Developer: Mana Giant
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 2.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4S

Graphics / Sound Rating: Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: Rating: ★★★☆☆
Gameplay Rating: Rating: ★☆☆☆☆
Replay Value Rating: Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★½☆☆

Wizard Quest is a puzzling game in a couple different senses. This first sense is that the game is – quite literally – a puzzle game, and a fine-looking and relatively well-playing one at that. However, the other way in which it is puzzling really detracts from the game experience as a whole. Despite being $0.99, Wizard Quest is overloaded with in-app purchases; making it feel like a particularly egregious free-to-play game when, in fact, it is not.

The first thing I’d like to say about Wizard Quest is that its core gameplay is actually quite good. The game has players clearing screens of colored, wizardly objects to make progress through an auto-scrolling screen. They must clear these objects as they can hinder the protagonist’s progress. Once the level has been successfully navigated, players must then battle some foe by again matching items. The strategy involved in both of these modes of play are quite layered as matching certain numbers or colors of items in some places of the map or against certain enemies can yield great rewards or punishments.

photo 2 (5)photo 3 (3)In theory, the game looks, controls, and plays well enough for this set of mechanics to make for a very solid and highly recommendable experience. However, the issue of in app purchases in Wizard Quest renders the game practically unplayable after a handful of levels without paying some extra money, which is a huge issue considering players have to pay upfront for the game already.

Perhaps the most egregious of Wizard Quest‘s in app purchase decisions comes when players “unlock” items. Unlike in most games, “unlocking” items in Wizard Quest almost certainly means unlocking the ability to buy items, some of which can cost $7 or $8. The game then drives players toward purchasing this gear by becoming absurdly difficult for players that opt not to play, resulting in a game experience that quickly grows frustrating.

There is a lot to like about Wizard Quest when looking strictly at its core gameplay and mechanics. It is really a shame that the fun to be had with it is burdened with such an outrageous in-app purchase strategy. As a result, I do not recommend people pick up Wizard Quest in its current state despite the potential it shows.

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