Wizorb is a fantastic looking and sounding block breaker game, but its downfall comes with the genre. It’s a good game with a great theme, but it’s just dull in a hurry as less blocks on screen mean more wasted time bouncing your ball. The magic abilities only help so much as they drain quick and you need to pickup potions that can drop from broken blocks. So without power-ups dropping to diversify the game, it gets to be a monotonous slog through each level. The game also suffers from having multiple sized blocks including tiny. That is coupled with a small orb, that makes for a lot of time consuming near misses.
The game does go the extra mile in its production. It looks, sounds and feels like a NES system despite the 16:9 widescreen format. It sounds good and looks good. The music sounds like a homage to a legendary dungeon song in a famous game. To talk about the great look and sound is gushing about the obvious.
You start as a wizard and transform into a magic wand that is a traditional block breaker paddle. You can aim with an arrow that moves back and forth before you launch your orball. It plays standard with left and right movement, the ball will bounce to the direction it hits your paddle. Want the ball to go right? Hit it with the right side and so on.
As for spells, you start with a single fire shot, and a lackluster wind breeze to blow your ball. This seemed ineffective at best. If you’re on the left, it will blow the ball right and vise-versa. Other than that, there’s a spell that when used after your ball hits the paddle, it will make the ball cut through blocks rather than bounce into them. There is a spell you can use to control the ball briefly after it hits your paddle. Teleport lets you start the ball where you’d like on the level, but the only way to use it is to lose an orb first. It’s worth taking an intentional loss to hurry the level.
Since magic is so difficult to come by after the first level I often went without magic so long, I’d forget that it exists. It’s best to wait for the last few pesky blocks before you shoot them with fire to finish a level quicker. Then again, it’s good to start with a magic magnum ball to plow through blocks. Then again you could miss any blocks and waste the magic.
The medieval aesthetic goes a long way to help the game feel unique from others in the genre. You have blocks on screen, but there are bushes, foes, crates and treasure chests as well. These all need to get taken care of before you go to the next level. There are no easy exits. There are unbreakable blocks in the way of both iron blocks and planted bushes.
Each brick destroyed it has a chance of dropping a coin, a jewel, magic vials, an extra life or a hand that will grab coins away from you. I would avoid that last one as soon as I figured out what it was. These pickups may seen trivial, but missing one is painful, but you need to keep juggling that orb.
There are shops and secret bonus areas in various levels. These doorways open with a key or a trigger somewhere on the screen. The bonus areas give you a heap of pickups once you pop the bubbles containing them. The shops sell extra lives, a potion to refill your entire magic meter and a magnet that lets you catch the ball rather than having it bounce. This seems to negate the two spells that need you to bounce the ball and then use them. When you launch a caught ball, you have no control over where it shoots like when you have a fresh ball from a lost life or the start of a level.
Like most block breakers, if you lose a ball, you lose a life. Once you lose all your lives, you still have 3 continues. Using a continue resets the level from where you entered with your expended magic. After the blocks and enemies get dispatched, so does your orb, but you only exit the level after the pickups have disappeared.
Each place on a map gets broken into twelve levels and gets capped off with a boss fight. If you return to the world map, you have to restart that series of levels again. The game warns you of this of course. Below it is the save an exit. This will save the level you’re on and send you to the title screen. If you confuse the two as I did, even with a confirmation screen, you can woops away 30 minutes of play time with a single folly. Brick breaker games still need time and effort to get through each level rather than other games where once you know the way it’s a breeze to get through.
The boss fights felt good and they break up the slog that is Wizorb. Bosses have minions and health. Once their health is gone, you win regardless of the minions on the side. The bosses will spit projectiles at you that will hinder you such as making you go slower or making your paddle smaller.
After the first series of twelve levels, the game felt a lot better and would have made for a better set of starter levels. There is a safety wall behind your paddle that can take a few hits before it’s destroyed. The shop has a slow ball and a larger paddle to buy rather than a magnet to catch. The catch is fine, but the fact it removes the use of two spells feels like an issue. The levels feel quicker. I had less frustration from tiny blocks and blocks hiding behind unbreakable objects. If this set of levels was the first set, it would be easier to recommend.
Other differences in the second set of twelve levels, there are fairies that pop out of treasure chests, doors that take your orb from one side of the screen to the other. It made the game feel better. This comes at a cost, because you’ll find far more hazards such as slime to slow you down, griffins that do something to your paddle. If it’s purple and drops out of something you hit, assume it’s something bad.
When you start the game, you’re dumped into a town in ruins and everyone is asking for money. Even the dog was asking to donate 100 gold for you to rebuild its dog house. Donating high fees to citizens will yield rewards. When you exit and return to the town, you’ll see your donation has caused something to get rebuilt whether it’s a dog house or a mill. It’s something to spend your extra money on to keep you playing, but it feels unnecessary.
As eluded to before, this is a time consuming game, it can take upwards of forty-five minutes to make it through twelve levels and a boss fight. Does that make for more value for the price? Sure… if I didn’t find it so frustrating. The tiny ball would near miss a tiny block when I had no magic to simply shoot the block. The tiny block would be lodged behind or between two unbreakable objects. Using magic still allows for imprecision of luck or skill that would utterly waste the magic.
For the cheap price, it’s well worth the risk to buy and try. Your enjoyment of Wizorb falls into how much do you love the 80s look and sound versus how many other brick breaker games have you played. The magic gimmick falls flat for me and doesn’t do enough to diversify the monotony, nor does paying gold to help rebuild a town. I’d like to give a shout out to my friend for giving me this game. Thanks. I would have stopped playing this game a long time ago if you didn’t ask me to review it.