Magicmaker: Limitless customization is spellbinding

September 23, 2014


Crafting spells is fun, and it is solely that on which Magicmaker hinges. Between the wand, the mana spell and the cloak, each mage has three opportunities to combine magical elements. Some elements cause enemies to catch fire, others cause your spell to ricochet from one target to the next and still others can make your spells pass through walls or split into multiple projectiles. With over 2,000,000 combinations available, you won’t be hurting for customization.

The core concept of Magicmaker is solid: create cool spell and robe combinations to complete levels, obtaining new materials to upgrade your spell and robe combinations to take on harder levels. It’s a great gameplay loop, and the possible attacks are a lot of fun to create and unleash on enemies.

It isn’t difficult to control your wizard, either. Default controls use A and D to move, the space bar to jump, E to use (mostly for opening chests) and S to crouch. On the mouse, the left button is used for the wand attack (which is weak but costs no mana to cast) and the right button is used for the mana attack (which is strong but relies on a regenerating mana supply). The robe provides protection from projectiles but can be customized like the spells, so my shield is bound to be different from yours. Yours might cause enemy projectiles to bounce away, while mine grants a double-jump.


The game feels shorter than it should be, because it’s a lot of fun to run around slinging various magic spells and the end-of-level boss encounters are fun. There’s a lot going on in Magicmaker, resulting in a feel closer to a bullet-hell shooter than anything else. Boss rooms are large with lots of vertical space and the bosses have a lot of low-level monsters helping them out, so it’s more a matter of avoiding attacks than it is about learning attack patterns.

The thing Magicmaker could really use is controller support. Even if I had to use the mouse in the menus, it would be great to move around and aim with the analog sticks of my gamepad. The aforementioned boss fights get hectic enough and the screen full enough that I lost the mouse cursor quite a bit and didn’t feel effective at the combat. Things took longer than needed because I couldn’t get shots lined up while avoiding attacks. If I’d been simply holding the right analog stick in a direction to shoot, my chances would have been better, and not keeping track of the mouse cursor would have made me more effective at avoiding incoming projectiles. I can always shoot straight up if I only have to point up to do so. I can miss a ton of shots if, as the screen scrolls, I’m always shooting at my mouse cursor.


Magicmaker does a lot right, and finding my favorite combination out of two million was a lot of fun. The aesthetic is simple, but more complicated visuals would have made it harder to identify things on screen. Control scheme is, obviously, a personal choice, but I appreciate that the controls are all customizable. Let me put it this way: it’s really fun to light a guy on fire and then watch his friend get caught on fire as well after managing to craft a spell that ricocheted to a second target and set both of them aflame.

Pros: Great customization of spells and robes, fun and challenging boss fights
Cons: Mouse controls make aiming difficult, no controller support

Score: 4/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.