I don’t care if you find the title of this review a bit cheesy. I think it’s fun. I also think that the wizard brawler MageQuit is fun. Much like I’m currently doing with this review, MageQuit throws you immediately into the action. One second you’re looking at the title screen, the next second you’re catapulting spells toward other wizards in order to make your beard grow longer than theirs. Let me slow down and explain a few things.
MageQuit comes to us from Bowlcut Studios. The game consists entirely of multiplayer matches where the objective is to accumulate the largest score and longest beard. You and up to nine other players compete in these online matches for nine rounds. You earn a point for every wizard that you blast out of existence using a large assortment of elemental spells. For each point you earn, your wizarding beard grows longer. This lengthier beard doesn’t benefit you in any way. In fact it’s a hilarious way that the game paints a target on your wizarding robes for other players to hunt you down.
With this being all the game has to offer for online matches, you would think that things would start getting stale pretty quickly. However, there is a brilliant MOBA-like twist to how your spells work. At the beginning of each game, everyone starts with one spell that they choose from a small pool of randomly chosen spells. After each round, you and your opponents will choose a new spell from a different assortment of spells. Each magical ability gets progressively stronger and serves a more situational purpose as the game advances. There are defensive spells, utility spells, movement spells and ultimate spells. With seven different elements and only four of those categories being available in each game, you’ll likely have a completely different arrangement of skills in each match. It dramatically boosts the game’s replayability and cleverly incentivises player experimentation.
I had a great time in the online matches and in the local matches I forced my wife and a couple of friends to participate in. The magical bursts of energy coming from each player make for a delightful cacophony of chaos. Aiming the spells can be tricky, but hitting with each one was always satisfying. Though it is a competitive multiplayer game, the escalating bombardment of ridiculous spellcasting makes the game have much more of a “party” game vibe. The online matches were a good time, (and not just because I won a lot of them *smug grin*) but I greatly preferred the experience when playing with others on my couch. It’s a great way to have fun with anyone who has an interest in games. The controls are simple to get a hold of and the fact that the game doesn’t take itself too seriously helped everyone that played feel immediately more comfortable.
A lot of this fun comes from the stages as well. MageQuit has a top-down view and players move around on large arenas. Some of the stages simply let the players do their best to master the controls and obliterate each other. Others have environmental hazards like an erupting volcano, shifting platforms or a terrifying fish – I mean terrifying. This giant, disgusting, awful fish appears on two different stages and will do its absolute best to eat players. When you throw, push or slam an opposing wizard into the water and watch them struggle to return to dry land before being gobbled up, it is a hilarious experience. When you’re the poor soul who has been thrown out to sea, it is a horrific experience.
Unfortunately, that’s all the game has. The single online multiplayer mode, and the local multiplayer mode. However there is a currency and cosmetic system to reward your efforts online. You can purchase different hats, cloaks, staffs and more with the gems that you collect from winning and participating in online bouts. However that’s not enough to keep a player invested for too long. Once you’ve got the funny looking dinosaur hat that you’ve been saving up for, what’s next? Just more online matches, I suppose. The game does show that the developers are working on a competitive playlist, and that definitely sounds interesting. What stinks is that it’s likely this will be the same game mode you normally play but with some slightly different rewards and titles for the winner of each match.
Is MageQuit on Xbox One fun? Yes. The gameplay offers a great sense of chaotic action while leaving a lot of room for practice and mastery. The grand repertoire of spells bolster the replayability and offer a different experience for each match. Playing against friends on the couch is where MageQuit comes alive as one of the best party games since Overcooked, and you can share it with just about anyone. Yet the game just can’t shake the feeling that there isn’t enough there. The cosmetics and mixing and matching of spells are nice, but they weren’t enough to draw me away from other multiplayer experiences for long. With the competitive mode being in the works, it definitely seems that Bowlcut Studios wants to add more to the game. Here’s hoping that they do enough to encourage players to stay because MageQuit is a unique idea that deserves more attention and success.