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Game Info:

Wizard of Legend
Developed By: Contingent99
Published By: Contingent99/Humble Bundle
Release Date: May 15, 2018
Available On: Windows, macOS, SteamOS/Linux, Switch, PS4, Xbox One
Genre: Action Rogue-like beat ‘em up
Number of Players: 1-2
ESRB Rating: E10+ for Fantasy Violence
MSRP: $15.99
(Humble Store Link)

Thank you Humble Bundle for sending us this game to review!

I have to admit, when I first saw this game I thought ‘oh joy, yet another pixel art game’. And yet, when I started to play it, it became pretty clear that this game is not just a cheap cash-in, but instead a carefully crafted, tough-as-nails action beat ‘em up where you try to defeat the three elemental wizards, and then the ultimate one to become a Wizard of Legend – one of the very few to complete the Chaos Trails. It also helped that the music was fantastic, and not a lazy chiptune effort; it's an orchestral and electronic hybrid, and is simply wonderful.

The story is fairly simple: there is a museum about the titular wizard, and part of the exhibit is you can pay to spend time with a basic set of arcana, a.k.a. spells or skills, where you go through a small recreation of what a chaos trial may have been like. At the end, you touch a monument, and you are unexpectedly magically transported to a new place where you have the chance to actually become a real Wizard of Legend – by partaking in the actual Chaos Trials.

The action takes place on a 2D plane, where you see your hero fight from up above, and you use your basic, dash, standard, or signature skills to pound the enemies into little bits. Thankfully, they just disappear when they die. Enemies include other wizards, ninjas, suits of armor, various blobs, zombie-like shadow creatures, golems, and so on. It’s all very fast-paced, and very, very, difficult.

Wizard of Legend
Highlights:

Strong Points: Excellent music; very nice pixel art; action feels great; levels are unique each time; lots of loot to look forward to; extreme difficulty
Weak Points: Extremely difficult
Moral Warnings: Fantasy violence; magic is used by both enemies and the player

What struck me about this game soon after playing it is that it’s really all up to the player in order to progress – you can and do earn new arcana (which are spells/skills that you use in combat) and relics, which make you stronger. But at the end of the day, the difference on success or failure is almost completely reliant on player skill. It’s not a super long game; you can easily beat it in one sitting, and in less than two hours. But the chances of that happening are extremely slim unless you are superhuman, or had tons of practice (or you’re cheating).

The general pattern of the game is like so: there are three elemental masters, of fire, ice and earth. (Air and electricity are also in-game arcana, but do not have a master. Chaos unlocks as playable after beating the game; again, no master.) Each element has two levels, and then a boss battle. On each level there are three shops to discover, where you can use gold you earned that run to buy temporary arcana, relics, or sometimes other things like heals or cursed items. Then there is a miniboss to get to the next level. Once you clear both levels of an element, you have the elemental masters. Once all three are defeated, you have the final boss. Good luck – you are going to need it.

This game is quite difficult. It is fun the entire time – I never felt like I was wasting my time, except when I died before gathering a good amount of gems, which are the only things in a run that stay with you if you don’t beat the game that time through. Level layout, enemy order, and loot/store contents are all randomly generated. I am ashamed to say that this was the first time I have ever installed Cheat Engine; I love challenging games, but the player improvement curve is such that equipment alone is not enough.

Wizard of Legend
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 90%
Gameplay - 17/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 10/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 86%
Violence - 7/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 6/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

In most games, there is a balance between training the player and equipping the player, such that as you get stronger, the game gets easier, or stays approximately as difficult, but the earlier areas get easier. In this game, the earlier areas get easier less because you get better equipment (though you do), but more because you get more skilled. The result is that a moment of laziness or lack of caution can doom that run such that you need to start again. While there is better gear to get, honestly the starting arcana are good enough such that if you had to, you could do quite well with only that if you have the skill; and, if you don’t have the skill, you won’t get all that much farther even if you have a loadout that lead to victory for another.

Wizard of Legend is quite an excellent rogue-like action RPG. Each run, despite following a similar outline, is largely unique; enemies, treasures, shops, and more are all randomly generated. Combat is tons of fun, and finding the perfect combination of arcana, relics, and armor can make a significant difference, even if it all comes down to skill in the end. I agree with the ESRB’s E10+ rating; there is magic and fantasy violence; the strangest magic spells were ones that summoned a circle with a geometric shape inside; there were no pentagrams that I saw. The rest are common elemental spells like fireballs or icicles. Co-op is fun too, though surprisingly didn’t make the game all that much easier since the other player was less skilled. Overall, Wizard of Legend gets an easy recommendation – as long as you are willing to put in the time to learn the game to its fullest.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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