[PS4] The Magic Circle: Gold Edition Review

by Tracey

The Magic Circle: Gold Edition is a first-person view story driven comedy puzzler about games getting stuck in development oblivion. Come check our The Magic Circle: Gold Edition review to see why you have to play this very unique game on Sony’s console!

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When I first heard about the game’s impending release a few months back, the overview of the game I had read on Sony’s Playstation blog definitely piqued my interest. How games are developed, the length of development cycles, the long and incessant delays, these are all topics we players always talk about on various forums and websites.

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A classic example is The Last Guardian, a game that has been stuck in development oblivion for what… ten years now? Why does this happen? Why do the developers go down the secrecy route? Why even announce games in the first place? Are those your burning questions? Whatever they are, The Magic Circle: Gold Editon may help to answer some of them.

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The Magic Circle: Gold Edition is a game basically about finishing an unfinished game. Along the way, you will learn a bit about how game development works. You play as a Quality Assurance tester and are hired to make sure a demo is ready for a major video games conference. The demo has hit a wall in development, and E4, the biggest games conference of the year, is just days away. The two main developers – Ish Gilder and Maze Evelyn – can’t agree on anything. Ish wants a big, and ambitious AAA style game and Maze just wants the game finished and released, so she wants out and does her best to get herself fired… but Ish isn’t having any of it! They bicker and argue constantly, and it is pretty funny listening to them fight over the game’s design. They have done this for the game’s 20-year development cycle!

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During your gameplay, you will meet a rogue AI, who will act as your guide and will help you finish the game in time for E4. The guide will help you restore the deleted portions of the game and in the process will find a way of locking Ish and Maze out of the development to create a playable game.

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This release is all about experimentation, and you are given creative tools to re-code the game as you see fit. The enemies in the game are plentiful, but to change their programming you must first trap them – you are given this ability for free. You trap them and change their behavior coding, and you can make them your allies if you wish. Other abilities, well, those you will have to find and steal. You will able to change names, add elemental strengths and weakness, you can even give enemies magical powers like the ability to fly or breath fire! The possibilities are truly endless.

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You can even do weird things to a rock, make it stand up and walk, and even make it your pet! I loved all the experimentation. I’m not going to say any more, since you will have to play the game to see for yourself what you can do. I’m sure you will love it! Some of the abilities you will use in the game will also be needed for puzzle solving, as is the case for, say, fixing a deleted bridge.

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The Magic Circle can be difficult to figure out at first, because within ten minutes or so of playing the game I had finished it! Even a trophy popped to say I had finished the game. I was immediately confused, but then the start menu popped, and I realized at that moment the game was mine to experiment with! Don’t panic when the game ends, because it is actually just beginning. The only thing that bothered me was the lack of a tutorial- I couldn’t figure out how to play the game at first, but then I realized that is part of its charm. You ARE finishing a game in development limbo after all, and you are not a full-fledged coder, so you are not going to know everything.

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The game has a very funny narrative, and is well written, with perfect comedy timing. There are audio logs scattered around the game that serves as collectibles, and they’re all about games development. Not only that but you can also find some secret areas if you explore every corner. I hope you will enjoy the game as much as I have enjoyed doing this The Magic Circle: Gold Edition review. It is a very unique experience that will keep you coming back for more with its weird setting and open potential.

This review is based on a PS4 copy of The Magic Circle: Gold Edition provided by Question.

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