The oddly-titled Abraca: Imagic Games is a challenging one to review, because it’s actually two games rolled into one. Here’s our attempt, nonetheless.
Abraca can best be labeled as a party game, but it’s quite unique in its approach. As you can probably gather from half of the word ‘abracadabra’ and something that looks like ‘magic’, it takes places in a fantasy setting – a fairytale-inspired one, actually. There’s not much of a story, but the game is most definitely about princes and princesses.
When starting a game in Abraca, you select a prince and princess team – all four of which are based on familiar characters like Little Red Riding Hood and Hansel and Gretel. Your choice doesn’t affect any kind of story campaign choice, but it does make a difference in what comes next – which is two individual games rolled into one so they can complement each other.
First up is a platformer, and it’s one of those rare cases where it’s a multiplayer platformer with players being active at the same time. In Abraca, however, you’re not helping each other. Instead, you take control of your chosen prince, and whoever else is playing is controlling the bad guys and the traps that keep you from getting very far. As a prince, you have 60 seconds to get as far as you can – and when it’s another prince’s turn, it’s your job to prevent just that. No matter who you choose, your main goal is always to free your princess, who is locked in a cage.
After the “prince game”, which is a platformer (meets speedrunner), you take control of your better half – and duke it out with the other princesses in a brawler. This is best compared to games like Super Smash Brothers, and doing well in this round means your prince will gain an adventure the next time he’s attempting the platforming sections. Each character has its own characteristics and moves, and it helps to get a little practice in with different characters if you want to be successful.
“Princess mode” isn’t just a straight up brawler – the objectives here differ from round to round. There’s a king of the hill-type round, a ‘collect as many items as you can’ round and of course a last woman standing round – just to name some examples. This is great in terms of variety, because at the highest level this is a party game with only two games in it. Thanks to these little variations, that’s not a problem at all.
There’s a single player mode included as well (called the challenge mode), but that’s a mode that really serves best as an extended tutorial. Some of the missions are quite challenging, but there’s not too much to go back to once you complete them. Instead, the real heart of the game is in its multiplayer section, which is great fun and gets better and better the more players you invite.
It’s too bad the single player portion isn’t more fleshed out and that the multiplayer aspect is limited to local multiplayer only, but if you can get around those issues then this is one hell of a party game – one that can rival the best of its console counterparts, but one that’s exclusive to PCs for now.