If you searched the Xbox store for roguelike titles you’d be left scratching your head at where to start. Wizodd adds to the collection of retro dungeon crawling roguelikes on the market. Developed by Gagonfe and published by Jandusoft, Wizodd first cast its spell on Steam for PC back in May 2020. Now available on the Xbox family of consoles and taking its inspiration from titles such as The Binding Of Isaac. Will Wizodd hold the same level of enjoyment and perform to the same caliber as those big-hitting titles?
Rewarding Yet Unforgiving
Wizodd sets you off with a short run-through of the basics. Think of this as a mini-tutorial with barely any hand-holding. The premise is very simple, traverse through rooms of each floor, kill enemies, and gather coins to upgrade your wizard and magic. Rooms appear to be procedurally generated, meaning that every door you open had different enemies and elements to combat. Keep your eyes peeled for traps and spikes, standing on these will damage your health. You commence each playthrough with three hearts filled with health. Each hit of damage you take knocks half a bar off each heart.
Some areas are super congested with spike traps and enemies, this requires precision and timing to negotiate the floor space to avoid death. Wizodd is super unforgiving in the fact that once you lose every ounce of health, it is game over. No matter how far you make it through the game, if you die it is right back to the very start. The main objective here is to find the room where the boss is waiting for you.
Tread carefully though, if you go unprepared you may not have the power behind you to defeat them. Collecting coins upon beating enemies and picking up jars is a must. Once you enter a room with the shopkeeper he has four options to purchase. These could range from extra hearts of health to increased speed, magic, damage, and more. You’ll want to ensure you’re as equipped as possible before you engage with the end fight.
There are three floors to work through in Wizodd. Defeat the first boss and you enter the second. What you need to remember here is you essentially start afresh. The purchases you made on the first floor are now lost and you must work to gain upgrades yet again. Rinse and repeat the first method, this time with different enemy types that seem a little stronger than the first time around. There is an addictive nature to winding your way through this maze of rooms and seeing how much you can build yourself up. It is super simple, casual, frustrating, and moreish all at the same time. Sadly the experience isn’t longer here as you can clock the game in around thirty minutes on a good run. This was a real shame as I was left wanting even more.
Graphics and Sound
Wizodd is graphically basic, giving you that real 90’s arcade game vibe. The colours are bold and punchy and used well in the right places. I’d like to have seen a more aesthetic variance in room types personally but this is me being a little picky. The controls and physics work really well as you’d expect in this type of game.
I have to criticize both music and sound effects here. The same tune repeating itself throughout the game was a frustration on the ears after a while. Sadly I had to switch this off quite soon into playing the game. A rotation of different tunes would have been welcome. Once I turned the music off completely, I found myself doing the same with the sound effects. I wasn’t sure if this was a bug but there was a repeated tapping sound like someone was constantly knocking on a door. I had to resort to playing the game in silence to save my ears, which is really sad as the rest of the game is decent for such a short game with a low price point.
Wizodd won’t consume hours and hours of your life, but it will grant you as many short blasts of the game as you choose. For the achievement hunters amongst us, they are extremely easy to obtain. It is charming yet addictive and whilst I was left wanting more, it just about hit the spot for a few short blasts of enjoyment. For less than the price of a pint of beer, it is worth the plunge.