The Wizard


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Rating: 4.3/5 (55 votes)
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The Wizard

DoraIn Hypnotic Owl's turn-based puzzle The Wizard, titular magic maestro Kevin loses his most precious treasure... his face. That's right, someone has literally made off with his moneymaker, and he has no choice but to pursue the thief through the sewers and into a dangerous castle filled with tricks, traps, treasure, and beasties galore that would love to chew Kevin's non-existent face right off. The game is divided into levels, with the goal being to make it safely past any dangers and to the exit, casting spells to deal with anything that gets in your way. Click and drag on green tiles to make a path, but beware... monsters will come after you if they spot you. You can click a creature to see its range, which will be helpful in planning your method of attack. See, as you play, you'll unlock new spells for Kevin (how great a wizard can he be if he literally has no magic until you find it for him?) that need to be triggered by drawing specific patterns. When you find a spell, it'll go to his notebook in the upper-right corner of the screen for you to refer to. Click on Kevin, and then draw the spell's path around him to cast. As you incinerate monsters, you'll actually level up, which can earn you points to upgrade spells you've discovered. Sadly, no upgrade for the Magic Missile will allow you to attack the darkness. Hey, can I have a Mountain Dew?

The WizardA lot of games have tried gesture-based magic spells in the past, but The Wizard takes a potentially fiddly system and makes it easy to use with the inclusion of simple symbols. While you can refer to your spell book at any time, the spell patterns are small enough to be immediately committed to memory, and their types are varied so that all of them feel useful. Stages tend to be perhaps a little overly large for the concept, but they're well planned out in such as way as to force you to think and plot your way through them like a puzzle in order to win. Unfortunately, the lack of checkpoints or even an undo function means that if you back Kevin into a corner, there's nothing to do but restart the entire level, which grates considering how slow getting through a stage can be. A single wrong step or realizing you should have tackled enemies in a different order can be killer, which wouldn't be such an issue if the stages were smaller and just more tightly designed. There's no way to go back and replay stages if you didn't kill all the monsters to get all the experience either. Still, The Wizard still looks great and has a wonderful sense of tongue-in-cheek humour, and puzzle fans with patience won't mind learning the ropes and the moves and limitations of each monster. Kevin has a ways to go before he's on the same level as Galstaff, Sorcerer of Light, but he's got a good start.

Play The Wizard

12 Comments

Svarta Svansen Author Profile Page July 25, 2014 6:01 PM

Love the concept. Not so much the large levels and lack of checkpoints. I've restarted on the hedge maze level so many times, I gave up and decided to get back to it later. Which is a bummer because I want to see more!

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Okay, the ice spell is almost useless. It doesn't keep the enemy immobilized nearly long enough for you to defeat them or put any real distance between the two of you.

And Kevin really needs to learn a long-range spell that does more than 1 heart of damage. The Shock spell is better, but you have to get pretty close to the enemy to use it, and Kevin is kind of a glass tank at close range.

Seriously, this game is hard, and I'm playing on the lowest difficulty setting.

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jonassilvasilva Author Profile Page July 25, 2014 9:14 PM

Old school tough game. (played on adept)
Didn't finish it.
I found 2 secret spells:

Invisibility:
On the hedge maze, on the extreme right going down you find a teleporter that takes you to a room with vampires. Defeating on the top you find the invisibility spell (very useful later on)
Protection:
I'm not sure where I go it, probably at the weird wall in one of the levels (you have to hit it 3 times I think)

The freeze spell is extremely useful. A must really. Upgrade it as much as you can. How to use it:
1. As soon as creatures are in range, use it, all in range can't move or attack that turn. The next turn you can use a spell and the creatures will be able to move only one space or attack. The next turn you use the cold spell again. Repeat until the enemy is dead. You can also use it to provoke a creature behind a corner. Watchout as cold ends fire effects and fire effects end cold effects. I usually combine it with magic missiles for far creatures and with electricity when creature is near.

A save options (better yet, multiple saves) would make me play this game to the end.

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Svarta Svansen Author Profile Page July 26, 2014 1:13 AM

Finished it! I wasn't expecting that ending, haha. Some people might be disappointed, but I breathed a sigh of relief and just enjoyed the silly story that followed.

Yeah, that freezing spell is very useful. Also later on you do learn long-range spells that do more than one heart of damage, and boy do they come in handy. The

fire ball and lightning bolt

were my favorites.

I found two more "secret spells" on top of jonassilvasilva's.

There are four blood magic spells: Invisibility, Magic Shield, Accelerate, and Extend. They take off 1 HP each time you use them. Accelerate increases the number of moves you can make in a turn, and Extend allows you to cast an additional spell each turn. All of these are temporary, though. They wear off after a certain number of turns.

Invisibility has saved my butt on more than one occasion, especially in 4-3 where I was about to be swarmed with elves and spiders. The really nice thing about invisibility is that enemies forget about you and stay still if you reappear where they can't see you.

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Just finished as well, and on Normal (Adept) mode (1 damage = half a heart both ways)

Didn't like the fact that they auto-deleted my save file right after I completed, and there is no Level Select, which this kind of game would have done great for. Difficulty is going to be high, but that too is a good thing because this is NOT a fire-and-forget game. You must think ahead and fire spells from a range, if possible, even before the monsters can see you. Tip: Shift+Arrow Keys OR Left-Hold Drag with your Mouse (on game floor) is your best friend (it allows the player to scroll around the level without moving Kevin).

If you think that the Ice spell is useless... well, that's a problem. It is the only way for Kevin to sneak in 2 (possibly 3) Shock attacks from a distance of 2 squares away when most of the enemies are capable of moving 2 squares at a time. Until you learn Fire, Ice+Shock is your main arsenal.

Someone mentioned that there are 4 secret Blood spells (you take 1 damage for every application, and they are support only spells) - Invisibility is definitely one that you want to get and upgrade. Without upgrades, it allows you to get distance, with upgrades, you can actually use your melee spells without retaliation.

One last tip: even if you kill every monster in the 15 levels you have in this game, you will NOT be able to get enough XP to get enough gems to max all the spells. It is important to decide how you want to play, which will determine what spells you want to upgrade. For me, Fire/Fireball+Invisibility was my main go-to spells, but for most cases, a level 2 spell is generally enough for most common situations.

((Just in case anyone is curious: this game uses the Onyx 16-bit fantasy sprite set))

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Okay, so after some practice Ice is a little more effective than I thought. This game is still really hard, though. Can't get past the queen of the night elves.

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Svarta Svansen Author Profile Page July 26, 2014 6:45 PM

Ice breath is especially useful after you've upgraded it. Freezes everyone in a 3x3 square in front of you. I didn't max it out later on in the game because at that point I wanted to use the gems on other spells, and I felt the ice breath spell was sufficiently large.

For the third level with the elves,

invisibility does wonders if you've managed to find it. Upgrade it at least once if you can so you can get at least one hit in without reappearing. I used it (sparingly, of course) in conjunction with lightning bolt (because diagonal attacks keep you safe from archers) and fire ball. If too many enemies got too close, I switched to the ice breath/shock combo or turned invisible and fled to where I could attack them from afar.

One good technique I learned when fighting the elves is not to be too hasty to attack in close quarters, especially if you're at a diagonal part and the enemy is slowed, yet two squares away. Keep him frosted and keep backing up until you hit a straight part. There you will avoid a diagonal attack, and you have two turns (minus re-freezes) to finish him off.

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Svarta Svansen Author Profile Page July 26, 2014 6:48 PM

I meant "not including refreezes" there. :P

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fuzzyface Author Profile Page July 27, 2014 12:59 PM

Given the puzzle nature of the game and the large levels, there definitely should be an UNDO option. I do not see why I should replay the parts I definitely figured out over and over to retry the later parts. Thats not fun.

Also very large graphic tile set with very large levels and browser zoom does not work. Why? Must I have a 30" screen to play it without scrolling around? There should be an option to make tiles smaller.

Also in level selection one should be able to turn back time when going a different way with spell selection.

Albeit I love any game that goes the HTML5/Javascript route there are definitely several aspects to improve before it starts making real fun.

Oh yes and keyboard should be remapable.

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Mystify Author Profile Page July 29, 2014 9:47 AM

how do you deal with vampires?
they seem to teleport next to me no matter what I can do, and while I can survive such an encounter, I can't take on a second.

and I definitely agree about having to redo sections of a large level that you have figured out being annoying. it takes too long to get back to the vampire to try to figure out what to do to be fun. figuring out a puzzle is a challenge, having to repeatedly execute the same sequence of commands to get through it is tedium

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I'm not sure why I was surprised at how good this is. Challenging and stays interesting all the way through - new spells are not Zelda-esque in that "now you have this, so it's necessary to win this level" however as they tend to be useful in new situations, you'll find that incorporating each new spell into your repertoire makes you tougher while simultaneously keeping the game fresh. Your tactics will change as you play, and that's awesome.

I agree that level select and midlevel saving would be nice, but I can see why it might have been a design decision to leave them off. It makes every move count for more. Still... I'd vote for putting in a milestone or two in each level, so that when you lose you can choose whether to play again from the start or from the milestone, with the health level that you had when you reached it.

Vampires:

The key is that they don't actually teleport - they turn invisible. You can use this knowledge to your advantage.

If you can place yourself so that you can guess where they are going to approach, then you can cast magic missiles and freezes to damage them as well as track their location. Better yet, give yourself space to back up as they come at you - freeze, retreat, freeze, retreat - and they will appear and disappear every so often, giving you an extra chance at attack every time they do.

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Another Vampire tip:

Use the objects / walls to "funnel" the vampire, so you know where it is coming from. It has a move distance of 3 squares, and while it 'realistically' has 2.5 hearts (it takes 1 damage to cast invisibility, it can absorb 0.5 (1 damage) per hit.

It is invisible, but NOT spell-proof. Ice Walls are your friends, even moreso if you have a gem to invest in level 2 of the spell. Remember that Shock can hit enemies 2 squares away from you, so if you managed to freeze the vampire 2 squares away from you, this means you can literally kill the vampire in 3 attacks, only taking 1 damage yourself. If you found out too late (ie: you freeze the vampire when it is right next to you), you will take 3 damage, and at that point of the game, you can only take that once.

Putting it short: once a vampire spots you, move in the opposite direction so that you know where the vampire will come from, then cast Ice Wall until you freeze the monster. Once you got him frozen, cast Shock (or wait/Magic Missile until the vampire gets into Shock distance, refreeze, and Shock)

If you are foolish enough to engage 2 vampires at the same time, I can't help you. Even more foolish is if you try to move towards the vampire when it is after you.

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