Magicka - Wizards of the Square Tablet is the latest game from Paradox Interactive. the same publisher that released the Magicka action-adventure game for PC a few years ago. The game let you mess around with different elements to cast spells with varied effects, which often resulted in awesome spell combos. The tablet version of the game promises a new adventure with the same kind of spellcasting system that made the original so much fun. Does it deliver on its promises? Or does this game just spell disaster?

Magicka tells the story of a bunch of hooded wizards who hold great power over the forces of nature and do their best to study and augment their skills. One day, an evil spirit dives into the body of the red-robed wizard and starts to cause havoc. The red mage and his buddies must go on a quest to defeat the evil spirit within and stop the forces of darkness that are attracted to it from attacking villagers in the surrounding area. They'll have to use every spell in their arsenal to beat back the baddies and they might even have to resort to teaming up with certain third parties of the undead variety.

For the most part, Wizards of the Square Tablet does the best it can to transfer the experience from the original Magicka to the slightly smaller screens of iPads and similar Android devices. Instead of fighting in a 3D world from a top-down perspective, you're now on a 2D, side-scrolling plane with enemies coming at your from either side. On the bottom of the screen are seven orbs and a spellbook. The orbs represent the elements of Earth, Fire, Cold, Life, Lightning, Water, and Shield. The spellbook keeps track of the different Magicks, or spells, that you can cast by using specific combinations of these elements.

You can cast up two four elements at a time, all with varying effects. For example, tapping Cold + Life results in a beam of ice, tapping Shield + Earth produces mines on the ground, and tapping Fire + Lightning + Lightning + Fire creatures a thunder storm! The spells and their many combinations are the stars of the game and will have people tapping each one just to see how they interact with each other. It's always cool to see that Fire + Water will become steam and that using Water to drench foes will make them more susceptible to Lightning damage.

And you'll have plenty of chances to use your spells as you make your way across each stage on the map. They might not be very long (each stage takes about five minutes to complete), but they are definitely rife with enemies on which you can experiment. See that troll coming at you? Use a spray of Water to soak him down and the blow some Cold on him to freeze him in ice! Then you're free to grab him with telekinetic powers, draw him in closer to you, and unload with beams of electricity by combining Lightning + Life magic!

You'll carve a swath through the different maps with your powers, fighting bosses, learning Magicks, and receiving coins called crowns. These crowns can be used in the game's shop to purchase buff-bestowing equipment such as new staves, robes, and even familiars that will float around you. These can range from the mundane, such as the double staff, to the completely off-kilter, like the Gunfish familiar, which is a floating goldfish with a gun barrel coming out of its mouth.

You can either earn these crowns by playing the game and progressing through the levels or you can buy them with cashy-money through the shop. And as much as I hate in-app purchases, this shop isn't so bad since it doesn't require you to purchase anything to make it through the game.

As enjoyable as it is to combine spells and see their effects on the highly-flammable and oh-so-conductive members of the bad guy population, Wizards of the Square Tablet also has some major downers that keep it from being something really special.

While some people might enjoy its cartoony character designs, sometimes they come off feeling like a cheap Flash game. The fact that a lot of the enemies come in the same packaging most of the time doesn't help this fact, since they just look like reskinned versions of baddies you've already killed.

Then there's the finicky multiplayer suite which would not let me connect to any games. I'm sure it's fun to play with a friend and even hurl a fireball or two at them. but I wasn't able to feel that kind of joy since every time I connected it dropped me after five seconds.

Still, you can't beat the great spellcasting gameplay that Magicka has to offer, and since it's only $1.99, you won't be breaking the bank for the loads of fun you'll receive in return! Not all of the spells it casts may be effective, but it's still a great game to play.


App Store Link: Magicka - Wizards of the Square Tablet for iPad | By Paradox Interactive | Price: $1.99 | Version: 1.0.2 | 99.5 MB | Rating 9+

7.0 out of 10 arcade sushi rating