Wizorb is a block-breaking game with RPG elements. You play as Cyrus, an old wizard tasked to defeat monsters that are destroying towns and overrunning the castle. By turning into the platform that launches and reflects a ball, Cyrus must clear levels of enemies and blocks in order to advance. The blocks sometimes drop special items, like potions to refill magic, gold, or keys. You can use the gold to buy extra lives, potions, platform upgrades, or you can donate to villagers to help rebuild the town.
In a way, the mechanics are self-explanatory – it’s a standard block-breaking game with some spells and moving targets thrown in. However, picking up keys means you can unlock doors that your ball might hit, opening you up to bonus levels. There are also things that fall from the blocks that you can catch, but you probably won’t know what they actually do until someone tells you (I’m still not sure what the purple hand does…).
There are plenty of things to do in Wizorb, with 5 different worlds to fight to, each with a unique boss battle. There are also multiple endings, so replaying, while fun in itself, actually feels like there’s a point.
The graphics and the music are all NES/SNES throw-backs, which it pulls off fairly well. It works with the retro RPG elements it has, like the stationary NPCs, the castle in need, the destroyed town, the singular hero, and it works with the block-breaking genre, which itself is reminiscent of games you’d play in school while pretending to do actual work.
Unfortunately, this is kind of what this game feels like – something you’d play while pretending to do actual work. Granted, that’s probably true for all video games, but Wizorb’s “story” doesn’t feel like anything more than a reason to throw some enemies in a block-breaking game. I think it’s a really clever idea, mixing the two genres, but it makes the RPG element feel a bit lacking. You need to defeat some pretty time-consuming levels to even move on to the next town, so you’ll catch yourself wondering sometime in the 6th or 7th stage, “What am I doing this for again?” You don’t feel like you know anybody as a character, not even your avatar, Cyrus, and you don’t get an idea of why the monsters are overrunning the place anyway.
It ultimately ends up feeling like a way to pass the time, like how you might pull up a game of solitaire or mine-sweeper – it’s just mindless fun, the way block-breaking is. To be fair, it’s advertised as a, “block-breaking game set in a fantasy world,” which is exactly what it is. The “About the Game” implies there’s more to the story than that, but there’s really not.
The controls outside of the actual block-breaking are also non-intuitive. Hitting “Enter” brings up the game menu, so when trying to make a dialogue decision, you have to move the cursor with WASD/the arrow keys, and then click. You can’t just mouse over your option and click because it doesn’t work, unless you don’t plan on moving the cursor. It feels a bit like the developers couldn’t decide whether they wanted to use only the mouse, only the keyboard, or both. It just all feels confusing and non-intuitive.
+ Plenty of levels to play through
+ Levels are all unique; you don’t get a sense of repeating yourself
+ If you’re into block-breakers, it’s a lot of fun
+ RPG and block-breaking is a unique fusion
- Controls can be confusing and wonky
- RPG elements fall short
Wizorb is a really fun, really unique block-breaking game with fantasy elements. At $2.99, it’s definitely worth the buy for any casual gamers who are looking for a fun way to spend a few minutes or a few hours. I bet it would make a good gift for any kids or parents who are into non-immersive, gameplay-based, short and sweet games. Buy it!
Wizorb was released on March 14th, 2012 for PC via Steam.
Developed by Tribute Games