The Magic Circle is a tongue-in-cheek Early Access game about incomplete games. You play as the hero, a beta-tester for the game The Magic Circle (it’s a little bit meta). You are dumped into the world of the game, with its developers as giant floating mechanical eyeballs in the sky, talking to one another as you go. As the game is about an incomplete game, much of it appears unfinished, with notes about content to add, or content that was cut.
Early on in your adventure you break out of your confines as a mere beta-tester with the help of an in-game entity. Your power comes from cracks in the game world, which allow you to alter the game around you. You can, in essence, hack into game enemies, stealing their powers, changing who they see as friend of foe. You can make them completely harmless, or utterly deadly towards your own enemies.
Death is an important aspect of the game. Being dead allows you to ghost, seeing things that were deleted and using those items to progress. Sometimes even needing to slip past enemies that have been hacked, rendering you unable to edit them.
Teleporting around the map, summoning any creature you’ve alerted to you, using death as a gameplay mechanic, changing things to suit your needs; all of this sounds very cheaty, much like it would break the game. But in The Magic Circle, it works and functions in exactly the way it needs to. Allowing you to have fun and explore and solve puzzles in the extremely meta world around you. You’ll need all of these skills to destroy the final boss and ‘win the game.’
Along the way you’ll discover memos and audio bytes from those working on the game, giving you a deeper understanding of what’s going on in the ‘real world.” The more you progress, the more these two worlds begin to collide. The more you’re trying to help your mysterious friend save this world from becoming a truly awful game.
The proceedings are humorous and touches on all the things you come to expect from all the incomplete and in-development games out there. From failed Kickstarters, disappointing sequels, unreleased games, broken promises, to even downright lies from developers. In ways it’s serious, but still remains funny.
It’s hard to say much more about the game without ruining it for a future player. It’s simply a game you truly need to experience for yourself. Even though The Magic Circle is in Early Access, it is feature and content complete (unlike The Magic Circle inside of The Magic Circle). Also, playing it is not nearly as confusing as reading about it.