When I'm not writing reviews for JayIsGames, I work full-time as a wizard. It's not easy work, believe me, nor is it nearly as glamorous as the movies make it out to be. One wrong incantation and you've blown yourself up or summoned an uncontrollable horde of demons. Arzea, a Metroidvania-style adventure game created by Arkeus originally for a Ludum Dare 24-hour game development competition and then expanded upon, demonstrates the kind of danger that magic can lead to. You're a wizard stranded in a strange world with only your wits and a variety of spells and upgrades to help you get home.
Move and jump with the [WASD] keys while aiming and firing your spells with the mouse. As you collect more spells you can switch between them with the [number] keys or with [shift]. Your arcane weapons come in a variety of forms but tend to be point-and-shoot affairs with varying effective ranges. The starter fireball tends to be a pretty good choice for most situations while the earth spikes are better at long range and the water and electric spells are ideal for close range combat. Slaughtering hordes of enemies will allow you to gain levels, increasing your damage potential, and you can also find several types of upgrades that affect various abilities like jump height, speed and maximum health.
Your main goal is to find your way home from the strange land of Arzea. To do this you'll have to collect a vast spectrum of keys which will open doors and continue allowing you to explore the land. Several of the keys are guarded by vicious bosses, and these battles are tense and exciting, making them the highlight of the game. There's also a secondary goal in the form of a number of mysterious shards to collect. Finally, if you're an achievement hunter then they're present and ready to be hunted!
This is a solid example of the Metroidvania style of game; it's especially impressive given that it was made in just two days! There is at least a good half-hour of gameplay here, probably closer to an hour if you're out to find all the upgrades and collectible shards. Perhaps the most important thing that can be said about Arzea, however, is that it gives you a view of what a wizard's life is really like: full of barnacle monsters that spew deadly bullets at you. Doesn't seem so glamorous now, does it?