This is a review for the Global Game Jam 2017 game Wheelchair Wizards. It was developed at Bandwidth Barn Cape Town in South Africa. (http://globalgamejam.org/2017/games/caramari-tentacle-four-way)
Wizards compete to stay on top of a tower while goblins and other wizards attempt to push them off while in wheelchairs. The tower doesn’t have boundaries so if the players keep moving in a single direction they will fall off. It would have been nice to have a screen of instructions because as it is I was confused on how to move the character once the game began. Players can control the P1 wizard with the keyboard keys “w, a, s, and d.” The “a” key turns the P1 counterclockwise, the “d” key turns the P1 clockwise and the “s” key shoots out critters, which can be used to hit the goblins attacking the player wizard. Additional players can be added by moving the slider at the beginning play screen by moving the slider right up to four players. When more players are added their keys used to move change; for example, P2 uses the arrow keys. As far as graphics go the world is rather flat and would have liked to see more dimension to make the falling off the tower more believable. It’s cool that the blocks on the tower can be pushed with slight resistance when bumped into, but would have liked more feedback from the wizard when approaching the edge such as shaking or tipping back and forth before finally falling off. I found it to easy to slip off. The clouds are an interesting dynamic to the screen, yet think this could have been more instrumental to the game if they passed over the tower from time to time, as it is the clouds aren’t quite believable because the tower image is set above the clouds level. Missing the element of a counter to show how many goblins the player has avoided or a tracker to determine how close the player is to the next stage. The perspective on the tower could have been improved to see more of the side of the tower and not just the top, or at least a shadow. Sound effects add an element of interest, especially the goblins noise when they enter the scene building the anticipation for their attack. It makes sense that the wizard screams as he falls from the tower but think the wizard would also holler when the goblins hit him. Further development might consider adding sound to the wheelchair movement because it seems odd to not have it and background music to enhance the atmosphere, at the moment it feels incomplete.
I enjoyed the ability to add multiple players and the option of firing repellent critters to fend off from the goblins. Thought the concept of the game was intriguing and appreciate the originality. Curious as to how this idea came about? Personally I expected more wizard magic to build his powers, but perhaps I didn’t get far enough in the game to discover this magic. I would have liked to know what the story was behind the scenario. Why are the wizards on the top of a tower? What made the goblins so mad that they want to knock the wizards off? Lastly, how did the wizards end up in wheelchairs? It was a great idea to have each additional player a different color to differentiate the players. Also like the animation of the characters shrinking to nothing when they fall off the tower. Due to the style of the game found it fitting to have the more humorous end to the fallen characters with the scream and shrinking instead of a blood splatter from the deadly fall. When the levels got more difficult I thought it was clever to have the villains turn red to show their emotion of being mad and the swinging arm movement made them seem more threatening. I got excited whenever I saw the next stage indicator appear on the screen promoting me to continue playing. The personal drive to do better than my previous attempt created an urge in me to try again over and over with the goal of reaching a higher level the next time played. This indicator is important to the game because it draws out the player’s competitive spirit either against the player’s own personal record or that of their friend’s playing the same game. Displaying the high score for that session could promote players to invest even more time.