Arkanoid, Alleyway, Breakout, or by whatever else you know that game, has gotten a major overhaul. Wizorb is part Breakout, Part Devil’s Crush, part RPG, all awesome. It’s a game that embodies the exact reason of why I support indie games; it’s a game of passion and not necessarily of financial gain, though I’m sure the developers wouldn’t mind making profit off it. And who are the developers exactly? Jean-François Major, Justin Cyr, and Jonathan Lavigne are the masterminds behind Wizorb, the first game developed by their recently formed Tribute Games. Jonathan’s own portfolio consists of working on a handful of games at Ubisoft, including one of my personal favorites, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game. Anyone who’s a fan of River City Ransom is totally legit in my eyes.
I only had to play this game for about 10 seconds before I knew I loved it. You all know I’m a sucker for new games made in that retro 8-bit style. I will invariably try out any game just because it looks 8-bit, but all too often they’re nothing special. Just trying to bank off my nostalgic sentimentalism of my youthful gaming. Although I would have played it for just the soundtrack alone – nothing beats a catchy chiptune soundtrack and sometimes I’ll forget I’m even playing a bad game if the music is good. But Wizorb is the total package, and what’s more, it’s not just a cleverly re-imagined game, it’s an excellent blend of arcade style gaming, story telling, and genre mashing. You play as Cyrus the wizard, master of a secret magic, the Wizorb! Using your mastery of white and black magic you must help save Gorudo from a mysterious evil threat. Acquire gold and power ups by defeating enemies and beating stages to help the villagers rebuild their homes and bring prosperity back to Gorudo.
The gameplay is broken down into basically two parts – the narrative where you talk to townspeople and set of on your quest, and then the action stages which is essentially like playing breakout. Rather than just a lifeless bar and ball however, you control the Wizorb and Cyrus’s magical wand to deflect the orb, destroying bricks and enemies. Proving that his wizardly prowess is more than just a glorified inanimate deflecting bar, your control of magic allows you to shoot fireballs from your wand, or alter the orbs course with a gust of wind. The inclusion of wandering enemies on the field was a nice touch and makes the game more dynamic. Otherwise I could have easily gotten that metronome style of deflect ball, break bricks, then repeat from many other various sources. And the far reaching goal of saving an entire town gives you more of a reason to play rather than just looking for something to do to kill some time. I would consider this a casual game like most of the ones you can find on an android or iphone, and I usually disdain casual games, but it’s that RPG element that completely elevates it above the entire genre. You may have played games like Wizorb before, but never one this well developed.
Developer: Tribute Games
Official Site: Wizorb.com
Platform: XBLA – 240 MSP