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Five years on, Wizard Of Legend is still kicking ass and taking names

Mine, specifically

As Magic Week reaches the halfway point here at RPS, we've covered a pretty broad spectrum of wizard games over the last few days. There's your chill little potion brewers that let you coo over a bubbling cauldron all nice and cosy like; there's your darker, more supernatural witchy adventures that dig into the spookier side of the fae realm, and then you've got your lovely genre mash-ups that add spicy, magical seasoning to well-worn action tropes, like the excellent bullet-hell Metroid-like The Knight Witch I wrote about the other day. But if I thought that was pushing against my limits of gamepad dexterity, Contingent99's 2018 roguelike Wizard Of Legend is on another level entirely.

In the hands of a seasoned pro, this is a game that's essentially magical kung-fu, with your titular wizard pulling off fast and flashy spells against hordes of enemies in spectacular fashion. It looks incredible. But cor, it does not give up its secrets lightly.

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I've tried multiple times to make any kind of headway with Wizard Of Legend over the past couple of weeks, and each and every time I get my ass handed to me in the very first level. Roguelikes always have a 'rinse and repeat'-like structure to them, of course, with the spoils from your last run powering up your next one and all that, but even though I've got to the point where I've actually got some decent spells under my belt, its enemies are still hard as magically cursed nails. When its Steam page says it's "no nonsense", it really isn't kidding.

And yet. Despite feeling like Mickey Mouse in The Sorcerer's Apprentice, bumbling about and getting whacked with the business end of a broom a lot of the time, I'm still able to admire everything Wizard Of Legend is trying to do here. The game is hard, sure, but it rewards clever and timely button presses of your big special attack with a screen-filling mega spell, and swift, nimble dodging is key to maintaining the rhythm of its fast-paced combat.

A wizard attacks a demonic sorcerer in a dungeon in Wizard Of Legend
A wizard with icicles spinning round them attacks a large knight in Wizard Of Legend
A wizard does battle with two sorcerers in a dungeon in Wizard Of Legend

When you're in the zone, it looks and feels absolutely incredible. But I'm also not ashamed to say that, like many Platinum character action games, there's always going to be a level of play here that's beyond my reach. And that's fine. I will admire the trailers and Let's Plays from afar and dream of bigger and better legends than the ones I'm capable of writing - which, let's face it, are more embarrassing bin scraps than hallowed, illuminated parchments of yore.

I can't even begin to imagine what Wizard Of Legend must look like in co-op, either. Just trying to wrangle one wizard into action is enough visual splendour for this hooded moron, let alone trying to keep track of someone else zapping lightning beams and fireballs out of their hands on top of all that as well. In truth, enlisting a partner to help with the heavy-lifting of actually taking down these possessed suits of armour and demonic nasties might actually be the only way I'm ever going to see the rest of the game at this rate. But it would also be absolutely mortifying, inflicting someone else with my ham-fisted attempts to blow wind out my fingers. A pack of children's firecrackers would do a better job, I assure you.

So yes, I'm willing to throw my hands up and say, Wizard Of Legend has me beat. Even now, five years after release. I certainly won't be writing any legends any time soon, but hey, if the thought of becoming a master of magical martial arts sounds like your kind of brew, this action-packed roguelike definitely holds up.

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