Spell slinging and roguelike action seem like they go hand in hand right? Indie studio Contingent99 thought so, and their release of Wizard of Legend cements the notion that they grasp just how well this combination works.
Game: Wizard of Legend Platform(s): PC (reviewed), also available on Mac, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch Publisher(s): Contingent99 Developer(s): Contingent99 Release Date: May 15, 2018 Price: $15.99
The slight exposition in the game is presented in a clever manner, giving the player some insight into the lore of the world in the form of a museum. While making their way around the starting area players are allowed the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the basic controls and movements. As the wizard glides from one exhibit to the next the game also presents the basic powers, letting the player fully familiarize themselves with their abilities. It’s a fun and engaging way of including a tutorial that allows players to take as much or as little time as they need in that starting area. The bits of story paired with the immediate access to the powers of the game make Wizard of Legend an easy one to get into right after the title card.
The frantic action of the title engaged me from the first true fight in the dungeon as well. Gorgeous visuals give the fast-paced battles a crisp and satisfying feeling while maintaining a screen that doesn’t feel too busy- something that can easily become a problem in this genre. In true roguelike fashion, Wizard of Legend threw me right into the heat of things after the proper game began, granting me plenty of new enemies and combat styles to adjust to, all while relishing in my inevitable defeat. Practicing the dodge maneuver and close range attacks that are essential to combat, and becoming familiar with the rotating list of spells became an incredibly fun trial by fire very quickly.
And yet the feeling of having to start a new run wasn’t disheartening. In fact, a fresh start excited me each time I experienced it because it gave me a new opportunity to experiment with the various combinations of spells and equipment I could piece together. New gems and spells meant approaching each run differently, and before re-entry into the hazardous crypts players are given an opportunity to acquire new spells and relics at the bazaar to aid on their quest. Diehard roguelike fans might be off put by the ways you can permanently unlock new items, gear, and spells to outfit your wizard with, but I found this element of the game endearing. The permanence of some things gives a sense of progression outside achieving victory against the bosses and ended up being a huge motivator to keep playing.
The cursed items also offer significant variation in the style of play as their benefits are weighed against hefty costs. This allows the player to have the freedom to take risks big enough to add a decent challenge while still remaining fair in the ways that it benefits the wizard. These relics offer a fun variation too and only stand to add even more combinations to the list of hundreds already available.
The soundtrack to the game is fitting as well, and the audio is just as refined as the visual elements of the game. Each spell cast and attack made feels like it really connects thanks to the quality of the audio presentation, and the music matches the game’s pace perfectly. Yet the flurry of excitement this creates wanes only slightly when you realize you’ve been trekking through similar rooms for a while, fighting similar enemies, and encountering shopkeepers that may as well be twin brothers. While those elements are all instrumental to how to game functions, they can grow to feel dull a little too early, especially given the fact that players are expected to play through the Chaos Trials multiple times.
That being said I found the practice of that repetition to be marvelously fun. As I previously stated, the feeling of starting a new run is matched only by the elation of making significant progress in the last one. Call me a creature of habit but I found so much joy in beginning the game from its start no matter how repetitive the enemies or environments got. This was absolutely due in large part to the combat, which is so excellently paced and varied depending on how you’ve prepared for your run through the Chaos Trials.
All in all Wizard of Legend does most everything right, and the two talented individuals at Contingent99 have certainly demonstrated their ability to execute a damn fun, fast-paced roguelike experience. Throwing spells about with reckless abandon as you mow your way through hordes of enemies is so satisfying, and will put a genuine smile on your face. The game encapsulates everything that is fun about an action-packed roguelike from the impressive battles to crushing defeats. It’s clear the fondness I have for the indie title, and I feel that love reciprocated from the developers in the creation and execution of the game. If you’re a fan of frantic combat and masterful wizardry, Wizard of Legend is the game for you.
Review Disclosure Statement: Wizard of Legend was provided to us for review purposes. For more information on how we review video games and other media/technology, please go review our Review Guideline/Scoring Policy for more info.
Wizard of Legend is a phenomenally fun roguelike that succeeds in all the areas it needs to. Underneath a graphically pleasing veneer sits a meticulously crafted game with a fun combat system and intricate class building. Contingent99 really did something special here.
Mechanically sound and easily accessible
Engaging and replayable for hours on end
The same enemies and environments sometimes feel stale