Don your robes, muster up some energy, and head out on an adventure with Wizard of Legend, a procedurally generated, roguelike dungeon crawler from Contingent99, a new two man indie developer based in LA. You play the game as a wizard who is participating in the annual Chaos Trials, with the aim of conquering them and becoming the Wizard of Legend. To become the victor of the Chaos Trials, you must battle your way through multiple dungeon floors using magical spells to beat waves of enemies, other competing wizards, and elemental bosses that conclude each layer. Only then will you write yourself into the history books.
The main gameplay is very similar in style to that of The Binding of Isaac and Enter the Gungeon, in which you have to clear floors of enemies and, if you die, you'll be returned to the start of the dungeon. However, in this case, you won’t be using tears or guns to slay your foes, but spells instead. There's a wide variety of spells to choose from and unlock as you progress through the game, each one consisting of a different elemental effect; fire, earth, wind, water, electricity, etc. Obviously these spells will deal various amounts of damage depending on the enemy it's used against; water will be strong against a fire type enemy, for instance. Elemental effects are nothing new for games, but it adds a little extra strategy to the combat that can mean the difference between life and death in some runs.
Although the game has a very steep learning curve to begin with, it definitely becomes easier the longer you stick with it. As you start the game with basic attacks and are thrown straight into it with little guidance, it can be difficult to know which spells to use. However, as you continue to play, you become more familiar with the variety of spells and start to form combos that work well to deal with your foes quickly. The combat also requires you to learn the enemies' attack patterns, similar to The Binding of Isaac. The more you experience the same type of enemy, the easier the game becomes. You build up knowledge of each different enemy's move set, attacks, and ways to dodge them so that next time you face them you can trample them to dust.
The room designs vary quite widely with some featuring holes in the floor, which you can knock enemies into, or even accidentally fall in yourself. Some rooms contain barrels, boxes, or pots that can be broken to earn currency, which is then spent at the various shops to unlock new spells and items to aid you throughout the dungeon. Others are rooms that lock you in when entered, and require you to defeat all the enemies before you can leave. Although you get a good sense of challenge from the majority of the rooms in the dungeons, a few of them definitely feel unfair and are in need of balancing, as they either have too many enemies in them, an impossible combination of enemies to dodge, or just not enough room to dodge in general.
A big surprise to us was the ability to play the entire game with a friend in local co-op. You can bring a pal along for the ride and they'll get a separate health bar and the ability to equip their own spells. This certainly helps with the steep difficulty throughout the game, but still won’t make it a walk in the park. Also available is Versus Mode, so if you’re still struggling with the dungeons and fancy a break, you can play 1v1 with your mate to decide which of you is the ultimate Gandalf.
The game's controls are wonderfully responsive, allowing for precise dodges of enemy attacks and pinpoint accurate spell casts. The music and sound effects are beautifully crafted, perfectly complementing the bright and colourful pixel art style visuals and the environments. It certainly reminds us of Hyper Light Drifter, which is no bad thing.
Wizard of Legend is an enjoyable roguelike dungeon crawler with fun, fast-paced combat, beautifully crafted music, and pleasant pixel visuals that come together to form a fantastic fictional setting. Although the difficulty is steep and there is the occasional balancing issue, the available co-op modes are an excellent addition that help negate those problems.