When I went into playing The Magic Circle, I really hadn’t heard anything about it. I had watched the trailer, and had known it was based on an older game that was a point and click game. Basically at that point, all I knew was that this was a game about developers who were making a game, and couldn’t finish it. And that it was my job to finish the game. That was pretty much it. What I didn’t know was that this game was about to charm the pants off me. It was short but sweet, with player mechanics I’d never seen before, gorgeous visuals, a self aware attitude, and non-linear exploration.
In The Magic Circle, you are a player playing a game that takes place in an unfinished game. Don’t worry, it makes total sense once you’re actually playing. The developers of the game within the game haven’t finished it, and are stuck on how to complete it. So it’s up to you to finish their game, and solve the puzzles along the way. The player can’t actually attack, so in order to do anything, you have to get the enemies in the world to fight for you. This is done by basically hacking into those enemies and changing their code. Changing the code of items is your primary ability throughout the game, and through that you are also able to strip creatures of their abilities and Frankenstein them on other creatures. Got a corpse that’s not moving or able to attack? Take ground movement from a Cyberrat and take melee attacking from a Howler. Put them into your corpse, and now you have a walking zombie with a sword, able to fight to the death for you (as log as you also set him to be your ally).
The game is simple but challenging. It’s gorgeous and the story is dark and funny. It’s got secrets and collectables and gives you reasons to explore and enjoy the world. It’s open and inviting, and after finishing the initial tutorial area, you can go wherever you want. Sure there are certain places that require certain creatures or abilities, but it’s all out there for you to explore and experience. Without any spoilers, the gameplay also evolves by the end of the game, and the story and the player interact and are metaphorically tied into a beautiful bow. It only took me about 5 hour to finish the main storyline of the game, but, man, I didn’t want to put it down. This game accomplished a lot in that 5 hours of play, and I would seriously recommend it.