Review â The Magic Circle: Gold Edition

The Magic Circle

We sit down and review The Magic Circle: Gold Edition. A game that tries to take us into the world of game design. Here's our review of The Magic Circle: Gold Edition

Back in July of 2015 The Magic Circle first popped up on the indie scene for the major PC platforms. Flash-forward almost a year and now it looks like Question has been able to bring the game over to the PS4 so hopefully more gamers can give the game a go. We had a chance to give it a good go now that it has been ported over so without gilding the lily too much here is our review of The Magic Circle: Gold Edition. Their version that I am guessing they originally wanted to come out…

Story

The world of video game design is a fickle thing. We get a first-hand experience here as we take on the role of a QA tester on the next latest and greatest title The Magic Circle. Unfortunately for the fans and developer team it is being headed by an egotistical control freak who just can't seem to make up his mind. It is up to you and a few others to try and finish this magnum opus and work in your limited space and abilities.

Hated

The biggest issue I had here had to be the control scheme for the game that wasn't the basic FPS style of things. One of The Magic Circle's mechanics is that you can alter the enemies of the game and change their properties by opening up a "game engine" UI to do so. Sadly this was all forced to be done using the same FPS style controls were you had to look around and point/click. This may have worked well on the PC version of the game but for consoles it was quite bothersome and annoying more than immersing. Maybe if there was an option to use more traditional console controls to manipulate things this would have gone right away.

While this was sandbox style game with many things to do and manipulate as you worked your way to the end I found that it was way too easy to get lost and have no direction to head in. Not just in the game's world but in terms of the story and missions that needed to be completed. I think I easily lost 45 minutes of time just wandering through the same levels and areas in The Magic Circle just trying to see if I missed some small thing I needed to progress. Only to find out that there wasn't and if there was even a general marker on the screen I could have moved on down the road.

Loved

The funny thing here is that one of the items I originally hated was something I grew to love and that is the fact that the game was filled with all kind of bugs and glitches. At least that is what I thought at first and as I became used to The Magic Circle I started to realize that most of them were there intentionally. This is a game about being a QA tester so it makes sense. It took a little bit to get the swing of things in those regards but they become more hidden pleasures in the game's world than any kind of real issue; at least to us real world players.

Another interesting thing mixed into the gameplay was all of the collectibles that added to the story of The Magic Circle. I still have plenty to go back and hunt down but I was tickled pick to see that they were almost all done in terms of coding or developer notes left in the levels for us to find. Much similar to what I have experienced in team work for building small levels in video games in real life. It was these little touches that made the experience much more entertaining to me and also should give some out there a little more understanding on some of the aspects and reasons games take a long time to build.

Last up has to be the "boss fight" of the game. I am not going to spoil too much but it is an interesting challenge that we get presented with that I am almost certain has never been seen in a game before. The best part of it all too is that the game reviews how well you did in this challenge and you even get a nice "Let's Play" recording to review multiple times over. If nothing else this made The Magic Circle for me and I could mostly forget the rest of the game; if the rest wasn't truly needed to complete this final challenge. Absolutely amazing here.

Overview

On the surface The Magic Circle doesn't look like that impressive of a game. For the most part it probably handles better on the PC version. That still doesn't mean that it should be skipped by anyone at all. It is a short and sweet game that uses a lot of the tools of the trade to make a game about making a game. It is comical but I feel it shows a good view of the full process and you get to experience it first hand as much as possible. I fully recommend it to anyone who is still reading here so go out and give it a go.

I give The Magic Circle: Gold Edition 3597 game developers on the game developer scale.

The Magic Circle: Gold Edition — Launch Trailer

The Magic Circle: Gold Edition was developed and published by Question for the PS4 on April 26th, 2016. A PS4 copy of the game was provided by the publisher for reviewing purposes.