I was born in October of 1989. It was the tail end of a decade of excess, filled with the type of blind celebration not seen since The Jazz Age. Before grunge took a sledgehammer to the neon lights and albums full of hair metal ballads, before we all noticed how all our cartoons were toy commercials, and before corporations grew to become the malevolent indestructible monsters they are now. It was a time to celebrate being alive, and even though my actual time spent in the decade amounted to three months of rocking in a crib, I’ve always felt that it was where I belonged culturally. So when something like Megamagic: Wizards of the Neon Age comes along, I try to remain critical and professional about things. However, I wouldn’t be honest with you if I said that I wasn’t charmed by the nostalgic trappings of this synthwave enthused isometric ARPG/RTS hybrid.
Megamagic tells the tale of Phoban and Deimon, brothers who carry mystical artifacts fueled by the magic of neon. Said magic came from a meteor hitting the Earth, activating long dormant abilities in the populace. Accompanied by their cartoonish blue puff of smoke named Fum, they go out into the new world and interact with roving gangs of punks, a necromancer’s legions of undead, and a religious military attempting to shape the world in their image. To combat your foes, you will first sling spells in their direction. Once they are bested, you can summon copies of those creatures to your side in battle, controlling them using RTS-style mechanics.
It’s an interesting combination of gameplay styles to be sure, and I’m always a fan of controlling a summoner in games. Especially when the creatures you have command over are as stylish as the ones shown off in the above trailer, a possible bestiary spanning from giant rats all the way to mechs.
It’s also evident in the trailer that there has been some excellent world building done here. Much like watching a cartoon for the first time way back in the Saturday mornings of yore, I can imagine coming to understand every bit of this trailer over the course of a full game’s story.
There have been quite a few 80s projects that have come to fruition recently, and if you’re familiar with any of them, you probably hear some familiar sounding tunes backing up Megamagic‘s visuals. This soundtrack is being composed by Mitch Murder, one of the biggest names in synthwave, and composer of tracks that have been featured in projects such as Kung Fury and Hotline Miami 2.
If you’re unfamiliar with the genre, basically imagine the type of music that you would expect to hear at an arcade in a twenty five year old film. It’s the perfect type of music for games in my opinion, capturing that chiptune sensibility while taking advantage of a wider array of musical implements.
Megamagic: Wizards of the Neon Age is being developed by BeautiFun Games, who are departing from their previous title, 2013 puzzle platformer Nihilumbra. The game is currently working to get funded on Kickstarter in addition to its Greenlight campaign, providing exclusive spells and summons to early backers. While my love of all things 80s initially drew me into the project, I feel that the game seems to have a depth that you just don’t see in most nostalgically fueled projects, and the developers have built a world that is well worth exploring.
The game aims to be out on PC, Mac, and Linux at release sometime in 2016, with Kickstarter stretch goals for launches on the Wii U and Playstation Vita. If you roll down the block every day with a jean jacket and a pocketful of quarters, or if you’re just a fan of brightly colored post-apocalypses, it’s probably worth your time to hit up their Greenlight page and give them a yes vote.
What games currently working through Steam Greenlight have you found interesting? Do you think that the lion mecha man in the trailer actually rides on that cyber lion? Are you as excited as I am that I just wrote that sentence and it makes logical sense? Answer these questions and more in the comments below!