Now Playing: The Magic Circle (2015)

Well this was an unusual one. The Magic Circle is a game about playing an unfinished game. You play as a playtester of the latest version of a fantasy game in a decade long development hell.

You meet the main developers in the form of all-seeing spectator eyes and bear witness to some of the dramatically exaggerated, but sometimes true, inner conflicts between game designers and through your journey see many similar representations of the possible pitfalls of conflicting ideas in game development.

 

You also meet Pro, the main character from the previous version of the game, which has since been scrapped and abandoned. Pro wants you to help get the game working and help him get free at any cost.

 

So your mission is to go around fixing up areas in this broken world. You will need the help of the local wildlife to do this, so you’ll have to do some editing on them too. You can steal and then mix and match parts and attributes from enemies and some stationary objects to create some truly bizarre minions that will handle combat for you and be the solutions to some puzzles in the game. You will even get to dig up and play around in the previous version of the game, which looks and feels suspiciously similar to the original System Shock (crap, now I want to play that).

 

As you come to find out, everyone has their own agenda in wanting you to alter the game, and while this all plays out in the form of comedy for most of the game, if you dig deep enough you can find audio logs that reveal some dark and ugly personal truths about the motivations of the various members of the cast. The end in particular gets into some pretty brutally honest commentary about gamers and the state of the gaming industry. It all culminates in a pretty powerful and important message about the gaming world, that I think a lot of people could really use with hearing, but unfortunately, the people that need to hear it most are the ones that will probably just ignore it and take offense at it, if they even manage to make it that far in a game like this, devoid of pretty, modern graphics and flashy action. Oh well. I enjoyed it at least. It was definitely the most unique and unusual puzzle game I’ve played in a long time and it has something important to say. Give it a try if you’re into such things.

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