Developer: Tribute Games
Publisher: Tribute Games
System(s): PC, Xbox 360
Release date: 2011
In pretty much every post I've published about Wizorb thus far, I've described it as "Breakout with a smidge of an RPG." After spending some quality time with this downloadable title over the last week or so, though, I've come to the conclusion that I should have been calling it a Legend of Zelda-inspired brick-breaker instead. After all, while the bulk of Wizorb's gameplay brings to mind bat-and-ball titles like the aforementioned Atari release, its graphics, setting--named, ahem, "Kingdom of Gorudo"--and soundtrack bring to mind the game that's known in Japan as The Hyrule Fantasy: Zeruda no Densetsu. Wizorb's main town/hub area, the deci- mated Tarot Village--which the player can help rebuild by donating gathered gold--also recalls that Nintendo classic. (Said village is the only location players are able to explore freely, by the way. The game's five other locations, each of which houses 13 block-busting stages, are accessed via a board-game-esque world map.) At the end of the day, though, this basically is a gussied-up Arkanoid clone, so how does its bat-and-ball action stand up to its predecessors-cum-competitors in that particular genre? Pretty darn well. Although Wizorb features a par-for-the-course paddle--although here it's supposed to be a wizard's magic wand--and ball, players can do more with the former than they can in most such games. For example: Clicking the left mouse button (while enjoying the PC version, obviously) launches a fireball into the play area, while clicking the right one produces a gust of wind that blows the ball in the direction of the wand. Also, although most destroyed blocks drop coins, gems and potions that refill your magic gauge, some drop curses that shrink your wand or slow it to a crawl. Another of Wizorb's inventive additions to the brick-breaker oeuvre: Many of its stages include bonus rooms and shops that more often than not prove to be life-savers. All in all, Tribute Games' maiden release is refreshing, remarkably polished and well worth the price of admission (a measly $3) whether or not you're bonkers for Breakout and its ilk.
See also: Previous 'somewhat gay' reviews and previous Wizorb posts