Free Game Day: The Great Magician's Curse: Magicians 2

It's Friday, and we know you're just going to play on the Internet until it's time to leave work. Each week we'll be bringing you a free flash game to help the time pass!

Game: The Great Magician's Curse: Magicians 2 Genre: Sidescrolling Puzzler Made By: Daniel Haslop and Tim Garratt Play at: Armor Games Rating: 4 out of 5

After a magic trick goes wrong you're forced to try to escape a series of deadly dungeons using only your ability to run and jump. Good thing you're aided by a series of creepy, disposable dopplegangers. Magicians 2 is like most great puzzle games; it's simplistic and murderously complicated at the same time. That's what makes Portal 2 one of the best games ever. As the ads used to say for the board game Othello, "A minute to learn, a lifetime to master".

The dungeon stages are full of buzzsaws, spikes, electric traps, and other such instant death devices. Your goal is to get your original self, the red magician, to the door into the next stage. You accomplish this by guiding your dopplegangers toward switches and into traps to disable them.

Where it gets really clever is the movement. Every time you move, your doppelganger moves. Sometimes in the same direction, sometimes in the opposite, and sometimes on the ceiling. You have to be keenly aware at all times exactly how each movement of your main character is going to affect the movement of your gangers because once they touch a trap you're stuck without someone to pull switches.

Get ready to restart a lot. It can get extremely frustrating very, very fast, but once you get the hang of navigating two or three lines of movement at the same time you'll start to feel that Portal rush of finally figuring out the answer. Unfortunately, like Portal there really is only one answer to each riddles, which doesn't leave a lot of wiggle room for error. That's the upside of games like Hitman and the Abe's Odyssey series. They let you think outside the box.

The additional challenge that gets offered is trying to capture the playing card in each level. Just as you need your original magician to go through the exit, so is he needed to collect the card. In that regard, there are usually two ways to beat the level, one with the card and one without, but it's really the difference between easy and hard rather than two different ways to play the game.

About the only really downside to Magicians 2 is the music. It's a dreary dungeon droning that gets old fast, and I recommend playing it on mute. It's not like there are any sound cues you need to follow or anything. Also, at times the controls feel a little sluggish, but they are still simplicity incarnate.

Have fun stretching your brain in Magicians 2. Just don't let a frustrated grunt when you fail the puzzle the first time give away your idleness to your boss.

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Jef Rouner (not cis, he/him) is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner