Video games have been criticised for being dangerously addictive. Apparently this is because they tap directly into our primitive urges, such as wandering damp dungeons and getting stabbed by goblins. Wizardish is such a minimalist recreation of the classic dungeon exploring adventure / self-torture that was popularised by Wizardry.
Update: wouldn’t ya know it, the game was dang gone and updated the same day we posted, extra details for the latest version added to the post.
Wizardish was made using the PICO-8 “fantasy console”. Not being a developer I don’t know the full details but it appears to be a browser-based, micro programming language of sorts, designed to enable the making of retro, arcade-style games – no special hardware or software required. As such, many of its games are simplistic in nature, call backs to the arcade games of the early 80’s.
Of late, however, more and more pioneers are pushing the limits of the tiny language, and Wizardish is, at least, one such proof-of-concept of how far the humble PICO-8 can be pushed. Pushing the game closer to the NES era of home entertainment, Wizardish adds pseudo-3D dungeon crawling, turn-based (albeit simple) combat with monsters and good ol’ experience points to collect towards that next level up.
The game comes with 8 floors of 16×16 tiles, four character classes, monsters to be slain and loot to be found. It is, however, still hitting the limits hard: there is only one enemy type, and action is limited to basically just taking turns attacking. For those of us who grew up with classics like Wizardry and The Bard’s Tale though, it’s a neat peek back into the looking glass.
Update: the game was recently updated to version 2.0 adding a couple of nifty new features. The most requested feature: an automap that can be summed by holding the Q key. The timeless console artform of palette swapped enemies makes a grand appearance also, adding a little variety to the otherwise singular enemy type. The game has also been rebalanced (to compensate for the automap) as well as some animations and text descriptions getting tweaked.
Wizardish may still be a relatively simple affair but with the latest updates, it certainly feels like a full experience on its own terms.
Wizardish | Play online