Image: Contingent99 (Wizard of Legend)
Wizard of Legend is straightforward: go in a room, unleash your awesome spells to kill everything in it, and then collect the spoils before moving onto the next. There's no armour to upgrade or stats to manage, just a ton of magic-fuelled carnage. It's all very repetitive, but the game's action feels so satisfying I haven't found myself getting bored of shredding demonic knights and giant enemy blobs with deadly combinations of ice spears and lightning blasts.
The game came out last week (I played it on Xbox One and PC but it's also available on Switch and PS4) and instantly blew up on Steam. After spending several hours of killing stuff without actually beating the game it's easy to see why.
The game also doesn't offer much in the way of story, but it doesn't have to. You're here to play as Harry Potter if he were also a Jedi, which turns out to be enough.
Wizard of Legend includes local two-player coop, something that was missing or not implemented all that well in similar games like Enter The Gungeon.Screenshot: Contingent99 (Wizard of Legend)
Every dungeon consists of six levels broken up into pairs, each corresponding to a particular elemental theme (earth, fire, ice) and boss fight. The order is random each time, as are the layouts of the particular levels. At the end you go to an inter-dimensional plane to fight a dark mage weidling chaos magic.
Beating each boss, including him, unlocks new magic, and this is the key to Wizard of Legend's repeatability. Instead of just collecting loot to make yourself more powerful, you collect new abilities that change how you play the game.
These spells, called Arcana, can be equipped in any one of six slots, each with their own (relatively quick) cool down regulating how often you can use them. Sometimes you get new ones from treasure chests discovered throughout the dungeon. Other times they drop from defeating a boss.
There's also the option to purchase random ones before attempting a new run through the dungeon. Unlike gold coins or special artifacts which grant bonuses that disappear every time you die, Arcana stay permanently unlocked. As a result, while Wizard of Legend borrows from traditional roguelikes, it does allow you to carry over progress by filling up your Grimoire with a diverse array of spells.
Seriously, there are a lot, and every one I've collected so far has brought something new to my arsenal.
The animation effects for each of these attacks are all incredibly precise, allowing you to launch giant boulders and throw fireballs at enemies on one side of a room before whipping around to conjure a thunderstorm to devastate the other half.
Every attack dishes out a certain amount of stun or knockback that helps with crowd control and ultimately allows you to coordinate your abilities so you come through unscathed. The level of mastery the game allows for has already made it popular with speedrunners and others simply looking to show off their skills through challenges like zero-damage runs.
The goal of unlocking new Arcana offers a nice compromise between letting you grind and forcing you to grow and get better at the game. While having more spells offers an advantage, they still require skill and mastery. A few false moves can still end your life if you aren't careful.
Despite the number of other pixelated dungeon crawlers that have recently come out, Wizard of Legend nails the feeling of dismantling a room of enemies in record speed.