The Magic Circle
Top Critic Average
The Magic Circle is a marvelously creative, puzzling adventure that's very mad at you.
Visually drab and a bit too taken with its own story, but otherwise a clever and fun exercise in creative problem-solving.
This is a game written for people who have worked in a particular kind of game development. It's hard to applaud the jokes when it's unclear where the lines between reality and exaggeration lie - and this is a story whose shoots grow from lived experience. Far easier to applaud the game's core gameplay invention, which enlivens The Magic Circle at its heart, and a piece of design that, unlike Ishmael Gilder, will surely find a life beyond its game.
The Magic Circle could have easily went with the normal limited interactions of the standard environmental puzzle game, but Question Games took things one step further, adding rich mechanics that allow players to tinker with its inner workings on some seriously impressive levels. This kind of open-ended ambition may leave players feeling lost at times, but its exploration of the act of creation and collaboration will stick with them for years to come.
The message is a little muddled, with so many accusing fingers thrust in so many directions that I'm sure different people will come to radically different conclusions of what it all means. But it's a message worth hearing, and a world worth exploring, if you care about video games and the people that make them.
The Magic Circle is an unfinished game where you have to bring it to life and ship it to audiences with a pretty bow
The Magic Circle has a very clear understanding of how games can be laid low, especially when high-minded ambition rather than practicality is in charge, but whether because of budgetary limitations or because it's too determined to convey its message first and foremost, it seems to then make some of those same mistakes.
Highly imaginative and bitingly witty, The Magic Circle takes all aspects of the video game industry to task as you try to save a long-awaited game from development hell.
The Magic Circle is the best "broken" game you've ever played - and a rich satire of the industry to boot.