Developer: Square Enix
Price: Free
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 4S

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★½☆
Controls Rating: ★★★☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★½☆☆
Playtime Rating: ★★½☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★½☆☆

Alfred Hitchcock once said that “Drama is life with the dull bits left out.” Obviously unaware of this quote, Wizardlings takes the RPG, a genre fully capable of balancing bombast with boredom, and makes it nothing but dull bits. It’s as dramatic as a static screen.

Darkness has covered the land and only the magic of the young Wizardlings can repel it. At a glance that seems like a perfectly normal premise but whereas other games might have players repel darkness by battling monsters and whatnot, Wizardlings has players literally tap away the darkness block by block. The game is broken up into 56 different areas and players explore by tapping on dark squares to restore them and slowly rebuild the world. It’s like a poor man’s Bastion. Players will also not be able to leave most areas until every block is restored leading to levels of tedium more painful than the worst kinds of grinding. Sure there are a few monsters to fight, treasure chests to open and spells to discover but most of the game really does feel like a one-person mining simulator with mediocre touch recognition.

It’s a shame too because some of the other systems are actually pretty intriguing. There are no health points. Instead, players gain magic when they level up and lose it when hit. Magic is what players use to vanquish darkness as well as launch basic attacks. Stronger elemental attacks on the other hand have to be individually brewed with the loot scattered across each area or by just paying for them. There are a lot of spells to learn and master and each attack is well-animated in a flash cartoon sort of way. Again though, the animation players will be seeing most often is the one for purifying a tile. It’s a lot less exciting.

Square Enix, with their occasionally lazy Final Fantasy rehashes and overpriced App Store ports, doesn’t necessarily have the cleanest track record. Still, as one of the originators of the legacy of RPGs Wizardlings seeks to be a part of, they should know better. Wizardlings may be free but the time it wastes is not.

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