Malazard: The Master of Magic

Malazard: The Master of Magic is a spellcaster game where you use your bare hands to cast powerful spells and defend yourself against a wave of enemy attacks. Alongside your wielding destructive sorcery powers, there is also a dodging mechanics, which you need to use as well in order to not get hit. An action-packed room-scale game for the HTC Vive. Playable using the Vive tracked motion controllers. The game was released on August 8, 2016 in Early Access via Steam.

Malazard: The Master of Magic First Impressions

Malazard The Master of Magic VR game screenshot

Malazard: The Master of Magic is a room-scale, wave spell-casting action game for HTC Vive where you need to purify the demonic legion using your powerful wizard abilities and become the Master of Magic. The game features fast-paced combat system, superb atmospheric environment, and impressive special effects.

The game is split into stages. You need to clear up each level from its flying demonic creatures to move on to the next level. When you start up the game you'll be introduced to the UI. In front of you, there is the Spell Selector and only spells that you place on that ring will be available for you in the upcoming battle. At the start of the game, you'll get to try out different spell selectors to get familiar with their effect.

After you press the designated 'Play' button in the middle, the round begins. You can see the stage number, the total number of waves you've completed and the total of enemies you need to kill in that round.

When the fight starts, you'll notice two health bubbles on your right and left sides. You can use those to replenish your health when it gets low.  You can check your health status by looking at your wrist. There is also a new screen effect that indicates if your health is low (this one was added in the full release and wasn't available for early access).

Apart from casting spells, you also have a shield which you can use to block incoming attacks. You can use the shield and cast spell with the other hand at the same time. At the end of the stage, you'll achieve a score based on your achievement. After few consecutive stages, there is a boss battle, which is a large creature that you need to defeat in order to progress through to the next set of stages.

Before each stage, you can see which enemies you'll be facing and can prepare the right spells to deal with them.  As you progress you'll be unlocking more powerful spells that will help you deal with stronger threats. For example, in Level 10 you'll have to deal with dragons, and you have the Flamethrower which is a very powerful spell that continuously blows fire, like a firehose but with fire instead of water.

One of the key selling features in this game is the great atmospheric environment and the great enchanting special effects.  I really playing as a spell casting wizard and really love these type of game. 

Keep in mind that you don't actually need to move in the game, because your avatar is stationary on top of a tower in which you defend. It would have been nice if you could change positions and spawn in other areas of the tower. It would make the gameplay more interesting in my opinion.  I also think that it would be great that instead of just damaging the enemy, to have spells that can freeze enemies, slice them up into pieces or make them spawn far away from you—you get what I mean.

It's really a great game that really fits the VR medium and this is why we saw many of these types of games in 2016. Some of them are better than the others, but Malazard the Master of Magic is one of the better ones. The game also comes with an endless survivor mode and leaderboard.  

Is it worth the $8 price? It certainly does. I just think that this game has a much better potential. I personally would have come up with like 50 type of monsters and create hundreds of procedurally generated stages with increased difficulty or create three different difficulty modes like Normal, Hard, and Extreme. I am not a game developer, but I assume that it takes more effort, but maybe this features will be added in a future update. The game is really enjoyable as it is now in its current state and I am looking forward seeing what's coming out next in future updates.

All said and done, I think it's an impressive game that certainly deserves the attention of HTC Vive owners and in no doubt deserves our 'Impressive Award'.

Awarded for an Impressive VR Game

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