Game: “Magic Twins”
In terms of ridiculous premise for a video game, Magic Twins is up there. Abra & Cadabra, our kawaii heroines are dying their clothes using magic, naturally. Things go awry quickly and our twins make a real mess of things. Their cauldron teaches the basics of the game before skedaddling off into the sunset. It’s up to you to clean up the mess. From this relatively short introduction, the developer Flying Beast Labs throws you into the world of Magic Twins.
At A Glance
|Positives|| + Cute and charming
+ Addictive gameplay
+ Varied levels
|Negatives|| – Lack of online multiplayer
– Difficulty curve on single player
– Who uses magic to dye clothes
Magic Twins is a puzzle game set on a fictionalised island of Mallorca which is broken into six worlds containing various levels. Each area has different challenges to be undertaken. When you select one of the levels you’re taken to where the *ahem* magic happens.
You’re presented with a board split into two sections. Abra takes the left, Cadabra is on the right. Enemies spawn in the middle and creep closer to you. Clearing each stage isn’t always as simple as beating all enemies on screen. Magic Twins offers a set of rules for completing stages. These might include destroying all enemies, but could also be surviving for an amount of time or casting a spell a certain number of times. If the win conditions are met then you’re rewarded with a star. Bonus stars are also awarded by completing secondary missions.
These stars help you progress through the game and unlock extras such as challenging bonus levels or new outfits. Thankfully, Magic Twins isn’t one of those puzzlers that falls into the trap of relying too heavily on one type of win scenario. The game regularly mixes up the challenges and keeps throwing up surprises until the credits roll. Failing each level is your standard video game trope – if the baddies make it to your barrier, you’ll take a hit, three hits and the level is over. Taking out the enemies requires one of the twins to cast a spell that matches the colour of the enemy.
Casting a spell is easy enough, just push the corresponding face button on your controller, or keyboard. This may seem easy enough but unless you’re an accomplished touch typer or have your A,B,X,Y positioning down to a tee, you’re going to struggle. There were a few times, where under pressure, I’d mispress and I’d take damage. If you struggle with colours, there’s a handy option in the menu with a variety of accessibility features to help you out. This was a really nice touch.
Along the way, you’ll collect the reminisce of some enemies. Collecting four blobs of goop will allow you to cast a larger spell that affects the game board. Some missions require this in order to complete the board. Once you’ve collected enough of the goo, simply pull the left trigger (or press the corresponding key) and watch the magic happen. If you’re playing the game solo, you also have the added ability to swap between Abra & Cadabra to take over their side of the board.
Penned as either a one or two player experience, Magic Twins is best played as a twosome. I felt bad leaving either Abra or Cadabra as a grey, lifeless AI helper in solo play. Not only that but the computer player is rubbish in the later levels as they cannot cope with more than four monsters on the board at one time. This means swapping between the two characters is a must. If you rely on one character doing everything early on in the game, you’re going to get stuck.
In two player mode however, the feel of the game changes substantially. You can simply concentrate on your side of the playing field, and if you could get in sync with your teammate then the hours will just fly by. One big omission is that the players have to be in the same room. Magic Twins is local play only, although Steam’s remote play does mitigate this, you have to arrange a time with your buddies to play. It’s understandable that online play would be a bit difficult, especially since fast reactions are needed in later levels and you can’t always rely on an internet connection, however with the current climate, it could have been nice.
You may have noticed through the screenshots we’ve peppered throughout this review, the game is undeniably cute. The Kawaii stylings are shot through everything from Abra & Cadabra, to the cauldron, even the enemies are cute in their own little way. It reminded me of the dinosaurs from Bubble Bobble. Accompanying the cute visuals comes the character voices. Everyone that is voiced speaks nonsensically. The cauldron in particular has a voice that sounds like Beedle from The Legend of Zelda. That is, if Beedle was sitting on a washing machine that was spinning vigorously. It was funny at first but as the game progressed, the voices just started to irk. Thankfully, there’s not so much of the “talking”.
What saved my ears was the soundtrack. Magic Twins incorporates all of your typical halloween esq sounds; howls, cackles, the sounds of magic et al and puts them in front of a bouncy backing track. Each level I was delighted with the music. I’ve started humming sections of the soundtrack much to the annoyance of my cats.
Magic Twins is a fun and cute arcade puzzle game. You might be eased in but the challenge soon ramps up, especially in solo mode. Playing with a buddy however took the experience to another level. I can’t stress enough that teaming up with a friend is an absolute must. Puzzles become more fun and there’s a sense of achievement when you both work together to clear a stage. It’s a shame there isn’t an online mode for virtual team ups but the charm of Abra and Cadabra always seemed to pull me back for one more go, no matter how difficult the game became.
In the interest of full disclosure, the publisher provided VGamingNews with a copy of the game in order to conduct this review.