Top 5 video reviews


Published 29.06.2023 00:00
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Fireball Wizard review

Fireball Wizard is about as straightforward in concept as it is in its title. It's a game where you play as a wizard, and (surprise!) they can shoot fireballs. With this basic, primary tool, you weave your way through brief platforming levels that don't feel too unlike mini Mega Man stages. It's a fine game for anyone looking for some new platforming challenge, but is far from feeling particularly special.

Jump, shoot, cast

Armed with your wand, a spellbook, and double-jumping abilities, Fireball Wizard has you pilot a little pixelated wizard through stages that can typically be completed in a few minutes. In these levels are typical fantasy enemies like skeletons, blobs of goo, bats, etc. as well as environmental hazards like fire pits and spikes.

The goal of these levels is simply to reach the exit, though killing enemies rewards coins that can be used on upgrades and there is a secret area in each level that can grant more rewards. At the end of each level, there is a bonus mini-game that can give you even more coins before placing you back in an overworld where you can revisit old levels, go upgrade your wand, play some mini-games, or move on to the next challenge.

Tricky spells

As you move through Fireball Wizard, you also gain access to non-fireball spells to add to your spellbook. You can activate your spellbook at any time in-game, and doing so pauses the game while you choose what to cast. These spells almost all have a corollary to platforming powers you've seen in previous games. For example, there's a freeze spell that can destroy walls that you were previously not able to move past and a spell you can cast mid-air to do a "stomp" move through breakable blocks below you.

There is some novelty to this spell book mechanic, especially since some spells can be useful outside of their initial context. The aforementioned freeze spell, for instance, can also freeze enemies, which can be useful for plucking pesky bats out of the air or avoiding fast attacking enemies. I sort of wish these spells had more consistent or wider use cases than they do, but the extent that they have multiple uses is also kind of neat.

Bosses and bugs

Every tenth level in Fireball Wizard is a boss stage that puts your abilities to the test before unlocking a new area. These fights are the most challenging combat encounters in the game, but they definitely feel familiar to anyone who has played a game in the vein of Mega Man before. Otherwise, Fireball Wizard levels are full of the same level design gimmicks that you've also very likely seen.

Despite these levels only taking a short time to complete, I found Fireball Wizard to test my patience. Dying in a level forces you to restart it from the beginning. Deaths come mostly from very fair attack patterns or hazards you can read and react to, but since all of the game feels like something I've played before, it was nonetheless frustrating. I also encountered a bug with opening the spellbook at the same time as finding a secret area, which renders the entire game unresponsive, thus adding occasional other reasons to have to restart levels.

The bottom line

There isn't anything fundamentally wrong with Fireball Wizard. It rearranges common tropes of platformers into one that works in its fantasy setting and on smaller screens. It isn't perfect, but it works well enough, It just also doesn't really take many risks or add anything else to its formula to make it stand out.

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