Retro shooters are here to stay, and there’s so much variety to choose from. While we’ve seen some magic-based shooters over the past few years, it’s still something that isn’t explored enough by developers. Wizodrum aims to change that by plunging you into the world of Terrabruma where you’ll freeze goblins, and smash them with your Mace. In my early access impressions, I’ll see what Wizordum has to offer.
Mace and Sorcery
You know what’s an underrated weapon? The Mace. Nothing makes you feel like you’re liberating a town from a goblin infestation than the satisfying impact of a heavy mace as it turns goblins into avocado spread. The mace in Wizordum is your primary melee weapon that also charges up with magical energy to deal higher damage. You’ll use it to bash goblins, finish off ogres, and destroy barrels.
This is a close-range weapon though, so you’re going to take a few hits. It’s a nice trade-off and forces you to use it with some restraint while mixing it up with magic. You’ll soon unlock the ability to throw fireballs which consume fire essence. Thankfully, unlike a gun, you don’t need to reload anything, and it’ll keep going until you’ve fully depleted the resource.
You’ll get more powers the more you progress, like a staff that lets you freeze enemies, which you can follow up with a melee bash. While I like how each ability feels in terms of impact, the actual combat design is a bit basic. Yes, these are magical abilities, but don’t exactly feel that special or unique. These are essentially just guns with a different coat of
paint magic. If the fire actually spread to other enemies or the environment, it might have been a bit more fun to see.
The combat feels satisfying, but it’s not fully leveraging the setting’s potential, which I hope to see in the coming updates.
Goblins and Rats
Wizordum doesn’t exactly have a narrative to follow, and you’re thrust into a world taken over by different fantasy-themed creatures. There are armor-clad goblins, ogres carrying shields, and giant rats that pounce around. I believe the actual plot will be expanded upon during early access, but it’s a simple premise for now.
You’re not the only magic user either, and some goblins have fire staffs as well. I think there’s a decent variety of enemies here, and while they don’t really have different movesets or require you to adapt, at least you won’t be bashing the same enemy over and over.
The art is great, though a tad bit generic, but the sprites have enough detail and each enemy stands out. Despite limited animations, characters move around naturally, and I like how menacing the rats are.
Levels and Secrets
Similar to Wolfenstein and Doom, you’re going to move around the level, kill enemies along the way, and look for a way to progress by finding an item. Levels aren’t too big, but there are often multiple floors when you explore buildings with different enemies, treasure, and secrets to find.
Again, while there’s nothing wrong with how it plays, it isn’t doing anything different to stand out. Yes, the color-coded doors are now magic barriers, but that’s not a mechanical change that’s making active use of the medieval fantasy setting.
Each level has a different feel to it, and that’s something I appreciate. There are often new visual elements introduced, but things start to look a bit samey within the level itself. Even the secrets don’t feel too special to discover because there’s just more treasure behind a painting, or something similar.
Some more variety within a level would definitely go a long way, and it can feel a bit rote to traverse a level when you don’t have much variety to look forward to. This also makes replays feel a bit unrewarding because apart from the challenges, there aren’t many gameplay sequences that feel memorable enough to revisit.
Finally, I know this is currently in early access, but there’s just one track from what I can recall. It’s fun and does a great job of setting up the world, but it gets a bit annoying hearing it over and over again.
Overall, I had a decent time with Wizordum and it’s another fun addition to the evergrowing retro shooter renaissance. The early access release has a good variety of weapons to try out, enemies to bash, and treasures to loot, and while it’s definitely a fun time, Wizordum doesn’t fully leverage its setting to fulfill that Mage fantasy. Its basic combat design, repetition, and uninspired magic abilities make it a bit hard to recommend if you’re looking for something new.
However, I’m hopeful that future updates will shake things up for a more engaging experience. Wizordum will be available tomorrow on Steam in early access for $15.
What do you think of my Wizordum early access impressions? Are you going to check it out? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
This preview is based on the PC version of Wizordum. The key was provided by Stride PR and Apogee Entertainment.