Saturday, February 28, 2009

Midnight Snack: Hey Wizard

Look at him fly!!! Tonight’s Midnight Snack is more of a Midnight Light Meal, perhaps something you start now and then finish in the morning after a night of dreaming about diminutive wizards.

Hey Wizard is a great game from the people at about a pint-sized wizard with some gallon-sized problems.  As told in the opening vignette, he plucks a random book off his shelf and something called the Megagate comes out.  It flies through his library and steals all of the skills from his skillbook!  Oh no!  So our shrimpy sorcerer follows the Megagate into a magical book in hopes of retrieving his skills and defeating his enemies.  I haven’t been this concerned about someone so small since Mr. Tusks.

The game’s art design is pretty charming  The cartoony platformer vibe channels a little bit of Yoshi’s Island, except the color palette is limited (skillfully) to red and similar earth tones.  An issue tends to arise when red flying enemies decide to come up through the red ground, but it’s a minor frustration in context of the otherwise slick look. 

Your little wizard has three upgradeable spells: a lightning bolt, a flamethrower-like fire spell, and a creepy Necro Hand that you can make grow out of the ground.  Unfortunately, your wizard cannot jump, so you must make clever use of these spells to propel you through the level.  I take immense satisfaction in shooting my wizard into the air with a lightning bolt and then using his flamethrower spell as a jetpack to fly around.  Once you get the hang of them (which is easy thanks to a great tutorial level), the controls feel really fluid and are a blast to play with.  Just know that your spells are aimed with the mouse, so you will probably want an actual mouse instead of your laptop’s pad for precise controls.

I’m about a half hour in and the game’s still feeling fresh.  I’m not sure how long it is total, but the game does provide three save slots that it will store in your temp files.  And none of the individual levels take that long once you stop fooling around with your jetpack-flying, bolt-chucking wizard.  I’ll definitely be seeing this one through to completion; I really want to help the little guy!