How long has it been since you played a game of Breakout or any of its numerous modern-day children? A year? Five years? A billion-dy hundred years? Thought so. Tribute Games wants to fix that egregious error with Wizorb, an 8-bit-styled Breakout clone that adds a little bonus fun on top with the addition of magic spells, a shop, and some minor RPG elements. Sound awesome? You bet your slow-moving paddle it is!
The Kingdom of Gorudo used to be peaceful. That is, until a really evil presence came along and was all "BADNESS AND SMITE!". As Cyrus, a well-versed wizard who is master of both white and black magic, it's your job to help the townspeople rebuild while fighting off dangerous foes. And breaking bricks, of course. But it won't be fireball spells or ice storm incantations that saves the world. It'll be the secret magic called Wizorb!
Even though it has a colorful coating of storylines and pixel art, Wizorb plays pretty much like every Breakout game before it. Move the paddle left and right along the bottom of the screen, intercepting the bouncing ball to keep it in motion so it can clear the blocks it hits. Potions, coins, and other power-ups sometimes fall from broken bricks, and all you have to do to collect them is slide the paddle underneath.
In a non-traditional Breakout manner, Wizorb features townspeople in distress who need your help to rebuild their shops and houses. There's also a store that features a few useful items you can purchase, along with enemies wandering the game's 48 stages. Spells are a great addition to the mix, and you can use things like a fireball to clear out blocks or a blast of wind to influence where the ball lands. Nothing too dramatic, but just enough to make the game more interesting.
Analysis: Wizorb looks fantastic, and it fills a very uncrowded genre niche at the moment, making it a sound choice for some good old fashioned arcade action. It looks just like a classic NES game, which is enough to make most nostalgic gamers scream with delight. And the budget price makes it extremely tempting to pick up on an impulse buy. (Hint: that's not a bad thing to do, just skip your next double soy mocha latte and you're even!)
Despite the nice coat of paint and gameplay tweaks, Wizorb seems like it missed a massive opportunity to reinvent Breakout. Going a little heavier on the RPG elements could have made this the sort of game everybody on Earth (and possibly even Vogsphere) would be required to play. Instead, you get a classic arcade game with some mildly hybrid-like elements. It isn't a failure by any means, just not as big of a revolution as it could have been.
Wizorb is a challenging game that will appeal to the retro arcade fan in all of us. 48 levels of brick-breaking action, complete with bosses, enemies, spells, shops, and distressed townspeople! You can't go wrong with this gorgeous budget title!
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