Review of Wizard’s Keep on XBLIG: Buy
Not much story and silent protagonist still a better combination than FFXIII.
Wizard’s Keep is an almost 3D adventure game in the same vein of Zelda. The main character’s name is whatever you choose (But don’t try to exit that choosing screen without putting something down. That’s an endless loop of fail…). He has been off adventuring without a single thing and he’s returned home to a run down home, the land filled with evil knights and goblins, and a wizard tyrant. Not that any of these people are coming to get you because you’re some pre-ordained hero of light. Or that you’ve pulled some cool sword out of a stone and now must rescue a princess. You just came home and don’t like the order of affairs so are going to fight the Man.
There is a list of things to be done that get crossed off and updated as you accomplish each task. Defeat the Goblins, Knights and Wizard. Find the four tools the Blacksmith needs (missable). Update your house.
The music is simple and doesn’t get too annoying… except for the battle music. It’s good that it’s there but I wish it was better. Since the battle system is a lot like Chrono Trigger sans ATB and plus a magic interrupting screen (that can save you if you have enough potions to chug) I wish the music had followed in the same vein. Why there isn’t special music for Bosses, the Final Boss, or the shenanigans moment I don’t know. That’s definitely a missed opportunity.
The weapons and armor are mostly randomly generated. If lucky (and adventurous) items stronger than what enemies will be prepared for can be found in the unlockable caves. IF YOU DO NOT DO THE CAVES IN THE RIGHT ORDER YOU WILL NOT GET THE OPTIMAL EQUIPMENT! Just saying. Save often. Save before exploring. There is no menu to tell you what color means what but they’re all named appropriately. Example: the Small Shield of Low Light will have a yellow plus sign and emit light (uncommon). Constitution is purple (rare). Speed is green (common). Strength is red (uncommon). Defense is blue (common). Weapon and money drops are random from both mobs and breakables. There are item finds at certain points in the game where that is the only place you’ll find that item. Don’t worry. Truly necessary items can’t be sold.
The game is well paced in the beginning and the end. Leveling up isn’t a huge chore even with the seemingly ludicrously large numbers required by the end. A little grinding and exploration goes a long way. You won’t need to level up each of the categories. I only put points into constitution after I’d maxed everything else out. Do note that if you have a bonus to a category from a weapon or armor, you will need to take off said item to finish maxing out that stat because the leveler doesn’t see that the stat is being boosted from an outside source. You will need at least 5 speed points by the end of the 3rd dungeon. You’ll know the part I call shenanigans on when you see it. I wish it had special music but it doesn’t.
I’d actually wish that either the paid version start where the Trial does for a quicker start or that the Trial started at the very beginning for a more cohesive whole. Also, I sold several healing items earlier than I otherwise would have because it is unclear on how large your backpack is. As far as I can tell it’s Tardis huge. Maybe infinite even.
I give Wizard’s Keep a Buy. It brings back good memories from the SNES days and those “newfangled graphics” from Link and has at least a good 6 – 12 hours of gameplay to get everything. I finished the game but somehow missed a couple of things I’m going to try and get in another playthrough.
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