"Hits all the right marks."
Platform(s): PSP, PS3, PC, X360
Release Date: July 24, 2012 (PS Minis)
We’ve all had this happen to us: Somebody creates a combination of two things that haven’t been mixed before and the idea is so simple but effective that anyone could’ve thought of it. Then you think: “Why didn’t I think of that? I could’ve totally thought of that. Next time, I’ll be the one to think of that.” And then, it will keep happening, without ever having that personal thought come to fruition. This is the point that proves the world needs creative people. This extended interlude is all to say that WizOrb is such an ingenious combination.
This mini-game uses the old gameplay of Arkanoid (or Breakout for some) where a platform bumps a ball through a level to break blocks and mixes that with a roleplaying game. Or rather, it gives the feel of an RPG mix, without actual RPG elements. In any case, the combination is ergonomic gold. The olden pixel art style that creates colorful levels filled with cute drawings and monsters is backed by an equally traditional soundtrack that brings cheer with heaps. This classic vibe could make WizOrb a game hailing straight out of the 8bit era. To a point, it evokes the feeling of being seated behind a NES and playing Pinball. The sincere days of an older generation of games is alive and well in this simple arcade game.
The goal is clear: Using a bar, players bounce a little ball around until all blocks are broken and monsters are defeated. The kicker here is that the player also has a magic gauge that allows the wizard to cast white or dark magic. White powers either blow a gust of wind that directs the ball or give direct control of the ball itself. The dark side shoots a fireball or makes a flaming bullet of the ball. In reality, this doesn’t change a lot, but given the dynamics of bouncing around and having to juggle for control, this adds a whole new dimension to gameplay.
Going even further, levels often have secrets tucked away behind closed doors. By gaining keys or busting down doors, these hidden levels give access to shops or treasure filled caves. Gameplay is already basically effective enough to warrant some good, clean fun, but adding a few more surprises completes a fresh take on a tried and true concept. WizOrb doesn’t stop there either. Throughout the game, there will also be trickier challenges, new level elements and periodic boss battles. It’s like a grand adventure in miniature format.
Completing stages and reaping the rewards from within also aid to restore a tragically destroyed little town. With money gained from these levels, our wizard can pay to rebuild homes, pubs and farms. It’s nothing much, but it helps to create a world to care about. These people require help and there is but one hero valiant enough to do the deed. It might not be a traditional roleplaying journey, but it will be magical.
As a miniature title, WizOrb hits all the right marks. It has a simple and charming execution and gameplay that invites players to pick it up time and again. Whether it’s the nostalgia aspect or the RPG feel, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this game with its bewitching allure.