Release Date: 05/15/2018
Available on PC, Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch
Publisher: Humble Bundle
If I took all of the best parts of Gauntlet and mashed them up perfectly with Avatar: The Last Air Bender I still don’t think I would have a game that is as good as Wizard of Legend.
I spent a lot of time playing cooperative games with my brother when we were kids. One of our favorites was Gauntlet. Neither of us were particularly good at games (he has since gotten much better than me) so we needed to work very hard to even clear a few maps. It was a challenge for us, and it was frustrating, but we would talk and plan for hours about how we would try to work together. The local cooperative play in Wizard of Legend evoked so many of those same feelings. I was terrible, and so was my oldest son. But, we both desperately wanted to be better, and, eventually, we did just that. It was a wonderful experience that we’ll both remember for a long time.
It may have been hard to succeed, but it wasn’t hard to play. We were both able to weave our basic spells into powerful routines that crushed our enemies as we whirled around the screen. Over time it became more like a dance than anything else. This dance became more complex as we earned more chaos gems during our runs through the game and used them to buy newer, more interesting, and more powerful spells.
There is no real story per se. You play as a wizard, or pair of wizards, who is completing a set of trials. These trials consist of a set of procedurally generated levels that follow a pattern of two basic stages attuned to an element (fire, ice, or earth) followed by a grand wizard boss. This pattern repeats three times. The key is that you don’t get a chance to recover health or save your progress in between stages. If you die, then your run is over and you have to start over. The only things you can keep are the chaos gems that you earn for defeating enemies. The spells you buy each fit into an element which helps determine their behavior and the type of damage they deal. Balancing the spells in your load out to make sure that they match both your play style and the types of enemies you expect to be facing is critical. This is especially true because many of the spells in the game affect your movement.
Each of these procedurally generated levels is populated by monsters that appear in patterns depending on the shape of the room. Some of the enemy groups can be brutally unfair, but skillful play and the appropriate spell selection will usually help bail you out. The enemy variety is lacking though. Many of them look like the same monster with a very small variation in powers.
At some point I have to talk about the name though right? I’ve been avoiding it, but I can’t just ignore it.”Wizard of Legend” is, as a title, about as inspired as soggy toast. It does a terrible job of cluing players in to the game that they will be playing. Here’s hoping that enough players can look past the name to get to the great game that lies behind it.
Family Gaming Assessment
Wizard of Legend is rated E 10+ by the ESRB for Fantasy Violence.
It was rated PEGI 7 “because it contains violence that lacks any apparent harm or injury to fantasy or mythical beings and creatures and non-realistic looking violence towards characters which although human are not very detailed.”
I think these ratings are accurate. There is no doubt that it is a violent game, but all of the action is directed at inhuman monsters.
Wizard of Legend is accessible. It doesn’t require complicated button combinations to move around the map and attack enemies. It is, however, very hard and will likely be frustrating to younger gamers (or older ones for that matter) who are easily frustrated.
There is a fair amount of text to read. You need it to help understand what your spells do. But, it isn’t essential. Younger gamers could get by with help from a more experienced reader.
I would recommend Wizard of Legend to a family that is looking for a challenge to take on together. Its ideal for siblings or a parent-child combo that enjoy playing games together and coordinating strategies. I truly enjoyed my time with my son while playing this game.
Buy it on the Humble Bundle website here.