I suppose that you’ve always fancied yourself a skilled fighter? Or maybe you’re more into being immersed in a world with aesthetically pleasing environments. Well, The Wizards from Carbon Studio offers both of these things in a neat little package that sparks with promise and (latent) power.
The Wizards is, in its essence, a wave shooter. But there’s a bit more to it than simply killing orcs and taking names. Though the orcs do form a large part of the game, it balances out the wave shooter mechanics with some exploration, discovery, and a mysterious world full of lore and mythical creatures. The Wizards released on Friday 28 July, 2017 for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive on Early Access on Steam with a $19.99 price tag. Right now there is a campaign mode and an arcade mode. The arcade mode is just an ongoing battle against the orcs and goblins without the story elements.
The campaign mode alone took me about 3 hours to complete and I died quite a couple of times, meaning that I had to start the levels over and over. Then there’s also the fate cards system which allows you to add some variables to the game and choose the difficulty level, meaning there is some replayability.
Check out our gameplay video below:
Grow Strong and Stand Tall Against the Tides of the Rift (Not the Oculus Rift, Mind You)
I had the opportunity to check out The EA version of The Wizards using HTC Vive. The game already looks extremely polished and basically ready for full release. It just needs a smidge more content – since the orcs in the game are fatter than its content offering at the moment.
When starting the game I found myself walking through a portal into a strange plane with floating rocks. A disembodied voice tells me that his name is Aurelius and he’s a powerful wizard and time traveler. I’m basically his new apprentice and he teaches me a couple of simple spells like fireball, frost-bow and telekinesis. I can activate these spells any time by simply performing the correct movements in the air with my controllers/hands. Right now there are only six spells in total in the game, but according to Carbon Studio more are in the works.
The spells invoke quite the empowering feeling and I found that both the in-game visuals (especially regarding the spells) as well as the haptic feedback on the controllers are some of the game’s strongest features. I teleport from one fixed black disc on the ground to the next until I get transported away from this strange place.
Aurelius then takes me to his place in an icy world – a beautiful castle surrounded by snow-capped mountains. I have to say the developers succeeded in creating a very atmospheric and aesthetically pleasing environment. I assume Aurelius is either dead or somewhere else since he’s nowhere to found inside the castle where I can explore (via teleporting from one black disc on the ground to another). It does feel quite restricting since I can’t just go where I please but am instead tied to these invisible cages that hold me in place.
The Fighting Mechanics and Enemies Are Passable at the Moment
So while the setting in The Wizards was beautifully crafted, the environments feel more like a backdrop with no interaction opportunities than an actual active world. Luckily the telekinesis ability lets me manipulate objects – most of which serve no function save aesthetics – that I can’t reach, which is an acceptable workaround I guess. This ability, as well as the not-being-able-to-move thing reminded me a lot of another spellcasting game – Waltz of the Wizard.
Soon it’s time for me to venture out on my first mission to save a village that’s in danger of being overrun by orcs. After traveling a little, I suddenly get attacked and have to fight off the oncoming orcs. In The Wizards, the world of Meliora has been corrupted by things called rifts and powerful magical crystals that affect the creatures around them. People started to mine these crystals and craft weapons from them but that attracted the orcs and goblins. The spellcasting mechanics that felt great in the beginning start to get a little irritating after having to do them over and over when fighting the orcs. Especially the frost-bow, which disappears after firing about 5 arrows or so and I have to summon it again.
The spells are also hard to summon in the heat of battle and I failed more than a couple of times if I tried to do things too quickly. But it’s hard to do things slowly when there are hordes of huge bipedal beasts running towards you.
After fighting wave after wave of enemies I soon learn a new spell, and after some more fighting I get to travel to the second location in The Wizards, which is an abandoned mine. Apparently there’s some entity helping the orcs and goblins into this world through a portal from their own. Currently, there are only two places to go, besides the wizard’s castle and the training grounds. Though the two locations do offer great views through an almost maze-like environment with pockets where the fighting occurs, there isn’t much else to do in them.
So for now, the game shows a lot of promise, but definitely, needs some work and more content. Luckily the game just released on Early Access so the developers are working on that. The Wizards is available at a $19.99 price tag on Steam now for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.