Platform: PC (reviewed)
Developer: Arrowhead Game Studios
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
H.P. Lovecraft's grand works will stand the test of time as truly exceptional examples of effective horror writing... and geek culture has accepted him with open arms. Cthulhu is a household name as well a plushie. Shub-Niggurath, The Goat With A Thousand Young, appears as a boss in the original Quake. Games are permeated by his insidious, wonderful influence... and while we respect his stories, they're certainly ripe for parody.
Magicka, one of the rare parody games that actually provides an excellent gameplay experience as well as belly laughs, is definitely the game for the job.
I don't think that Magicka really has a 'canon' as such, but for what it's worth, The Stars Are Left takes place a few years after the original campaign. The four heroes are now enjoying their well-deserved retirement (sporting rather fetching detective trenchcoats and magnifying glass staffs, no less) and living the high life... and on cue, Vlad - who is not, I repeat not a vampire - reappears to task them with a new quest. A new evil is stirring in Outsmouth, and it's up to the magi to put down their cocktails and pick up their staffs for some more From there, The Stars Are Left propels players through a hilarious and meaty three-mission campaign complete with new environments, two massive new bosses and a sense of humour that riffs on everything from Lovecraft to Minecraft. Arrowhead know how to make a genuinely funny game - and the humour is derived from both silly jokes and surprisingly thoughtful use of the source material.
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