As more developers enter into each space it becomes increasingly difficult to stand out. Despite this, titles like Cult of the Lamb managed to come out ahead and challenge what these genres are capable of. With so much potential, there is hope Wizard with a Gun will deliver similar results. With the added benefit of online co-op, not to mention more than just RNG based fun, it’s in a good place. However, given so many things can go wrong, is it a hit or does it fall short of expectations?
There isn’t much of a narrative behind Wizard with a Gun. Players control a player created wizard who ends up on an island. Apparently you were selected to aid an effort to prevent the end of a world. Upon navigating these harsh environments it turns out there is more that meets the eye than simply stopping certain events. Even if you ignore the expanded narrative, which is told through random interactions and specific locations, the heart of the experience is gameplay.
Much to my surprise, Galvanic Games did not work on Cult of the Lamb despite the two games being very similar. This isn’t just look and feel, but even the gameplay loop is reminiscent of that experience, even if Wizard with a Gun feels like a step backwards.
Since players are trying to prevent the end of the world, each attempt is given a time limit of like 5 minutes. Killing certain enemies or participating in specific events will increase how much time remains. At first glance it doesn’t sound like much, though it can quickly increase to 10 or even 20 minutes.
Might as Well Burn it All Down
Even though each run takes place on a procedurally generated world, objectives remain the same. These include finding gears, typically held by powerful foes, collecting resources, or uncovering shortcuts. Not only do these locations allow you to skip a sizable portion of the map, they also unlock new sections in the hub world.
While this loop is rather simple, the main similarity to Cult of the Lamb stems from town management dictating progression. The first couple of tasks involve building various resources. There is a sewing section, crafting table, and so forth. Each of these kind of build off one another and are needed to progress.
At the start the three most importance resources are the Furnace, Composter, and Loading Bench. The reason for this is pretty simple. Both the Furnace and Composter use specific materials to create other materials needed to make certain bullets. So, scrap metal and fuel will make iron ingots, which are used with wood to make burning bullets at the Loading Bench.
Overtime these bullets will need to be upgraded and that is done through research stations. Once these are made, excess resources can be used to upgrade bullets, create new options, or unlock new powder (think modifiers). Said materials can also be used to make higher tier weapons, enhance armor, or refined to make other resources.
Even though the loop seems fairly involved, it really isn’t. The first couple of runs will force players to focus more on resources than progression, after which it isn’t difficult to have an excessive amount of resources. For example, I have over 100 scrap metal and iron ingots, those it typically takes three ingots and pieces of wood to max my ammo. I could go crazy and realistically never run out, assuming I kept a few on my person and never died.
Combat itself doesn’t do much to change this either. Provided you don’t aggravate too many enemies at once, fighting comes down to playing defensively. All moves are clearly telegraphed, to the point where the impacted area is shown, so provided you stay clear of those spots it comes down to whether you have a bullet high enough to damage them and the supply to finish the job.
Near Unlimited Bullets
Unfortunately, for this reason it takes a while for Wizard with a Gun to really shine. Things like water/oil bullets don’t have much value, though paired with lightning/fire they can be a real force. Even without these bullets certain modifiers can be applied through barrels or simply interacting with said element.
Wizard with a Gun Review Verdict
Wizard with a Gun: While Wizard with a Gun has a couple shortcomings, I don't think these prevent it from being a good game. The gameplay loop takes a bit to get used to, though once you figure it out things start to move fairly quickly. Progressing adds new challenges to overcome, along with new enemies to overcome. This makes things interesting, as relying on a single bullet will not save the world. Add in online co-op and this can really be an enjoyable experience that is well worth the cost of entry. – Grant
Editor’s Note: Wizard with a Gun was provided to us for review purposes.