Independent developers have a such a hard time. They do their best to cater to the wishes of fans while still keeping an enjoyable gameplay experience. What if the character of that game has other plans? This is the plot of The Magic Circle.
The Magic Circle is a game developed by Question, and released July, 2015 on Steam. I purchased the game recently as it was the daily deal. I thought, I heard good things, it looks interesting enough, so why not. Thing is, the game went above and beyond my expectations.
The game starts off easily enough, you are the Hero!
After meeting the Old Pro, you begin to learn your ability to manipulate. Your quest to help complete this unfinished game has begun.
The game is all about finding the right creatures needed to progress from one section to the next. To do this you need to manipulate “life”. Life is found around the world in the form of cracks found within the game world. With Life you trap enemies, then edit them to your will!
As you edit each individual creature, you’re given a series of options. You can change their name, how they move, abilities and so on. You can get very creative with your minions. A flying rock with a rail gun that hive minds to other rocks which then take on those attributes?! Yes, that can be done.
Of course all these different attributes must be obtained by finding and trapping all the varied creatures found throughout the world. You need to get across a lava bed? Then you need creatures with fireproof. Need to cross a large gap, edit a creature to have flying, then set waypoints to your destination.
Eventually you have an entourage of varied creatures like this:
As your progress through a desert plain, fight off insects and their queen, and travel through varied spaceship interiors. You are given the chance to ruin the day of your creators, at the wondrous E4.
Eventually your given the chance to create your own game...within the game.
Given a simple set of predesignated map pieces, you get to create a map of your own design. Once the map is complete you get to put in everything that will make your game the best that it can be. You even get reviewed based on how well you design your map. The Old Pro, runs your game and then judges you based on how well he’s kept entertained. Make sure you don’t make it too hard, or else you will have to fine tune it. Some parts are doable, but the combat is very RNG dependent.
Once complete, they even have a let’s play of the game you just created within in the game. Coda, one of the developers of the original game, is the player.
While the gameplay is fun and all. It’s all the little things that really bring this game together. The pencil drawn style world really gives the “in-development” feel. The dialogue between the varied developers portrayed by flying colored eyeballs, is great. The Old Pro really makes you feel bad for the characters left in old code and is genuine laug. All the audio logs and change logs you can find throughout, give more insight into woes that the game development team faced through the years.
What the game really boils down to, is the hardships that a independent developer faces when trying to create a game that will exceed the expectations of the fans. What Ish, Maze and Coda bicker over are things that all developers face on a day to day basis when developing a game. Sometimes it’s not the fans they let down, but the characters of their own design.
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AlmightyDuke is an average gamer from the Great White North. When he’s not sleeping, or supporting the Overwatch, he’s sharing the good vibes and good laughs. Follow him here, @AlmightyDuke_NL .