The Magic Circle (PS4) Review
In today’s world of console gaming, it seems that a majority of games that come out are “broken” or unfinished. Developers have to push out patches at, or shortly after, launch to fix glitches and bugs and have to continue pushing out these patches for a good amount of time after the game has released.
Developer Question took this practice of releasing unfinished games to a whole new level with their game The Magic Circle. In The Magic Circle, you are the hero of an unfinished fantasy game. You have all of the powers the developers of this game have, including the ability to trap their creations and reprogram their behaviors and swap their body parts. This allows you to uniquely solve puzzles and make your way through the game, ultimately finishing and “releasing” it, being as creative as you want.
In The Magic Circle, you have no weapons or ways to attack, so when you are attacked by one of the many monsters in the game, you have to trap them and change their code to make them your allies, which makes them follow you. Doing this makes for highly flexible interaction with a simple interface. You can make one creature enemies with another and have them battle it out, or make every creature your ally with no enemies and have a huge army following you. With this being said, there are puzzles to solve and obstacles to overcome, many which require some creativity without much help from the game. This makes for a nice ‘Aha-experience’ when you realize what you can do to solve some of these puzzles.
The graphics in The Magic Circle fit the game very well. It contains a nice open-world style map that really gives off the unfinished look. The soundtrack really keeps the game interesting and gives you an idea what it is like to work on a game development team. The “developers” of the game, represented by floating eyeballs, are working on the game as you play. Most of their work amounts to them bickering loudly with each other, which you might expect in a game about an unfinished game. The “developers” joke about crowdfunding, development, game tropes and media, providing some insightful and funny observations on those fronts.
I’ve always been interested in game programming and development and The Magic Circle gave me a very unique perspective on the topic. I found it fairly easy to pick up and go and the “programming interface” of the objects in the game is simple but very flexible. I found it very entertaining to try different methods of solving puzzles. Overall, I found The Magic Circle to be very unique, fun and entertaining.