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The Wizards

The Wizards Review

Fun Magic, with a fun story stuck in boring level design

Reviewed by Griffin on 10th October 2020 on Windows Mixed Reality


Review

Disclaimer: This is a review in context of playing the game in 2020. Had I reviewed this at release my score may have been higher.

I am also reviewing this having also played the sequel The Wizards - Dark Times.

In 'The Wizards' you play as a Wizard who must use Gesture based spells to defeat the goblin horse and save his world of Meliora. On this journey you are guided by a non-corporeal voice who provides story humour and charm to the game, unfortunately though, this game has not aged that well compared to its contemporaries and is just plain out classed by its sequel The Wizards - Dark Times.

The game consists of travelling from one level to the next defeating enemies finding taro cards and hidden games and solving the odd puzzle here or there.

The story of the game is broken up into 11 levels and after each level you are given a ranked score and returned to the hub world. Levels can be modified with the Taro cards to increase the difficulty and your score

The campaign took me about 2.5 hours to complete.

Graphics & Presentation

The visuals in this game are OK. It is attempting a fairly realistic style and for the most part it succeeds, however, being from an indie studio the models and textures are not that high quality and certainly show its age. This also goes in to the presentation of the game, and there are only about 6 enemies - Goblins, Ogres and Orcs, stone statues, Giants snakes, and Atronach ghosts. They have a few variant Skins but it certainly gets tiresome after a while.

The game also features some physics based destructible walls and statues, which are certainly fun to destroy, however, destruction chunks would often block the teleportation pad on the other side and I would have to wait for the pieces to de-spawn before I could pass.

Sound FX & Music

There is not a whole lot of variety in the sound and music in the Wizards but the stuff it does have is pretty quality if not a bit repetitive at times.

The voice played by Jason Marnocha was one of the highlights of the game. The story he told was entertaining. The voice acting was high quality, and he brought a certain charm to the game which a lot of similar indie games miss.

Gameplay & Immersion

Gameplay, while this games strongest suit is also its downfall. The Gesture based spells are certainly fun - a flick of the wrist to make a fireball, a flick on the other to make a shield, two hands pulled down cast a bigger fireball, Two hands pushed forward cast lightning, two hands in a circle make this crystal missiles, and swiping two hands across make an Ice bow. However, the level design in this game paired with the amount of weak enemies this game throws at you, and I found myself goating the enemies around in a circle spamming fireballs the whole time. That's what it felt like - spammy. It was just a race to throw as many fireballs as fast as possible. There is no nuance to the game, cover doesn't really matter and the levels are always a big circle or square fighting arena.

The Immersion was diminished because every level was just a fight to the death in a small space arena where I spam attacked until I got a score and moved on to the next arena with a story strung along by the magical ghost voice.

Controls

The Magic casting controls were very good, however the aiming was sometimes wildly off from my target for no discernible reason. This also feed into the spammy combat as not every fireball went where I aimed, so it was often better to just try and throw more to make the aiming work.

The teleportation has a feature where pushing forward on the thumb stick activates the teleport and changing the direction of the thumb stick will change the facing direction after the teleport, which is nice on theory but in practice the direction was so delicate that sometimes when my thumb stick was snapping back it would rock back a bit and my facing direction would be the exact opposite direction I was trying for, which was very disorienting especially in combat. This probably could have been alleviated by increasing the dead zone on the facing direction control.

The game also relies heavily on these teleportation pads to show you where to go, however, they are often up on another platform making them impossible to see from below which often has you guessing where to go.

Value & Replayability

The game offers a Horde mode and the collectible taro and gems in each level, as well as giving you a score and leaderboard to compare how you did with everyone else, which for some may offer many hours of replay value, however due to the combat I found no reason to return to this, and for the asking price of $28 (local currency) I would wait for a Deep sale if you really want to pick this up.

Final Thoughts

While great in concept and a fine first attempt from Carbon Studio, this game is let down by its weak narrative cohesion, poor level design and spammy combat. Ultimately the sequel is better in almost every way, and therefore I would pass and just play the The Wizards - Dark Times instead (Don't worry the stories are not connected)

  • Jason Marnocha's narration is great
  • Gesture based combat is fun to use
  • The two large boss enemies are interesting fights
  • Combat feels too spammy to be fun
  • Short campaign
  • Low enemy variety
  • Poor level design

Reviewed by Griffin on 10th October 2020 on Windows Mixed Reality

4 out of 10

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