The campaign is set in a small city called Kikugawa (菊川 “chrysanthemum river”) located in the more sparsely-populated western part of Kanagawa Prefecture, somewhere near Odawara.1) Its scenery ranges from high-rise office buildings downtown, to sprawled-out residential suburbs, to rather empty outskirts in the hillier northern area of the city.
All of the player characters, Snezana possibly excepted, are first-year students at a place called Takami High School. Episode 3 established that Aoi, Sumire, and Yuna are in the same class together, along with fellow students Sakamoto and Miyu. Makoto is presumably in a different class from Aoi and Miaka, seeing as how neither of them recognized her in Episode 8.
Entropy, schmentropy. Magical initiates exist for one reason, and one reason only. It goes like this: The first familiar to visit Earth, oh-so-many eons ago, granted a passing girl some new powers, because… well, that’s what familiars do. Things all went well until the magic corrupted her soul and she became a witch. The familiar’s only recourse was to recruit a new initiate to destroy the first one. Cue vicious cycle.
Somewhere along the line, the wish-fulfillment initiation got thrown in, when familiars realized that it would be sugar to prospective recruits. Some familiars will justify it to you by saying that it serves as a focal point for the new initiate’s powers, but the evidence is out on that claim, inasmuch as magic is open to evidence-based inquiry. In any case, familiars don’t have infinite power to grant wishes; they can wield magic, but only so much. (“You have no idea how many people try to wish for world peace,” one familiar once told me. “Turns out they also tend to be the first to fall to corruption.”)
The author of Magical Burst, Ewen Cluney, is apparently a fan of Nine Inch Nails, as indicated on page 49 of the game’s manual:
Magical Burst is heavily inspired by Puella Magi Madoka Magica, and since its soundtrack is by composer Yuki Kajiura, her overall musical style is ideal if you want background music for the game. Personally I would also add some E Nomine and some obscure Nine Inch Nails tracks, but use whatever you think is fitting.
And on his blog:
I based the sample tsukaima in the book on the Seven Deadly Sins, and I was looking for a comparable theme for the youma. I wound up going with basing them off of the tracks of Nine Inch Nails’ “The Downward Spiral.” I’ve been wanting to do something with the pictures that album puts in my head for ages now, though I never would have guessed that I’d find the perfect place to do so in a magical girl RPG.
Fitting, then, that the arcs of this campaign are named after NIN songs.