventually be rewarded.
The graphics and sound are almost impossible to comment on because they’re the definition of standard. This is one of those “love letters to the genre” that any trained game dev could pump out in a week, and the graphics are uninspired. Pig looks like a pig. Bear looks like a non-descript lump of brown. Giant bee looks like a giant bee, but even the quality of the artwork is low. The music is simple, mystical-sounding chiptune throughout. Not much to see here, but nothing to complain about.
The crafting system is probably the most half-assed part of this game. What do you think you’d get when you mix two sticks together? Sword? Bow? Pickaxe? Clumsy pair of scissors? Nope. Axe handle. Adding another stick to that makes it a pick handle. Adding another stick makes it a bow. Combine that with the fact that items have limited durability and losing your axe means you can’t chop down any trees until you make another one (out of wood, which comes from trees), and you’ve got a convoluted excuse for a crafting system that never goes any deeper than “shift+click these two items and hope you didn’t just ruin your playthrough”.
I started one match in a medium sized cave between a wall and a boss. On level one. I started another where things were going just fine, but the enemies moved so quickly and did so much damage that I only lasted 45 seconds. You’re supposed to kill enemies, level up, craft things, and avoid a 7-minute time limit all at the same time with pitiful attacks and nightmarishly strong enemies that move faster than you and can literally kill you in three hits or less even if you luck into a high HP stat. Magicite will only appeal to the deepest, most occult parts of the “hardcore gamer” culture, but even if you enjoy the difficulty, there’s nothing for you here. Every single element of Magicite is a watered down lift of another game’s claim to fame, and the only thing that makes Magicite notable or unique is its staggering unfairness and lack of content.
[box type=”info” align=”aligncenter” ]Recently, I reviewed the new roguelike/craft-a-thon Magicite, and after playing for half an hour, looking up item lists, memorizing recipes, and watching higher-level gameplay, I decided on my opinions of the game. I didn’t like it, in short, but my journalistic integrity was attacked after someone snooped into my Steam account and looked at how long I played the game. I had no interest in hiding it, because I was able to experience just about all the content within that half hour, but since people seem to think I half-ass my job, I put in the legwork and played Magicite for a total of 16 hours over the last week or so since the review was written. So, did my opinions change? Did I take a look inside myself and discover that I had some sort of established bias that caused me to hate Magicite before I even started playing it?
Of course I didn’t. Prior to playing Magicite, I had absolutely no knowledge of it. I didn’t get on the hype train, I didn’t read or watch reviews of it, and I didn’t do any research prior to starting the game so I could avoid bias, and I definitely didn’t have some vendetta against the game. I played it for half an hour at first, thought to myself “Surely this isn’t it!” and then researched the game’s later levels to find out that it was exactly the shallow, unrewarding experience that it was when I set out to play it I the first place. I didn’t enjoy Magicite for the first 30 minutes, and I didn’t enjoy it for the last 16 hours.
I’m not condemning the game, although its abysmal lack of content may do that for me. This game is needlessly hard, and although I eventually got quite good at it, the time required to do that was not worth the time that I took out of my life to explore all of the game’s content. You don’t sit down to watch a shitty movie and after 30 minutes think, “Ya know, it probably gets better after this.” It doesn’t. You don’t dig into a meal that makes you nauseous after the first bite. I don’t feel any need to re-review Magicite because every point I made in my original review stands. [/box]
[Google][pinterest][follow id=”Cliqist” size=”large” count=”true” ]
[author image=”http://cliqist.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/nathaniel.jpg”] Nathaniel Liles is a freelance writer, writing major, and indie musician based in Southern Indiana. While procrastinating or avoiding real-world responsibility, Nathaniel enjoys playing rhythm games, action RPGs, and very colorful games with many bright, flashing lights. You can listen to Nathaniel sing songs or download his music for free at http://nathanielliles.bandcamp.com/. [/author]