|Posted by Morpheel on October 31, 2015 at 12:05 AM|
Guru Morpheel here to talk about Wizdom by Moving Player.
What would happen if you took a time management game and a match-3 puzzle game and mixed them together into a single game? Well, probably something like this, maybe. That's more or less the basic concept behind Wizdom: you match tiles ("blobs") to create ingredients and use them to brew potions to satisfy your impatient customers.
The game begins with your master, an expert potion maker, teaching you the basics of the business, this world is inhabited by creatures who are really into shape-shifting (like, REALLY into it) and people like you make the potions they need for that. After a a few lessons, an unknown character asks you to give your master a special potion he made for him, which ends up with your master transformed into an evil mushroom-like creature, who for some reason is now your main antagonist. So now you must explore the multiple regions of the land satisfying customers to become an expert yourself and return your master to his former self.
Main gameplay is divided in two sections, there's the puzzle, known as the Blob Factory, and your potion stand, where customers line up to drink your potions; you can switch between the two with a simple tap of an icon. Unlike most match-3 puzzles, you don't have any real control of the blobs in the grid, you instead need to drag the lone blob on the corner and put it next to the grid on either the left, right or the top sides- this will make the Blob push its way into the grid, moving all the blobs in that column or row with it. With some luck, youll get some matches and generate a few "potion" blobs. You can create a variety of different colored potion blobs and also "super" versions of them. Of course, you'll want to keep your reserves stocked up, but if you take too much time messing around in the factory you may lose some customers.
On your potion stand, things are very different. Here you have up to three customers waiting for their potions, each will have a speech bubble describing what they want which also doubles as their timer, if the time runs out or you give them the wrong item, the person will go away angry and disappointed and you'll lose a portion of the satisfaction bar. In addition to the potions, you can also give your customers the dolls you can create by matching three super blobs, it's no easy task, but they'll happily accept them and go away. In this mode, things can get pretty hectic, you need to be fast and make sure you don't make any mistakes with their orders, which with staggering amount of options present is much easier than it sounds.
Unfortunately, soon into the first few levels a big problem with this structure becomes obvious: creating the ingredients you need is completely luck-based, you have very little input on what happens, and even though the grid is relatively small, the game is not shy about putting junk or indestructible blocks on it. Combine that with the fact that your customers also ask for completely random stuff, which will often include potions made with super blobs even early on, it means many times you simply won't have what you need. Another problem I could detect, is that even though the game tries to explain things to you, it does it with short, easily skippable text messages: at one point I was completely stuck because even though I was giving the customers the potions they wanted they still acted unhappy, turns out that that level introduced cork stoppers (really small cork stoppers that blended with the background) and I accidentally skipped the short message that told me about them, the game did nothing else to let me know I could put stoppers on the bottles.
Wizdom is an interesting game, it mixes match-3 puzzle and time management elements in an attempt to create a single addictive experience, and or the most part it does just that fine enough, it is a fun game in short sessions. Though, I found the experience as a whole to be lacking in polish and balance, which made it a lot more frustrating than it had to be, even on the early levels.
I give it 5 potion-addict bears out of 10.
Review copy provided by the publisher.