I’d like to apologize for my absence, but this time it’s not my fault. I’ve been sick, and am in fact still ill. All my plans and workouts fell flat as soon as the weather turned truly cold, and I had to drop a paying editing job in the middle of a week because I had an MS-related relapse. Right as I was recovering from that junk, I got a good old-fashioned cold, the kind that likes to stick around for two weeks and come in waves. It’s like every time I get up and say, “Oh, I might be better,” the cold shows up an hour later to go, “Psyche! Gotcha, bitch!”
While I don’t feel the need to apologize for being sick, I do want to say how sorry I am that I won’t be finishing Wizard of Legend. Every time I think to play it, I also think of a dozen other things I could do that would be better ways to spend my time. Like doing laundry, for instance. When a game is so tedious that I would prefer to do laundry instead, you know there’s a problem.
But, as I can’t finish it, this is not a review. I will cover what I liked about the parts I played, and then I’ll cover what I hated. (Hate is a strong word, but it totally applies in this instance, believe me.) But I will not give a score, so then it’s not a real, really real review.
What I liked can be summed up pretty fast, so first, let’s go over the story. In the modern era of the game’s world, your character is a young wizard visiting the museum of the Chaos Trials, where people admire all the many feats and spells of wizards of legend. It’s basically a tutorial area before an artifact sucks you back in time and into your very own Chaos Trial. You, yes YOU, are now being tested to become A WIZARD OF LEGEND! Wooohooo! Yaaay!
The premise is decent, the graphics are lovely, and the music is nice. Once you have enough funds to buy spells and find a mix that works for you, the visual flair of said spells can look quite spectacular as well. Aaaaand that’s everything I liked. *Deep breath*
It’s a pity that almost everything else about this game makes me hate it so much. I can’t even point to one thing that stands out more than anything else. There’s the shit controls, the wimpiness of every single spell, and then there’s the god damned grind needed to buy anything in this stingy game. Honestly, I kept waiting for a prompt to pop up offering to sell me packs of crystals because this is a level of grind I’ve only seen in games trying to dig extra money out of my wallet.
Let’s take those gripes in reverse order. The grind is what has done the most to burn me out of playing any more than I already have. At this point, I’ve got a mostly good kit of starting spells that will see me through the first biome even if I never find any appealing spells in the shops scattered in the levels. (Or if, true to fashion for these shit show “rouge-lites,” I didn’t earn enough currency to buy anything at all, and fuck you very much to the asshole who designed the economy in this game.) But to buy new spells in the open market before starting any new trial, I had to spend a long time banging my head against each of the three starting biomes over and over just to eke out a few crystals at a time. When most basic spells are 15 and the “signature” versions cost 75,” I am faced with playing over and over and over with no hope of victory. I’m just playing to pay for the next unlock. It’s the most dreadful grind I’ve ever experienced, and not even free to play titles have felt this awful to play.
Adding to the grind frustration is the fact that health is a precious non-regenerating commodity. Let’s say I’ve found the boss of level 1-1 early, and the fight leaves me with half health. I know somewhere is a shop to buy health, but I also know that buying it will require killing every single enemy in the map to even hope to have a chance of affording one stupid health potion. Oh, and of course if I buy that, I can’t buy any spells or artifacts. I can get one thing in each level, and if I’m at 25 health, well tough shit, I can’t have anything else.
There’s an artifact that’s supposed to make enemies drop more funds, but guess what? It doesn’t really work. I earn about the same shit rates whether I use it or any other artifact. So yeah, knowing that this is what every run is going to be like, I’d much rather go play something else, even if it’s a game that also has a grind built in. ANYTHING is better than this.
Even when I do finally get spells that can deal out enough damage to make a difference, they all feel so damned wimpy. The only exception to this is when a signature spell gets fully charged up, but good luck getting that to happen outside of a boss fight. The meter that charges the spell also drains just as quickly as soon as you have nothing to attack, and you will wander through hall after hall with the meter draining and have nothing to use it on.
Then there’s the spell cool down timers. With the exception of your most basic attack, every spell has a timer. So get used to throwing out everything you have at a minion, and then running in circles to dodge it while waiting for those damned timers to refill. “Oh, just use the basic attack,” you say. Yeah, about that. Most of the time, there’s a delay in your combo that gives any enemy the chance for a counter attack, and most minions have a move that will wreck your health while your basic attack is doing chip damage to them. Trading blows in this way is a guaranteed easy way to die in the first level without even seeing the first boss.
In fact, there’s a certain “shop” occupied by a pinata who tasks you with busting him. This shop clearly demonstrates how weak your spells are because it’s entirely possible to hit that asshole with everything you have and have him laugh it off. This is including the spells you’ll pick up from the shops in the biomes. But the real punchline is when you do finally hit on a combination and the pinata drops something completely useless, such as a spell you already have equipped.
Even this could be considered part of the challenge, but then we arrive to the coup de grace, the shitty controls. Imagine running in circles trying to dodge a boss just so you can get one shot at them with your signature spell. The spell queues up, so you turn and fire…and the spell goes completely the wrong direction. GREAT. So now you fire off everything else you have and guess what? You miss with everything except the basic attack, which just tickles the boss. Oh, finally, here’s the signature spell timer filling up, aaaaand…YOU MISSED AGAIN.
The biggest problem I have with this is that there is a circle surrounding the character with an arrow that should in theory indicate where a spell will fire. The problem is, sometimes it’s not accurate. Other times, There will be a lag-like delay in the time between me pressing the button and the spell firing. If my thumb quivers even a fraction of a millimeter from where I needed to aim in that moment of delay, I miss. Finally, if I get the delay and I let go of the direction I was aiming to stop moving toward the boss, the aim arrow re-centers itself, so the shot goes wild.
At this point, I’ve fought through each of the biomes with my current build and defeated each of the three elemental bosses. There’s an earth boss, a fire boss, and an ice boss, and they all have the one single pun intro when I face them. From this point forward, all minions in the next biomes get an upgrade to their attacks. It might be added oomph or a new combo they didn’t have before, but the challenge goes up even for something I feel like I’ve seen before, and I always end up limping into the end of the next biome with like 25 health and no hope in hell of winning.
I’ve seen the same three bosses over and over, and unlike a game like Binding of Issac where there’s a wide range of possible bosses to fight over the same number of guaranteed boss rooms, there’s nothing here to prevent this from becoming tedious long before I get past the elemental triad and heading to the final boss. (I had a feeling there was one and looked him up on YouTube. Basically, he’s got all the same elements as the previous bosses, plus chaos spells. He looks real cool, and it’s a damn shame I’ll never see him myself.)
So we arrive at the point where in a review, I would give a score, but obviously this time there isn’t one. I got this game because I saw some very enthusiastic review videos. But I have to be honest, and I just don’t see the appeal. Yes, it’s pretty, and the music and sound effects are spot on. But despite the pretty visual and audio wrapping, everything else about this game makes me want to avoid it at all costs. Your mileage may vary, but if you’re seeking my advice, I’d suggest finding something else to occupy your free time.