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http://youtu.be/IM198Yw0_oY



The Stars are Left adds several sinister new campaign missions to Magicka, complete with tentacled Lovecraftian bosses, new enemies and new outfits. The pack also comes with a couple of challenge maps and there's a new trailer, which may be the first H. P. Lovecraft/film noir comedy crossover film ever made. Hopefully it's not the last. The Stars are Left is available now for £3.99 / $5.99 on Steam and Gamersate.
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‘Tis a grand weekend for indie gaming on Steam. In addition to the Super Meat Boy Pack, bonkers co-op RPG Magicka is free until 9pm on Sunday, and, yes, developers Arrowhead Game Studios have fixed most of the bugs. There’s also a wizard’s sleeve worth of offers on Steam, including Magicka itself for £1.99, a four-pack for you and three chums for £5.99, and the Magicka Collection - including all DLC - for £4.24. Magic!



Just go here to download it.
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If you read Arrowhead Game's Magicka dev diary right here on PCGamer.com yesterday, you'll know that the free PvP is out now. However, you might have have missed the Tarantino inspired trailer. It shows just one way in which wizards can fall out. The other is just to play Magicka's story mode, where friendly fire kills almost as many wizards as the hordes of enemies you're trying to obliterate.



The PvP mode comes with free two arenas, the Training Ground and the Havindir Arena. Each can host scraps with three different rule-sets. Classic deathmatch is a fiery free-for-all mode in which the last wizard standing wins. Brawl mode lets you form teams, but limits each player to a set number of lives. Krietor mode unlocks more powerful spells as the round progresses, and is named after the modder who invented it.



Three other maps can also be bought on Steam. The Frozen Lake (guess where that's set) combines unsure footing with a high probability of drowning to create a recipe for Magicka comedy, while The Watchtower map stages a battle at the top of a huge tower. To quote the Steam blurb, "The absense of a railing on a mountaintop ruin provides new environmental hazzard." These maps cost £1.50 / $1.99 each.







The third map is called Final Frontier, and has an extremely familiar sci-fi setting. It comes with an extra wizard robe, a "deadly duel staff" and boasts "fantastic quality props" for "Increased nerd factor." For maximum nerd factor, play this in the background while you fight. The Final Frontier is a little more substantial, thanks to the additional items, so that's priced at £1.99 / $2.99.



There's also a new Party Robes pack that adds three new wizard outfits, designed to improve your wizards' survival rate in co-op. The tank robe turns your wizard into an armoured powerhouse, the rogue robe can cloak on the battlefield and the support robe buffs the spellcasting power of those around the wearer - surely not a good robe to wear to a PvP fight.



As with all Magicka DLC, it's possible to jump into the hosts paid-for maps even if you don't own them yourself. The DLC is also available to buy on Direct2Drive, Impulse, Green Man Gaming and more, you can get the full list here. If you want to get an edge in PvP, check out our pick of Magicka's best spells.
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A helicopter lands in a jungle glade and four wizards jump out. A vampire in aviator shades leans out of the chopper: “Oogle blurble barble ’Nam!” he says. The wizards, wearing helmets and flack jackets over their robes, nod to each other and charge off into the jungle. Magicka: Vietnam’s first moments set the scene nicely for the madness to come.



Magicka’s first expansion throws your pint sized combat-mages into a fantastical version of the Vietnam War, in which the Vietcong are replaced by gun-toting goblins, and the US forces by a team of one to four psychotic wizards. There’s a rescue mission and a survival arena to battle through, both of which ask the important question: what’s best, magic, or bullets?







It’s a trick question. The answer is napalm. As well as fresh enemies and soggy jungle environments, there are also new weapons, including machineguns and rocket launchers, but the real star of the show is the napalm air strike. Casting this ‘spell’ causes a US bomber jet to fly across the screen, leaving a streak of white-hot death in its wake.



Here’s why it’s great. To cast spells in Magicka, you summon elemental orbs, then combine them for use on yourself or your foes. Different combinations of orbs cast different spells. There’s no mana bar, or any restriction on the number of spells you can throw out. You can call in air strikes as fast as you can type.



Imagine, then, four wizards each calling in a bombing run every minute or so, throwing up protective shields and frantically healing between bombardments as an endless supply of goblins charge out of the jungle. These insane defences with friends on Magicka: Vietnam’s survival map are easily the best part of the expansion.







The rescue mission is more staid. You’re dropped into a jungle and instructed to save a number of prisoners of war. Side objectives ask you to destroy ammo dumps and topple radio towers, but these extra objectives never force you to veer too far from a narrow path. Armed goblins and the occasional ogre with a minigun try to stop you. Often by standing slightly off screen and shooting you, which is especially infuriating given how powerful the new guns are.



It takes about 40 minutes to play and is extremely difficult, especially if you’re trying to run it solo.



Play with friends, and it’s possible to overcome the difficulty spike and enjoy the game’s terrific sense of humour. The deliberately mangled speech and the constant war movie references are a recipe for good comedy. When combined with the new toys and the endless survival map, Magicka fans who play often with friends will be happy with the £3.49 price tag. If you were expecting to play through alone, however, you should give this one a miss.
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A charitable crumb of DLC has been released for Magicka. The Nippon DLC adds a katana that cuts through armour, a bamboo stave that wards off elemental attacks, and a kimono robe for your wizards. Half of all revenue will be donated to the Japan Relief Support program to help victims of the Japan earthquake. The DLC costs $1 / 59p and comes with a bonus wizard's cowl for the Demoman in Team Fortress 2 if you buy before June 5. You can buy the Nippon pack now on Steam.
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Paradox are releasing two new survival challenge maps for Magicka. One will be free, the other will cost $1.99. Players get to decide which map will go free in a poll on the Magicka Facebook page. RPS pointed us towards the video above, which shows off the two maps on offer. Paradox say they're set to come out on April 26 "without requiring so much as a single potato."



If you want to stand a better chance of beating the new maps, you might want to take a look at our overview of Magicka's most spectacular spells.
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Paradox are releasing two new survival challenge maps for Magicka. One will be free, the other will cost $1.99. Players get to decide which map will go free in a poll on the Magicka Facebook page. RPS pointed us towards the video above, which shows off the two maps on offer. Paradox say they're set to come out on April 26 "without requiring so much as a single potato."



If you want to stand a better chance of beating the new maps, you might want to take a look at our overview of Magicka's most spectacular spells.
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Magicka: Vietnam was released last week, and we love it. The best part is the glorious union of guns and spells, and the experimentation that comes from combining different elements into spectacular new magics. We've gathered ten of the most explosive, useful and entertaining spells we could find.



Since the game teaches you the special Magickas, we've omitted them from the list. Meteor Storm and Thunderbolt might be cool, but you know how to do them already, this list is about using the stock elemental effects to create wondrous and deadly new things.



1: ARSE Mines - ARSE - (shift) right click







ARSE (Lightning Cold Arcane) mines aren't the most damaging mines in the game (that honour belongs to the less catchy ESQFA mines) but they freeze enemies, do good damage, and you are never, ever going to forget what keys you need to hit to make them.



2: Hit Weak Point for Maximum Damage - QFQFSAA right click







Steam is always helpful. In fact the secret to most of the game's highest damaging spells is to combine two steam elements (QF) with an arcane element (S) and a pair of lightnings (A). You can cast this on your weapon or as an area attack and do massive amounts of damage, but it's best use is as the most powerful beam in the game. Cross the streams for even more damage! (Ignore Egon, he's a killjoy).



3: Haley's Comet - DSR - right click







Bombs work differently to beams. They use Earth (D) as a carrier. They charge up as you hold down right-click (increasing range) and fly out when you release it, detonating in a burst of area damage. Useful for attacking a group of enemies at range. This little gem does strong damage and chills your enemies, letting you inflict more damage before they reach you. More Cold (R) means more damage and chill effect, more Arcane (S) means a bigger area of effect. Season to taste.



4: Stalagdeath - SQR shift right click







There are more damaging area attacks out there (I refer you again to the steam, lightning, arcane combo) but Ice (QR) based attacks hit a wide radius and come with a cool ice crystal effect. The more ice in the spell, the wider the radius. A single Arcane (S) greatly increases the damage. You could also mix in an Earth (D) to add a knockdown effect. Be careful when using this in multiplayer, the massive radius means you can quite easily 'accidentally' take out your allies.



5: The Mighty Glacier - DQRQRQRQR - right click







This is one of the few top tier damage spells not to use the steam/arcane/lightning combo. The mighty glacier is a bomb, but does no splash damage. Instead, it focuses all of its power on a single target. You don't have to train it like a laser, the combo is easy to remember (just hit D and wildly mash Q and R) it's a great fire and forget weapon, and even the toughest enemies will feel it's sting.



6: PewPewPew - QRSA right click







Beams, bombs and area attacks not enough for you? Then how about a shotgun? Still not good enough? What about an Ice Shotgun? No? What about a Laser Lightning Ice Shotgun? I've got your attention now haven't I? Combining Ice (QR) and right click will fire a trio of ice shards in front of you, adding arcane (S) and lightning (A) ups the damage considerably, while adding more ice gives you more shards. As if that wasn't customisable enough the spread tightens if you hold down the right mouse button, just tapping it fires in a wide arc for when you're cornered.



7: Fun with Acronyms! - (QF)SAFE - middle click







Typing SAFE into Magicka and middle clicking will (unsurprisingly) keep you safe by making you immune to Fire, Arcane and Lightning. You can also add a Steam (QF) to it for more immunities, although that's less easy to remember. It's not showy, but casting this on yourself means you can use your big damaging spells without having to worry about accidentally killing yourself (although some say that's half the fun).



8: Super Exploding Electric Ice Wall - EQRQRAS







For most of these entries I've tried to come up with a catchy name, but in this case I couldn't possibly create anything more brilliant than the simple description: Super Exploding Electric Ice Wall. As the name suggests it is a wall (E and right or shift right click) of ice (QR) that is electrified (A) and explodes (S). Voila: the Super Exploding Electric Ice Wall! (the second ice makes it super). It's perfect when you want to block your enemy with an ice wall. And electrocute them. And blow them up.



9: Volcano Trap - EDFFF







One of the cleverest concepts we've seen, and also one of the most likely to get you killed. Combining Earth (D), Shield (E) and Fire (F) creates a wall of volcanoes that burn anyone who comes near them. Right clicking casts them in a semicircle, shift right clicking encircles yourself and shift left clicking casts them on your weapon, letting you spring them in a line the next time you hit. Why is this useful? Because enemies trapped by them will inevitably bumble into the walls and repeatedly set themselves on fire. You can even trap them in a circle of volcanoes with you if you like, just stand very, very still if you do.



10: Life from Below! - EW (shift) right click







One of our favourite spells in Magicka. Healing mines manage to be simple, effective and very very silly all at once. They're great because it only needs two elements to cast, and standing in the middle of the mines does enough healing to fully rejuvenate a near dead Mage (making any extra Ws redundant). Then there's the icing on the cake; it knocks back enemies, but leave you standing serene in the middle of a totally lethal looking explosion. Once we figured this one out it became our default method of healing. Get used to casting it as soon as you resurrect your allies (WA and Space) which if you use the rest of these spells, you'll probably be doing a lot.



A more comprehensive guide to how all the different elements mix can be found here. These our are favourites, but what's your go-to monster zapper?
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