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Wizardry Labyrinth of Lost Souls Review

By Andrew Nesvadba, on November 7, 2011


Wizardry Labyrinth of Lost Souls
Download on the AppStore
Rating

PROS

  • 'Classic' Western First Person RPG gameplay.
  • Challenges players to be more than a gung-ho action hero.

CONS

  • Little to no modern concepts of elegant interface design.
  • Assumes you've played these sorts of games before; your 'tutorial' is starting over several times until you 'get it'.
  • Bland presentation; use of 3D almost pointless.

VERDICT

Wizardry Labyrinth of Lost Souls reprises a style of RPG that was engaging because it held you accountable for every little action you made; sadly it fails to realize there's a difference between challenge through gameplay and challenge through obfuscation and sticks with the outdated latter.


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I'm prepared to be lynched by the mob, but first hear me out: While I was never a personal fan of the first-person RPG while growing up (even despite some amazing examples of the genre on the Commodore Amiga, I get what makes them so appealing - I love the challenge of overcoming my ignorance and mastering an otherwise puzzling system of gameplay. Unfortunately for Wizardry Labyrinth of Lost Souls this is 2011 and we have better ways to remove 'hand holding' without making a player feel as though they're going in blind.

This is no pun as those unfamiliar with the seminal Wizardry series (and its ilk) you'll find it odd to have arranged your party (after wrangling with the interface to allow you to reorder it so your mage or priest don't eat dirt immediately) and entered a dungeon only to be presented with a mostly black screen. 'What now?' you ask? Step forward and meet your destiny as you face a dungeon-crawler in the most literal sense of the term.

Lost Souls is, if nothing else, a dichotomy of deep gameplay and an obfuscatory interface that may as well be in another language if you've never played this sort of game before. A help menu provides some of the most rudimentary basics (such as listing the stats required for basic classes and what those stats mean), but unless you think to swipe the shop screen you'll probably miss the 'map' that helps to guide players in the first dungeon. This leaves you blind and facing an eventual annihilation of your party if you don't think to whip out some paper and a pen to draw your own map.

Beyond the steep initial curve of the game's archaic design you'll find yourself neck deep in a rather engrossing story with quests aplenty and amazing battles that require far more than the basic 'auto' option to survive. While the character creation screen and interface may make you believe this RPG is little more than a 'numbers' game, there's more of an emphasis on efficient survival strategies than brute force, making it a deep game for those who stick around.

Ultimately the emphasis comes back to the developer and their decision to keep Wizardry in the dark ages of gaming by refusing to provide even an option to accommodate those unfamiliar to the style of gameplay. This is the real shame as it's still an amazing game for fans of the series, but you may be put off well before it 'clicks' and there's no shame in putting the game down again.

The game does come with a trial level to explore - so it's worth seeing for yourself whether it's worth the full purchase.

Screenshots

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Comments

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ancientRobot 2 years, 5 months ago

@andrew epic wording here :-D