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Magick Is An iPad Platformer Unlike Any You've Played Before

June 30, 2014

Magick ($0.99) by Ludonkey is a platformer that is designed for the iPad. If you loved the challenging old-school platformer games like Super Mario Bros. or even modern titles like VVVVVV, then you will love Magick.

I love a variety of games on iOS, but one of my favorite genres is definitely the platformer. These games are always simple, yet challenging, and quite addictive, especially as I grew up with them. So when I heard that Magick was coming out specifically for the iPad, I was really intrigued. Now that I’ve spent some time with it, I am not disappointed — fans of challenging platformers are going to love this one.

The visuals in Magick are absolutely delightful. If you grew up with the old-school classic consoles, such as the SNES and Sega Genesis, then you will love the 16-bit graphics that are in Magick. While everything is pixelated, the game’s castle environment, enemies and bosses, as well as your character sprite, are all incredibly detailed. It’s beautiful to look at, thanks to your Retina iPad screen. The animations are wonderfully smooth and fluid as well, and the soundtrack is a nice collection of haunting chiptunes and the sound effects are fun and quirky.

Magick tells the story of Oz, a young sorcerer who lives in a land taken over by an evil queen, who has declared magic illegal. Oz gets locked up in the darkest dungeon in the country, and your job is to help him escape.

In Magick, there is one game mode, of course, and it goes along with the traditional platformer style, where you have a limited amount of health, and you have a limited number of continues. If you run out of continues (using one will reset your score to zero), then the game ends and you’ll have to start over from the very beginning, just like in Super Mario Bros. Just like the good old days, there may be a lot of frustration with the first few rounds, but when you master the controls and familiarize yourself with the areas, things get a little easier.

Since this platformer is designed specifically for the iPad, you can expect some iPad-optimized controls. Oz will walk automatically, changing direction when he runs into a wall, or you can manually tap him to change his direction without wasting time. A tap-and-hold on the screen will make Oz stop running until you release your finger, which is useful when you need Oz to land on top of enemies to kill them. If you tap on the screen, you can conjure up crates out of nothing, helping Oz get across the dungeons.

Of course, you can’t just cover the entire area with boxes — you can only have one crate on the screen at a time, and they don’t like fire, so watch out. You’ll have to place the boxes down at just the right time to help Oz cross big gaps, break his fall (he loses a heart if he falls more than two blocks), and get him up into places he couldn’t reach on his own. If you place a new box down, the previous one disappears, or you can tap on the old box to get rid of it.

To make things more difficult, each area will be timed, so you only have so many seconds to reach the door or passageway leading to the next area. Once the timer runs out, a ghost will be unleashed that will turn you into an undead if you touch it. Completing levels will also earn you some cash, depending on how much time is left and the remaining health of Oz. The cash can be spent in the shop once you unlock it each game, where you can purchase more hearts and even continues.

Magick is split up into five chapters, with 12 levels in each. It may not seem like much, things get pretty tricky as you advance through the dungeon. You’ll also have to restart if you fail too much, so make sure to stock up on the continues. At the end of each chapter, you’ll also have a boss fight to deal with, which can get you a new companion power on your journey.

The companions are important, because they grant Oz special talents. For example, the first one you’ll get is a cat, which can see in the dark and can fall from greater heights without getting hurt. When you find a spell, you can activate it for a brief amount of time by tapping on button along the bottom of the screen.

So far, I’m loving Magick. The visuals are awesome, and the music is charming. I love the intuitive controls as well, as it makes the game very simple to pick up, but like all platformers, it’s difficult to master. Magick is also very reminiscent of the old-school games that I grew up with, so there’s a sense of nostalgia when I play. I just wish that the game didn’t go through all the tutorial stuff each time you have to start over.

I highly recommend checking out Magick if you’re a traditional platformer fan. You can find Magick on the iPad App Store for $0.99 for a limited time only (normally $1.99).

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Terry Cavanagh

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