Have you ever wanted to help beta test an unfinished game? In The Magic Circle you’ll be able to do just that. Head into an unfinished world… one that might never get finished.
The Magic Circle is a first-person adventure game that takes place within the unfinished game “The Magic Circle”. You play the part of the protagonist who is there to help beta test the game. Unfortunately it seems like the developers cannot agree on what should or shouldn’t be in the game and everything has become a mess. It doesn’t take long for you to be pulled in by a piece of the game – by “Old Pro” – and tasked with trying to actually finish the game. You’ll need to harness the powers of a god in order to complete this task, and prepare to take control of and rewrite the creatures that lie within.
The “god powers” that you’ll get to wield within The Magic Circle will be your key to actually surviving in the game. The developers (in the game) recently decided that they should take out combat. Unfortunately, enemies still exist, and these enemies are still very happy to come take a bite out of you. Luckily your god powers allow you to take control of these enemies and make them fight for you. You’ll need to do some tricky manipulation of the various AI settings in order to get through to the end.
Throughout the game you’ll be able to find various pick ups and commentary bits. These will sometimes require a bit of thinking to get to, and because of that I haven’t found all of them yet. Some of these are voice recordings of the developers talking amongst each other, and within these you can find powerups for your allies. I hardly ever actually found a need to power up my allies, especially once I had found the “parasite” trait. It felt like a bit of a wasteful system to have in since you can pretty much just throw a ton of things at enemies to get through without needing to pay much heed to abilities.
One thing I’m always scared about going into first-person games is if they will cause me to become motion sick or not. First-person games are often one type that do cause me to get motion sick and force me to stop playing them altogether. I can thankfully say that this game did not cause me any motion sickness at all and I was able to actually enjoy the game.
Originally released on PC, The Magic Circle recently came out on PS4. Through my time playing it, there was quite a few times in which I could definitely tell that it had originally been a PC game. Navigating the menus can sometimes be a pain since there was definitely times in which I wasn’t actually sure where my cursor was. It wouldn’t been nice if these had just been regular menus that one could scroll through with the d-pad instead of needing to try and aim at the correct spot using the analogue stick.
Something you’ll definitely need to keep in mind is that The Magic Circle is very open world, at least for most of the game. This means that it can be extremely easy to walk past something that might be required to progress. Even as someone who likes to check every nook and cranny to make sure I don’t miss something, I still ended up missing a crucial item I needed in order to finish the game. Just make sure your try your powers on anything and everything that seems like it could be used or manipulated.
The sounds in The Magic Circle will primarily consist of hearing the developers speak, but there is still a very good soundtrack accompanying the game. I quite enjoyed the soundtrack overall, and found the voicing very funny and the sound effects on point. There is a fair bit of swearing in the game, so if you’re sensitive to that you should probably avoid it for those reasons.
The graphics are both on point and can be harsh on your eyes. The black-and-white aesthetic of the “new” portions that lay between the “old” portions I found to be gorgeous. There were bits and pieces of the old, pixely graphics, and you’ll often have to go through tunnels that feature these graphics. The pixel graphics can sometimes be a bit harsh on the eyes, but at the same time they just work.
While I’m not sure if I can recommend this for the regular price of $20 considering you’re looking at around 4-5 hours of content, I can definitely recommend it on sale. As I said a bit ago, if you’re sensitive to swearing then you may want to avoid it it. If you aren’t sensitive to that kind of stuff, then The Magic Circle is definitely something you should check out if you enjoy first-person adventure/puzzle type games (like the Portal games, for example). I did enjoy my time playing it, although it was a bit frustrating not knowing what I had missed within the open world that was preventing me from progressing into the end part of the game.
The Magic Circle: Gold Edition Review Score
The Magic Circle is available now on PS4 and Steam.
I was provided with a PS4 code for review purposes.