Wizard of Legend (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Brandon (Michael) Howard 28.06.2018

Review for Wizard of Legend on Nintendo Switch

Wizard of Legend is an action-packed, rough-and-tumble dungeon crawler with a focus on fast-paced, magic-heavy gameplay. Based out of Los Angeles, Contingent99 is the two-person development team behind this ambitious project that had a strong initial showing on Kickstarter a couple years back. The finished project still looks as good as the initial pitch, and Wizard of Legend only has more surprises in store for those willing to master its secrets.

Wizard of Legend is a fairly traditional rougelike dungeon-crawler, with a very unique aesthetic. Instead of traversing a mysterious dungeon with only a sword and a snack or two, players take on the role of a novice wizard competing in the Chaos Trials. These trials take place in an ever-changing maze filled with conjured foes, traps, and pitfalls, and culminate in some staggering boss fights against the magical council that oversees them.

One of the coolest things about the experience is the sheer level of customisation available. Each wizard has a selection of four spells (called Arcana) that can be tinkered with. Wizards are able to equip a standard basic spell as their low cooldown attack, a dash (usually with some special properties), and two standard Arcana, with one functioning as that wizard's Signature Spell, and powerful magic that can be upgraded under the correct conditions.

Screenshot for Wizard of Legend on Nintendo Switch

There are currently 128 different Arcana in Wizard of Legend, and no two spells are really the same. There's a good mix of melee and ranged abilities to suit all sorts of different playstyles, which means that players of all types will eventually find a combination that works for them. In addition to the basic loadout of four Arcana, each wizard is also permitted a single relic to bring into the trials with them. There are 178 unique relics, ranging from simple stat boosts, to sprites that fly around and aid the player in combat.

Once in the trials, the dungeon will randomly load up one of three different areas based around ice, wood, or fire. Each of these sections has two floors, with the exit being guarded by a powerful mini-boss version of a standard enemy encountered throughout the trials. After beating each two-floor section, the council member who excels at that element will challenge the contestant to a one-on-one showdown, sending them to the next section if they are victorious.

Since the levels are randomly generated, there's a massive amount of possibilities for how the trials can end up. Each level is populated by random varieties of enemies, often influenced by the element their floor currently is. Enemies drop both gold and gems, which can be used for purchasing items inside and outside of the trials. Gold vanishes when players die in the dungeon, but gems stay with you and can be used to purchase items outside the dungeon.

Screenshot for Wizard of Legend on Nintendo Switch

Each floor in the trial has a random selection of three special rooms where players can buy new relics and arcana for trial use only, healing items, or rare, trial-only upgrades. Managing health versus buying new abilities is a tough call to make, as the difficulty of both enemies and bosses goes up the deeper into the trial you are. It is well worth the time it takes to explore every nook and cranny of each floor you are on, because powerful rewards might be lurking around the corner.

What's most appealing about Wizard of Legend is the sheer replayability factor. Even though trials will often look the same, the challenges that they provide vary massively from run to run. It's easy to get stuck in the "just one more run" mindset when climbing through the various levels, even if the runs can take a surprisingly long time. It's definitely possible to breeze straight to the exit of a floor, but players who do will often find themselves punished on later levels for not taking the time to develop their skills earlier on.

The biggest frustration in Wizard of Legend is probably the RNG that comes from what vendors show up in the trials and what they offer. Certain combinations of spells and relics can make for extremely easy runs, but the randomness of what shows up when and what's offered make counting on a specific build or play-style occasionally tricky, especially if they are enhanced by a trial only item that can't be brought in.

Screenshot for Wizard of Legend on Nintendo Switch

It's also not always apparent what a certain relic or arcana does when it's purchased, especially if it's the first time you have encountered it. The lack of clarity is really frustrating, especially when dealing with cursed relics that can't be dropped or removed for the duration of the run. The controls also not being fully rebindable is another weird accessibility issue that's surprising for a game like this, and it is definitely a point of consternation.

The versus and co-op modes are nice, but simple, additions that do increase the amount of content when playing with friends. Co-op is pretty straightforward; simply take the challenge of the chaos trials, and tack on the extra help of a partner. Versus is what it sounds like: a 1v1 duel with another wizard in a chaotic arena.

What Wizard of Legend ultimately delivers is a fast-paced, addictive dungeon crawler with tons of diversity. It's easy to learn, hard to master, and totally adaptable to a wide array of different play-styles. The co-op mode and versus mode do a great job of extending the lifespan of a game that's still pretty short on variety, but mastering all that this title has to offer will take more than what one wizard has in a lifetime.

Screenshot for Wizard of Legend on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Wizard of Legend is one of those rare titles where it's easy to come back to it at any time. The game, for having so few bosses and levels, never begins to feel dull or repetitive. There's tons of variety in equipment and spell loadouts, and the dungeon changes enough each time that it never really starts to feel stale. It would be nice if there was a little more variety in the stages offered, but there are enough unique combinations that each adventure is always fresh and exciting.

Developer

Contingent99

Publisher

Humble Bundle

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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