Kiddie graphics, but anyone can playPeople who have loved the Harry Potter universe will certainly love this game, although Wizard 101 takes a much more old-school approach to wizardry and magic.
In any case, this game seems to be geared more towards the younger generation, i.e. 13 years old and above. Of course, it does not mean that older people will not want to play this game as well. Its inherent simplicity and childlike appeal will surely awaken the sleeping kid inside every one of us.
You will have to make do with the graphics though. The resolution is not that high so if you are expecting a DoTA 2 type of graphics, then you will be sorely disappointed. The default or native resolution for the game is at 1366x768. However, the game's enjoyable mechanics will more than make up for that perceived lack in graphics.
The game's graphics evoke a sense of nostalgia, if you are one who has played through the Pyro the Dragon series in the first PlayStation console.
Alright, when you begin the game, you will be asked to choose between a Male and a Female character, and to name that wizard or witch that you have selected. You have to name it as well; if you are feeling lazy, simply click Random and the game will come up with a randomized name for you like Christopher Ghosthorn and other combinations.
You will then be subjected to a few questions that sound awfully similar to psychological profiling when you apply for admission to a college. The game thinks that this is necessary, because your character will be sorted out into its appropriate school. Unless you play around with your answers, the school of wizardry your character will be sorted to will actually be based on your own personality.
That is kind of neat!
The game's tutorial also takes a different spin. The introduction has you entering the fictional Ravenwood School of Magical Arts. The school's headmaster, Merle Ambrose, will great you at the gate together with his owl. The introduction is cut short by the intrusion of the dark magician, Malistaire, who invades Golem Tower for reasons unknown.
After that, Merle will ask you to accompany him... to your first battle!
Instead of boring you with simulations of battles, Wizard 101 will send you to battle just minutes after you setup your character!
Battles are not automated in this game, thankfully. Instead, the game makes use of a turn-based set piece battle. As a wizard, you will be asked to choose one spell card to cast during the battle. Spell cards can either be offensive or healing. Spells can also be elemental, and the ones that you can do damage most with are those that are attuned to your element. This is the school that you have been sorted into at the beginning of the game.
Casting spells trigger a short animation, which are cool to look at but can get boring after sometime. If you have a larger deck of cards, however, you can vary the routine to a certain degree.
After a battle, you will be awarded experience points, all of which go towards growing your level as a wizard. As you gain level, your stats also increase and your character becomes stronger with every level. Battles can also reward you with Gold, which you can use to purchase items at the Shop.
There is also another currency, which are the Coins.
At the field, you only need to approach an enemy sprite in order to initiate a battle. Take note, other plays can join your battle as well. The advantage is that, if you face a strong enemy, you get the help of other players. However, the drawback is that, if you are unable to make a move during the battle, you do not get any rewards at its conclusion.
After your first battle, you are sent on your first Quest. There is no auto-pathfinding in this game, so you will have to manually steer your character to your destination using only a yellow character at the bottom of the screen as a guide.
It is not that difficult, of course. Quests involve battling enemy monsters most of the times.
There are Bone Cages shattered throughout the world that can replenish your health if you use the game's pointer to click at it. There are also blue and red orbs scattered throughout the battlefield that you can approach in order to restore your health and mana, which you use for casting spells.
Despite its apparently simple aesthetics, Wizard 101 is a wealth of fun if you just take the time to enjoy it. The battles are very challenging, there is a whole world there to explore and a social aspect as well to make friends with. KingsIsle Entertainment apparently put a lot of thought into this, so this is given 8 stars!
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