A red cloak and curiosity shrouds you as you dash through the museum of wizards, no not for the first or last time. The displays and interactive exhibits show what it was like when wizards competed in a grand challenge to award one with wizarding’s highest honor. While standing before the last exhibit, a bright flash blinds you temporarily, and when you open your eyes again, you immediately know you are somewhere else, in some other time perhaps. It seems all your training as a wizard is about to pay off.
Wizard of Legend is the first title from fledging developer/publisher Contingent99. Fire flies, earth eradicates, air annihilates, and more as the player chooses just what kind of wizard they’re going to be while fighting off a seemingly endless horde of chaotic minions.
There’s not much to go over concerning Wizard of Legend’s writing, as what exists is the bare minimum to frame the game with the proper context and send the player off to start their adventure. The player plays as a fledging wizard who has been transported to a different time and place, at the start of a grand wizard challenge. Throughout three different realms of different elemental properties, the player takes on minions of chaos and wizards of the elements, all culminating in one final challenge.
Without much cause to talk to the NPCs, it’s hard to remark on the writing for them. They give little bits of information, but nothing you couldn’t gleam yourself from your surroundings. The bosses have punny quips to throw at you before they start lobbing fireballs, icicles, and rocks. The world of Wizard of Legend is not fleshed out all that much, giving the player just enough to understand what they’re looking at, but not enough to really pull the player in with interest.
Wizard of Legend is a rogue-lite, fast-paced, dungeon crawler. Maps are procedurally generated, making each attempt different from the last, for better or worse. The rogue element of “rogue-lite” is that the progress through the dungeon is reset every time the player dies, no matter how far they got. However, the lite part of “rogue-lite” is that your progress as a character does not go away. Spells, artifacts, and cloaks you purchase outside of the dungeon stay with you forever and can be freely equipped before heading into the dungeon’s trials. Any item or spell bought within the dungeons, however, are lost upon death.
The gameplay is frenetic and requires quick reaction time and liberal use of all your spells. You will be armed with four spells (though you have two extra slots should you find more within the trials): a basic attack, a dash, a strong attack, and a special. Don’t be afraid to spam more than just the basic attack. Enemies hit hard and fast, so dodging is a must within the halls of wizardry. It’s often better to bait out an enemy attack, kiting as many as possible and grouping them together so you can get the most bang for your buck. Weaving in the strong and special spells are also a necessity for victory, as they will keep your enemies off their toes and may even knock them into deadly pits, saving you a lot of time.
Spells come in five elementals types: fire, water, electricity, wind, and earth. They each have their own strengths and weaknesses against each other, much like how types work in Pokemon. However, it’s more important to bring along spells you are most comfortable with, rather than trying to diversify the elements of your spell book. While enemies can take more or less damage based on their type against your spell type, it’s never so much that it trumps the need for a familiar and comfortable spell. Most enemies won’t have a type, anyway, and really, it’s the bosses that concern themselves the most with elemental types. The bosses are so easy that even with all your spells being weak against a boss, you’ll do fine so long as you keep a clear head and stay calm.
In addition to spells, your wizard is able to carry one item (with more slots available for items found/bought within the dungeon) and choose their cloak. Items give passive benefits, so choosing the right one for you comes down to what you are struggling with the most. Dying too often? Invest in a health boosting item. Want some extra damage? Bring along a sprite. Cloaks have their own passive benefits too, ranging from boosted health and defense, to stronger attacks, to better dodges and higher critical strike chance.
Finding the right spells, items, and cloak combination is a little harder than it needs to be. Spells, items, and cloaks available for purchase are randomized and never give you info on them before you buy. So, dropping some crystals is something of a gamble. It’s a minor annoyance, at most, however. You’ll want to be buying up lots of spells until you can find the right combination that works for you, so don’t be afraid to buy, buy, buy! There are plenty of items and lots of spells to choose from, too.
The game sends you to take on 10 levels, with every third level being a boss, and the final level being the last challenge to face for that trial. With maps being randomized, getting better at the game is not a matter of memorizing rooms and enemy placement, but instead getting better at the combat, specifically bettering your reflexes, knowing how to play it safe and when to be aggressive, and going in with the right combination of spells, items, and your cloak.
Combat is extremely fast and fun, to say the least. Players of Hyper Light Drifter might find it familiar feeling, with its constant dashing and swift attacks. Though punishing, the game never feels unfair, or unfun for how often you will die. Your mileage will of course depend on your skill with mastering the combat, so the game will either net you a lot of hours or very few, depending on your skill and your need for 100% completion. It never feels old, though, and despite knowing failure is more likely than success, it’s still fun to dash through rooms, tearing through monsters with just the right combination of spells.
Wizard of Legend is portrayed with a pixel art style but is no less beautiful for it. While not on par with games like Metal Slug or Hyper Light Drifter, it still manages to be charming and nice to look at. Colors play an important part of the game’s style, as the oranges of fire and the blues of ice really need to pop to stand out from your other spells as their being cast. Every spell is well animated and satisfying to look at.
Musically there isn’t much to say about Wizard of Legend. It’s a suitable track list that doesn’t impress nor does it disappoint. The sound effects, however, pair nicely with the game’s animations. The fire sounds hot and the ice sounds cold. The combination of animation and sound effects make for some truly satisfying spell effects, which is good since you’ll be using the spells a whole heck of a lot.
Wizard of Legend is nothing short of delightful, with incredibly fun combat that never disappoints. Though simplified to only a few buttons, the combination of dashing and attacking makes you feel not just like a wizard, but some kind of ninja wizard! The wide selection of spells and items means you will have lots of material to work with when it comes to customizing your wizard. While rogue-lite games are not preferred, consistent progress being far more satisfying, there’s no denying that Wizard of Legend impresses and entertains.
The price of the game is certainly fair, though that will all depend on how much you can get out of the game. Theoretically it could be beaten very quickly, if the player is skilled enough at the very start. Most players will get their fair share of hours out of this rogue-lite, making a little more progress each time, making that end goal seem all the more possible with each attempt. If rogue-lites aren’t your speed, however, it’s safe to skip over Wizard of Legend. While the combat is super fun and addictive, if losing your dungeon progress upon death doesn’t sit well with you, it’s unlikely the combat will be enough to keep you going. Personally, it was enough to keep me trying, despite a preference for kept progression instead of that of the lost variety.
|+ Flows beautifully with tight controls.||– Content is padded by being a rogue-lite.|
|+ Gorgeous sprite work and environments.|
|+ Satisfying SFX for the spells.|