Duel Mode pits player versus player
Magicka: Wizard Wars has been available through Steam's Early Access program since October and it's been seeing updates at least once a week. Updates ranging from small bug fixes, to big new additions. A lot of these updates are thanks to the fan interaction, as Paradox works closely with their community to shape their game.
With Wizard Wars in particular, the developers have received 20,000 messages so far with recommendations and suggestions. Granted, only about 40% of those messages were actually useful feedback, but it's not a bad percentage given the way Internet anonymity can be sometimes.
Duel Mode, created to fill the need of a training mode, is one of the big additions coming to Wizard Wars. It serves as a way for players to go head-to-head with other players with nothing else to get in the way.
Magicka: Wizard Wars (PC)
Developer: Paradox North
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Release date: October 15, 2013
MSRP: $12.99 (Starter Wizard Pack)
Duel Mode will see four players enter a compact arena. Two of the players will be pitted against one another while the other two get to watch from the stands. The two players engaged in the match will need to use a combination of various spells to defeat the other, and the last one standing wins. After a very brief pause, one of the players watching in the stands will be cycled into the arena and this repeats until someone reaches six total kills to win the game.
The entire concept is pretty straight forward, and from an outside appearance it all seems pretty simple. But much like a fighting game, Magicka offers a ton of depth to its combat system. Players have access to eight different spells, ranging from fire, lightning, healing, earth, shields, and more. Each spell can be used in an offensive or defensive manner, but where the depth really comes in is combining the different spells to create an even greater attack.
Press the F key once and you'll unleash a simple fire blast. Press the F key three times and you'll shoot out a giant blaze. Combine the fire and earth spells and you'll shoot out a fireball. You get the idea. Some spells work better together than others, and it'll take some time to truly master the system.
Along with these spells you have a basic melee weapon, plus four powerful super spells that need to charge up over time. Your melee weapons, super spells, plus your cloak can all be altered before a match, too. Some examples of the super spells include summoning Death who will slash an enemies life bar by 80%, to summoning an outhouse that will spit out a couple of little helper minions.
The action and fighting is great, and pretty addicting. What's a little disappointing though is the spectator part of it all. The purpose of this is to help new players see how others use their fighting tactics, but for me personally it was kind of boring to just wait around and watch the two other players fight. You can't do anything from the stands, other than press a button that shoots out confetti every now and again onto the arena. I would have liked to been able to do something while waiting for my turn, from actually practicing different spell combinations, or maybe even betting on who the winner would be with the other person that I was waiting with.
The minor annoyance aside, Duel Mode is pretty fun and will be a nice addition to the core MOBA experience of Magicka: Wizard Wars.