Wizard of Legend Review
Contingent99 takes the stage with their highly anticipated Kickstarter title Wizard of Legend. The team started the project back in June of 2016, but the wait has been tough, as they teased high-quality artwork, wildly unique abilities and the promise of excessive replay value. Fortunately, they’ve delivered in spades. Despite 2018 still being relatively fresh, Wizard of Legend is easily one of the finest games to come out this year, but also one of my newfound favorites.
Taking place in the land of Lanova, you start off strolling through a museum, learning the ins and outs of the game, and what exactly the Chaos Trials are and why wizards are just such a big deal. As you near the end of the area, you’re immediately thrust into the world, soon to take on these challenges yourself. Glory is your ultimate goal, but make no mistake, those accolades won’t come easily. Wizard of Legend is an incredibly fine-tuned experience, and an immensely satisfying one nonetheless, but it’s also quite challenging. It is clear that Contingent99 has truly put their heart and soul into this game and from the wide array of spells and enemies to the snappy, satisfying combat and excellent soundtrack, there’s plenty to like about this title. Wizard of Legend is quite simply fun as hell.
Wizard of Legend gives you no quarter. From the get-go you already have careful choices to make, as you get a pocket full of gems to splurge on either Arcana or Relics. These gems are one of the very few ways to unlock new abilities, so choose wisely. Arcana are your bread and butter in dungeons, with every spell having an enhanced version that yields additional effects. You can also designate one as your signature, an immensely powerful spell that is your coup de grace. Mixing and matching these spells is so much fun, that I was coming up with new play-styles almost every run. Be it getting in someone’s face with heavy hitting melee attacks, or using Arcana that chain together to lay out massive combos, there are many ways to approach the Chaos Trials. You’ll need to be creative as well, as each boss in the game can quickly end your run if you are careless. The council members are especially challenging as well, but not to the point of being unfair. They’re just damn good at their magic, so you have to be as well. Thanks to very tight and responsive controls, zipping back and forth between enemy attacks and laying out the hurt is easy to get into, but hard to master.
You’ll also run into a variety of NPCs that help spice up your run, allowing you to purchase relics and arcana provided you have enough gold. These are not permanent, but will last for the rest of your run, unless given up at a later point. Be it Nox and his cursed, powerful relics, or Iris and his array of arcana, you’ll have plenty of ways to help give you the edge over The Council and maybe eke out a victory, maybe. The gameplay of Wizard of Legend is so finely tuned that I felt almost all mistakes were misplays on my part, mostly. There was the occasional annoyance with navigating the map, but otherwise, any hit I took was just an indication that I needed to put on my robe and wizard hat and try harder. The council members are easily some of the best boss battles I have experienced across indie and AAA titles, and it is downright euphoric to overtake one, as you unlock a random arcana, a bevy of gems, and the promise of further progress. I’ve yet to actually make it all the way to head of the council, but make no mistake, I’m enjoying Wizard of Legends progression immensely, even having just put it down to hammer out this review before jumping back in again.
Admittedly, this difficulty may be a bit of a turn off to people expecting to be good right off the bat, as the game doesn’t hold your hand in any capacity. Determining what works and what doesn’t is part of the fun, but a bit of direction with how relics and arcana interact would be highly appreciated, especially as there is no way to recall what one item does until it is in your inventory. Having some means to refer to these effects once you have acquired them would be immensely helpful, especially in a game that is so focused on its synergies. You can look up all the items that you have unlocked outside of the dungeon, but this is not available when actually on a run, and having some means of reference to look back on is a feature I’ve found to be quite valuable after experiencing it in similar titles. That being said, there really isn’t much I can fault Wizard of Legend for overall. It’s apparent that Contingent99 knows what they are doing, and they’ve confirmed that there is post-launch content on the way as well, so be sure to give these two gentlemen an honest shot, as you may end up as pleasantly surprised as I was, if not more so.
**Nintendo Switch key provided by the publisher**
- Immaculately tuned gameplay
- Spells, Spells and more Spells
- Excellent music
- Bosses feel like actual bosses
- Gorgeous pixel art
- Difficulty may offput some
- No way to refer to effects on the fly