EA SCOUT the last line of defense for buying on Steam's Early Access
by William Thompson
previewed on PC
Trading in your wand
Wizards are normally pretty handy with a wand, usually able to cast a range of spells that can get them or their comrades out of a bind. Occasionally, you'll see a wizened conjuror wield some sort of staff or even be dexterous enough with a sword to be able to hold off a foe at close range. But I can't say that I have seen too many wizards handle a six-shooter or even a blunderbuss of any kind.
In Wizard with a Gun, players start the game by selecting their wizard and then outfitting their character with several important wizard accoutrements. Players will select a hat, robe, some gloves, and boots that will grant their magical character a sense of identity. Players then get a short, but extremely cool cutscene concluding with an old western style character advising that it is all up to you.
Despite our character being a wizard, players won't spend much time casting spells…indeed the title of the game is quite apt. Instead of wielding a wand, players will collect several guns with which to dispose of their enemies and complete other tasks. Players begin the bulk of their journeys from their home base known as the Tower, stepping in and out of a special portal that sends them into the Chaos Realm.
Players will collect several guns throughout the course of their journeys that will enable our wizard to attack any of the characters that may want to harm them. However, players will also pick up a number of "weapons" that can be used for other functions. One of these guns can be used to identify creatures and devices scattered around the realm. Pointing the gun at an enemy will provide research on that creature, enabling our wizards to determine is weaknesses. Pointing the same gun at one of the devices that often appear in the realm will enable players to discover the blueprints and purpose of the device.
Explore the world
Upon travelling through the portal door, players are free to explore at their whim. Each time you enter the realm, the layout and the enemies within will differ. As you're rewinding time when you enter the portal, you never enter at the same time giving the impression of a new realm each time. The realms will be where players can find special cogs to add to the time machine, discover new recipes for the various crafting tables, collect ingredients to enable them to build and upgrade these tables and the objects that can be made at these crafting tables.
There are a variety of creatures that can be discovered during your travels. Some can be friendly whilst most will not like you being present in their realm. Each of the creatures will drop several items once defeated, with players able to loot better items from higher level creatures. Items can also be collected from nature - such as wood from knocking down trees, stone from rocks, or certain herbs harvested from plants. All of these will have some use, either for building structures within your base, or as ingredients for crafting.
Players can spend as much time in these worlds as they want, but a Chaos countdown is ever present, and if players spend too much time in the realms, and Chaos will begin to reign. Chaos does spawn slowly during the allotted time, but once Chaos reigns, they will spawn attacking creatures as a much quicker rate, so much so that players will need to head back to the portal for some respite, and a chance to top up their ammunition supplies.
Can we built it?
When back in your base – The Tower, the crafting tables can be used to produce or improve weapons and different ammunition types. The various ammunition will have varied effects within the realms. For example, firing several fire-type bullets at a tree could result in a fire, and if trees are located close together, a forest fire. The resultant ash can be used to craft various higher-level items, so it can be advantageous to use these specialty bullets. However, the bullets are also pretty deadly against most enemies, so players must choose whether they want to save them for collecting the supplies or to quickly take down any potential threats.
Once players have discovered blueprints or recipes for a particular device during their trips within the realms, these recipes can then be used to build those crafting tables within your home base using one of the other specialty weapons – one that shoots out furniture, crafting tables and decorations that you have collected recipes and ingredients for.
Wizard with a Gun features a 2.5D isometric view. For the most part, this works fine, although it does mean the objects can sometimes be hidden amongst taller structures. The realms include forests that are sparsely covered with a range of trees, bushes, boulders, and small settlements, each of which contains resources required for the various recipes. The creatures that players will encounter are reasonably varied, although the preview only contained a small portion of the game, so I suspect there will be a greater variation in the finished product.
At this point, Wizard with a Gun, looks to be a cool rogue-like with several unique touches. Although it is primarily a quest driven game, players can choose to explore the realms in whichever way they see fit. And what's more, they can do so with a friend in co-op. With so much to do, and in a forever changing realm, players will unlikely get bored at completing the tasks. And with a similar visual vibe to Cult of the Lamb, it will be sure to please most gamers as they explore the realms and upgrade their Towers.
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There are no guarantees - but we'd bet our own money on this one. If you're going to take a chance with yours, odds are good this one will deliver.