What do you get when you mix some magic, some weaponry, a dark and moody aesthetic, and some rogue-like elements? Presumably, it’s a pretty fun mash-up of styles and genres.
While Wizard with a Gun does have each of the elements in spades, most of my playtime fell a little flat.
The gunplay has some exciting elements, and the world is unique and interesting. Sadly, I didn’t feel it came together satisfyingly. It’s a fun game, but it missed the mark on several occasions and didn’t quite feel as enjoyable as I would have hoped.
Wizard with a Gun takes place in a mystical world where the apocalypse is inevitable. Or at least it is until you arrive! The gun-wielding hero that can throw in a solid taste of magical powers!
With only a few minutes before everyone and everything comes to an end, you’re tasked with going through a portal in order to find gears that will turn back time. This will allow you to stop the end of days and restore what was lost.
You’re tossed into a world made up of tiles that float above a massive black hole. It feels similar to games like Bastion, destructible environments and all. The game also has a look and feel identical to that and others like Don’t Starve. As the wizard with a gun (or four), you’ll soon be on your way to searching for the gears and taking down baddies.
The Magic Bullet
As the titular Wizard with a Gun, you’ll be wielding a variety of weapons. I do enjoy some twin-stick shooters, so it was a fun time to get back into a game with that core mechanic. I find there are far too few nowadays.
You start with a simple pistol and traditional bullets. But as you learn more ways to upgrade your arsenal, those projectiles become fully loaded with elements and methods to build a small creature army around you. While I enjoy games like this, adding stackable elemental damage and combos, it wasn’t all that satisfying after a few hours. It felt repetitive and not as impactful as it was in the early game. Plus, there aren’t that many guns throughout.
The experimentation with new weapons and elements is fun, don’t get me wrong. But after a few runs with any particular combination, I felt the depth withered away quite quickly. What doesn’t help is the majority of the enemies you face. They are definitely unique in a number of ways, but they don’t act like it. Most of them dash towards you, shoot some sort of projectile, slam the ground, or a number of other familiar baddie tropes you’ve seen before.
The “wizard” part of the game comes with some powders and the mix of weapon augments I mentioned. You’ll unlock them throughout the game and quite quickly. But in a game called Wizard with a Gun, they’re essentially and disappointingly simple.
Crafting As a Wizard With a Gun
It’s not all run and gun for Wizard with a Gun. Most of what you’re returning with at the end of your runs (if you survive) are resources necessary for reaching new places or building stations to craft items. There are quite a few to learn and quite a bit to deal with early on.
Resource management always felt easy. I didn’t have to make too many tough choices about what to carry back with me and what to drop into the ether before returning. It does take some time to build up some powerful combos, and that was interesting, but within the first couple of hours, I picked up so much stuff I was crafting things I wasn’t even able to use yet.
Worse yet, the further into the game you get, the feeling of easy resource management gets weird and awkward as you’ll likely find it necessary to build dozens of storage containers to hold what you’ve found. I found far too much time spent doing the “buildy-buildy” and not enough of the “shooty-shooty.”
Despite a well-realized world and setup and some clever writing and presentation, Wizard with a Gun doesn’t bring enough depth and variety to the wizardry gun show for me. Elements of the gameplay are fun, but often repetitive. The world around you is fascinating, but crafting one of your own for upgrades feels tedious. There wasn’t enough variety to hold my interest through most of my playthrough.
Wizard with a Gun is worth a try if a mix of crafting, roguelike loops, and twin-stick shooting is up your alley, but don’t expect much more than a surface-level approach to each.
[A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.]
Reviewed on: PC
Review: Wizard With A Gun
Despite a unique setup and art style, Wizard with a Gun fails in key areas of gameplay and crafting mechanics.