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Wizard of Legend Review

Contingent99 is a new indie crew that was fortunate enough to have their debut title, Wizard of Legend, successfully crowdfunded. The new team promises an action-packed dungeon crawler where players choose from a plethora of spells to make nearly endless loadout combos for a truly unique wizarding experience. Wizard of Legend has all the things you’d expect from a roguelike such as countless collectibles, brutal bosses, and endless replay value.

Yer a Wizard

Wizard of Legend opens with you wandering a wizard museum as a starry-eyed novice revelling in the wonders of what it is to be a master wizard. It is here that you learn that you have what it takes to enter a grand tournament where only the greatest wizard will make it to the end. The tournament has three elemental leaders and a final boss that has mastered them all.

The house and market that you’re teleported to become the main hub of the game where you can buy and swap your spells, items, and costumes. On your first playthrough, you have absolutely nothing: no items, bland spells, and a costume with no benefits. During each run, you can use the gold you acquire to add additional spells and items to your loadout, all of which are lost on death. The way that Wizard of Legend handles permanent progression is by having a secondary currency which never disappears. In the main hub you can use this currency to buy spells, items, and costumes which can be changed before starting your next playthrough.

The refreshing thing about this form of progression is that it doesn’t reduce the difficulty, unlike most roguelikes with this feature. Wizard of Legend limits your entry loadout to three spells (out of a maximum of five) and one item of choice. Costumes are the closest thing to granting a noticeable advantage, but not one significant enough to make the game feel any easier. The only thing that will win you this tournament is a mixture of skill, an efficient loadout, and a little bit of luck.

Storm, earth, and fire! Heed my call!

A lot of games have attempted to tackle the challenge of creating engaging combat as a spellcaster, but most just don’t capture it purposely. The biggest issues are typically that selecting spells pulls you out of the moment, and casting them isn’t even satisfying. Wizard of Legend solves these issues perfectly with its smooth and engaging combat. Spells are put on an extremely short cooldown, there is no mana bar, and most spells can chain together in one way or another. The most efficient way to play is by making sure that your spells are always being used the second that they are up, and yet the game never feels like a button-masher. Each spell has a purpose, so casting spells at random only puts you in danger of being hit for the second that you’re standing still. The game has a meta in play where your spells are composed of a dash, basic attack, and two standard spells, one of which can be turned into a super move upon maxing out your combo meter. The necessary limitation keeps the gameplay consistent and prevents certain builds from completely overpowering others, especially since there is a full versus-multiplayer mode.

No matter what build you create, there will always be clear advantages and disadvantages. In my experience, I found that using a loadout composed of entirely the same element lets you gain the upper hand by pairing it with items that boost that element’s damage, but the trade-off is that builds that incorporate a variety of elements tend to create much more efficient combos. There are over 100 spells in the game to choose from, so avoid the guides and wikis in order to get the most out of the game as you experiment and find out what combo works best with you. Some spells are definitely better than others, but as long as you can master the combat, most combos work.

There are plenty of basic enemies and sub-bosses, all of which have a pretty clear pattern. Knowing your enemy is the most important thing but only half the battle. When you’re confronted with large hordes of enemies Wizard of Legend basically becomes a bullet hell. Invincibility frames aren’t present, so getting hit by a large group can sometimes end up costing you your entire health bar. Bosses are all of this crammed into one enemy that has mastered a specific element. The order that you fight the bosses in is randomized each time, but the difficulty is always tweaked to ensure that the first boss is easiest and the final is the hardest.

Strength isn’t always in numbers

Wizard of Legend can be enjoyed entirely with two players. My first impression was that having a friend tag along would make the game an absolute breeze when in reality it proves to be a greater challenge. The fast pace and the pixel graphics mean that sharing a screen can be quite confusing at times. Even when wearing opposite colors, it’s extremely common to confuse who’s who, which resulted in taking tons of unnecessary damage. On top of this, your gold is shared, meaning that you’ll have to do some proper coordinating to figure out who gets what. Hope your friends aren’t greedy. I actually consider this a double-edged sword as it adds the new challenge of having a proper strategy, but results in much smaller player growth.

The versus multiplayer on the other hand is very straightforward and serves as a fantastic fighting game experience. Each player is allowed to build their own standard loadout as usual and are then teleported to an arena full of hazards and additional spells. The damage of spells is tweaked to elongate the fight so matches are intense and very well-paced. If this mode ever sees online play, it will almost definitely grow a solid community like any other fighting game.

Pixel perfect

Wizard of Legend looks beautiful. The pixel art is well done and each elemental section has a defined color palette with a very distinct style. The earth section is covered in lush grass and mossy stone walls, while the fire section has tons of flowing lava and dark industrial stones. The enemies look significantly different than your character, which luckily means that you will never lose your character’s position while playing. Boss fights are by far where this game shines the most in its visuals. Each boss is a master of their element; the fire boss sends out giant waves of flames that take up huge chunks of the screen as explosions go off around you. Each fight is a beautiful, chaotic mess. The animators and artists truly need to be commended for creating such a fantastic variety of pixelated spells. I found myself constantly testing out spells that didn’t appeal to me simply to explore more of the game artistically and mechanically.

8

The Verdict: Excellent

Wizard of Legend delivers so much at such a low price. The difficulty always provides a proper challenge even for experienced players. The rewarding combat is matched with a ton of customization options which will have you continuing to play long after you’ve beaten the final boss. The only flaws of note are the lack of online play and the confusing mess that is sharing a screen with another player during co-op play. For now, the game is best enjoyed solo.

Stephen Martino
Written by
June 21, 2018
Published in Action

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Stephen is the dedicated game critic of his friend group and always has a new recommendation he just can’t keep to himself.  Whether a AAA release or a hidden indie gem, he’s always the one his friends will consult when thinking of picking up a game.  Stephen started his love for gaming back with Resident Evil : Code Veronica on the Sega Dreamcast.  After dumping way too many hours into it, he moved to the Xbox 360 and then the PC upon realizing just how much he loved modding and customization in games.  If you ever plan on playing a game featuring customizable characters with this Brooklynite critiq, you’d better free up your schedule because you know he’s going to be fine-tuning every last slider and color. 

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