Wizorb was developed and published by Beatshapers under Tribute Games’ license. The PSN Minis game is available on PSN for $3.99/€2.95/£2.49. Also available as a part of the Beatshapers Indie Bundle for $6.99/€5.99/£4.99.
Making something new by remixing something old has been getting increasingly popular ever since the Bejeweled-styled fantasy rpg, Puzzle Quest, hit mainstream consciousness. Wizorb is one of these games, taking the tried and true path of combining a puzzle game with light RPG elements.
In Wizorb, you control Cyrus, an old wizard protecting the Kingdom of Gorudo from evil. Cyrus has an unusual way to fight evil: he uses his magic wand as a paddle, bouncing a magical orb off of it in the style of the classic game Breakout. His journey consists of five different worlds, each including 12 levels, a boss fight and a few secrets.
In addition to the normal block breaking levels, Cyrus can explore the small town of Tarot. Talking to villagers and using the money earned on the main levels opens up different bonuses, like more powerful orbs or a bigger paddle, that can make the battles easier and more interesting.
Here’s what we liked:
Look and feel - Anyone with a taste for the retro style should enjoy the look of this game immensely. Not only are the pixel-art graphics very pleasing to look at, but the animation is simply top notch. It’s amazing how just a few more frames of animation brings the characters to life in a completely different way, helping to define their personality. This quality doesn’t exactly come as a surprise to those familiar with the game’s character animator, Paul Robertson (NSFW), who’s also known for his work on Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game and various other animation projects.
In addition to the animation, the old-fashioned sound effects complete the feel of the game. Wizorb succeeds in giving the player that specific satisfying feeling when breaking the blocks. While basically just polish, the animation and sounds can add a lot to the player enjoyment.
Magic spells – Cyrus can use different magic spells to add effects to the ball or to affect its path. It’s a nice anti-frustration mechanic when you need to break those last few blocks in hard to reach places. It’s also very satisfying to use black magic to crush every block in your way or just shoot some fireballs to nail some enemies dodging your ball. As long as you have magic points, nothing can stop you!
The Village of Tarot – Being able to walk around Tarot, talking to townspeople, rebuilding their houses and buying bonuses is just a nice little touch that makes Wizorb stand out. The RPG-elements are light, but the feeling is there. The little pieces of the game’s story and the blabber of the townspeople feel pretty authentic when compared to the 8-bit or 16-bit RPGs of the old days.
Here’s what we didn’t like:
Level design – While most of the levels are perfectly enjoyable, some of them go way overboard with the amount of blocks to break. Many levels consist of blocks forming some kind of an elaborate symbol or a picture, which looks nice, but can take a frustratingly long time to break completely. Magic usually helps a lot, but the amount of magic points is very limited. Speaking of which…
Not enough magic – Without the magic powers, Wizorb would mainly be just a basic Breakout-clone. It’s a shame that the magic meter is so short and there’s no way to level it up or anything like that. When you’re out of magic, the game is noticeably less enjoyable. The feeling of power coming from destroying everything in your sight is gone and all you can do is to break blocks one at a time and wait for magic restoring items.
While Wizorb doesn’t quite seem to use all its potential, it’s still a very enjoyable game. After all, Breakout is difficult to dislike and the look and feel of the game make it a very nice version of the classic concept.
Score: Buy it!