Megamagic: Wizards of the Neon Age will take you back to the '80s


Set in an '80s-inspired world where magic is commonplace, Megamagic: Wizards of the Neon Age is a bright, vibrant RPG, where people got magic powers thanks to a strange meteor that crashed thousands of years prior. Matters of magic are governed more or less by The Order, which also trains up-and-coming wizards like Phoban, the young protagonist, and his brother, Deimos.

The game ensues a save-the-world kind of adventure fit for a Saturday morning cartoon, with the goofy humour that goes with it. It's not deep nor innovative, it may have some pacing issues, but it's a whole lot of fun - and that's something I think devs often fail to give thanks to their rush to have their video games "taken seriously".

That sense of fun flows through the whole game, from its delightful synthpop soundtrack to its colourful and cartoony aesthetic, which will appeal a lot to the children of the '80s (or at least to people familia with the '80s pop culture). Just like Far Cry: Blood Dragon, Hotline Miami, and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Megamagic celebrates that era, but with perhaps a bit more referential humour than some would like.

You start out in Grove Valley, a quiet little suburban town with a weird number of parked DeLoreans, and you are soon summoned by your scientist friend, Zemec. Your journey will take you through a Mad-Max inspired desert wasteland to Camp Miller, home to a clan of punks, and a clear homage to Tron. There you will encounter a swordsman who believes that you are his father's killer, and insists that you should prepare to die.

Armed with a staff, the ability to summon creatures called Grims, and a growing number of magic spells, you'll fight against zombies, rodents of unusual size, punks, temple guards and techno rangers, and the key to not getting torn to pieces is to never stop moving. Stand still and you'll soon get swarmed and die.

At the beginning you're armed with a simple projectile spell, but as the game advances, you will learn more things, which will open your tactical options dramatically: a black hole that sucks your enemies in; a cone of wind that knocks them back; a pool of mud that slows them, and exploding skulls that work as landmines.

There's a lot of synergy between your spells, and success in this game means learning to make the most of this synergy, in order to deal maximum damage. One very useful combo is using a black hole to trap enemies inside an electromagnetic field, while you are your army of Grims throw magic projectiles, while staying at a safe distance.

However, it is very easy to lose track of what's happening and get lost in the chaos. The respawn rates of your enemies are very fast, and you will often find yourself fighting multiple similar groups back to back. Sometimes enemies will even attack you from off-screen, so you should expect to die randomly and frequently - and this is just the Easy difficulty.

Even though the game is an RPG, it is fairly light, with no leveling or stat management to deal with. Instead, the game focuses on learning new spells, which involves finding scrolls with said spell somewhere in the world and then gathering the required magical items - dropped by enemies or found in chests - to craft it.

Summoning spells for Grims work differently - these spells mirror the monsters you'll encounter in the wild, and you need to kill a set amount of the enemy in question, while also witnessing all its special moves, all before you'll be able to craft it in the same manner as the standard spells.

Visually, Megamagic is stunning. The art style matches the ’80s theme very well. The colours are bright and pop out at you. The level design varies nicely; with bright blue cubic levels, to the dusty desert – there are plenty of beautiful and varying levels to stare at.

As well as the great visual style Megamagic has, you are treated to some great tunes to join you on your adventure. From Hotline Miami 2 and Kung Fury soundtrack composer, Mitch Murder, the soundtrack only magnifies the whole ‘80s experience.

While being a bit rough around the edges, the game is still charming and special nonetheless. It's a nostalgic trip through a magical '80s world, fueled by a wonderful soundtrack, bright colours, and great humour, that will certainly make you feel like being part of that era.

Name: Megamagic: Wizards of the Neon Age
Developer: BeautiFun Games
Publisher: BeautiFun Games
Released: April 20, 2016
MSRP: $9.99

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