Running through procedurally generated dungeons as a magic-casting wizard who moves like a ninja sounds pretty awesome. However, does Wizard of Legend provide a satisfying roguelike dynamic? Crack open a spell book and let's find out.
Wizard of Legend is played by sprinting around dungeons (known as the Chaos Trials) while casting a variety of spells. These spells (also called arcana) are mapped to six buttons and you execute each one by a simple tap. There are a ton of spells to unlock so decking out your wizard with a bunch that suit your play style is quite rewarding. The spells come in different element types which work better in certain dungeons as you'll traverse ones based on earth, ice, and fire in a random order. Anyway, the combat is super-tight and intense with constant action and relentless enemies. Therefore, you have to dodge out of harm's way and use your spells as strategically as possible. This is especially true considering every spell besides your melee and dash moves require some time to recharge. Overall, fighting the variety of enemies is a blast and it can be extremely rewarding considering how challenging even regular foes are.
The visuals in Wizard of Legend are spot-on for a pixel-filled retro-inspired world as the environments are distinct and each character and enemy is well animated. Of course, the environments tend to get repetitive rather quickly considering there are only three of them but they do look sharp and detailed which is impressive considering they are randomly generated. Wizard of Legend's soundtrack is superb, too. It's one of those indie games where if I saw the soundtrack for sale somewhere, I would totally buy it. The orchestral score is epic and makes the gameplay so much more visceral as you battle the hordes of dastardly foes.
One of the coolest aspects of Wizard of Legend is just how much equipment and spells there are to unlock. You can purchase these with earned chaos gems (are you sure they're not emeralds?) at the central hub. You can equip 1 relic at a time (which kind of feels cheap) as well as 4 preset spells. The remaining 2 slots can be filled with temporary spells that you may find in the dungeon. On top of these, you can unlock outfits that might provide substantial bonuses. By the way, I highly recommend buying one right off the bat to make things easier. Overall, I'm impressed with how much stuff there is to unlock and customizing your spell loadout is great fun.
That being said, I wish there were some permanent upgrades instead of just equipment to unlock. If you could trade in chaos gems to increase your base stats a little bit at a time, that would have made each trip to the Chaos Trials feel much more rewarding. Keep in mind, this is one brutally difficult game so the fact that you can only equip a few basic things just doesn't seem to help all that much. One thing that makes the game far more difficult than it should be is that there is no recovery time. Enemies can persistently keep beating you senseless which can be a huge problem in tight quarters. I wish there was at least a split second recovery every time you got hit.
My final complaint is that the game world is incredibly limiting. If the developers applied their stellar gameplay to a sprawling world then Wizard of Legend could have been a must-have game. As it is, you just get three little random dungeons and a final boss that could all be completed within half an hour. Trust me, there's even a trophy for that. Thankfully, there is a multiplayer component that allows you to play cooperatively with a friend or compete with them in an arena. Considering you can revive each other after slaying a handful of enemies, playing cooperatively actually makes Wizard of Legend much easier. I wish it adjusted the difficulty accordingly.
If Wizard of Legend's awesome gameplay was set in a massive adventure-filled world then it would be one of the best indies ever made. Considering the experience is as limiting as it is, it makes me wonder why the developers decided to make it a roguelike instead.
- + Tight and action-intense combat that thoroughly rewards quick thinking
- + Sharp visuals and fantastic music
- + Loads of equipment to unlock
- - High difficulty with no recovery time makes gameplay extremely frustrating
- - Very limiting game world
- - Could use permanent upgrades