Wizard Ops by Phyken Media gets medieval on your heinie.
What is it?
Wizard Ops is an arcade shooter with simple controls and a straightforward goal—survive while taking out as many of the bad guys as possible. You will also get the chance to collect vials of health potions to keep you alive and coins which are useful for buying weapons upgrades.
You are on a mission to collect your old comrades and rescue the princess. And yes, as the title indicates, you are a wizard, so your weapons are magical. There is some back story the game provides including intrigue, betrayal, injustice and redemption. It isn’t really important to the gameplay, but it may provide your inner actor with motivation for the character… or not.
How does it work?
This is a one finger game. If you have more than one finger, that’s good, but you won’t need them to play. The bottom section of the screen functions to position your targeting reticle, move your wizard around the screen and fire your weapon. If you are touching the screen, you will be doing all of the above at the same time. Target/shoot anything and anyone that gets in your way. You won’t have a hard time telling who the bad guys are, they’ll be the ones shooting at you. There are blue spheres and wizard-seeking missiles the baddies will send your way. The missiles can be shot and destroyed en-route, but the little blue balls of doom just keep coming, so stay out of their way.
There are obstacles you get to walk around or fly over/under, all while taking enemy fire. Shooting back is easy; just touch the “Touch Area” of the screen. You even have the option of more than one weapon. To toggle the weapon you are currently using, simply tap the weapon icon in the bottom left corner. Some of the obstacles are magical barriers that will do damage if you run into them.
The graphics are a bit blocky in places, and cartoonish, but not too shabby. The sound effects are provided by Michael Winslow (of Police Academy fame), but are not all easily identified as his style. Actually, I think this a credit to his ability to create sounds that defy identification as not coming from a sound effects machine.
Is it contagious?
Wizard Ops provides a significant back story but follows it up with a rather basic “shoot everything” gameplay. It is enough to keep the one finger you are using to play. The action (incoming enemy fire, etc) gets fast fairly quickly, so keep your head together or you can get toasted…and the smell of singed wizard is not pleasant.
Since this is a simple game, it is actually fun to zone out and do some shooting. As mentioned, some of the elements in the game don’t have the smoothest graphics, and the general style is a bit cartoonish, but it seems to fit the game nicely. Wizard Ops proves a simple arcade shooter doesn’t need to look like epic cinema to be fun.
Tips From the Green Chair
- Upgrade to whatever you want when you have the coins—there is nothing else to do with them.
- Pick up the health potions as often as possible, as it may not always be a good idea to put your eyes on your health meter while taking fire.
- Missiles do track your position, but you can dodge them so you don’t have to shoot at them if you have a more important target.
- Move quickly.