Virtual reality has become increasingly popular over the last few years. Since the release of the Oculus Rift in 2012, developers have been inventing new and interesting ways to play in the virtual space. While not for everyone, virtual reality offers certain benefits that traditional platforms simply can’t. Exploring an intricately built game world in genuine first-person gives you a sense of scale and space that was never present on a television or computer screen. Hand tracking has improved greatly over time and now provides a new feeling of immersion and interaction. Until recently, a large majority of VR titles were short experiences with little in the way of narrative. These games, including Job Simulator and Rick and Morty, are basically VR playgrounds where the goal is to experiment with these mechanics in an environment filled with interactive toys.
Waltz of the Wizard is a virtual reality sandbox experience taking place in a fantasy world of magic and mystery. You are a wizard working diligently within your sorcerer’s tower. All around you are magical artefacts and secrets waiting to be discovered. Using ingredients and objects found around the room, as well as the advice of a rhyming spirit trapped in a human skull, you will create new magical spells, discover mysteries throughout the tower, and travel to new and shocking worlds.
Waltz of the Wizard is the epitome of a sandbox experience. While games like Job Simulator provide the player with goals, Waltz of the Wizard doesn’t have the same direction. Everything there is to find must be discovered by the player with very little hand holding. This doesn’t mean the game is particularly difficult as there really aren’t any ways to lose, but it’s easy to miss things if you aren’t paying attention.
Waltz of the Wizard features twelve unique spells to discover by combining ingredients in a bubbling cauldron. Creating brand new spells was exciting and satisfying the first couple of times, but I soon felt that the experience might have benefited from just giving the player those spells to begin with. The game informs you of which ingredients you have already combined, so it’s mostly just a chore to mix them together until you’ve discovered all twelve.
Visually, Waltz of the Wizard looks great. Colourful effects, creative environments, and detailed models make each interaction with the world feel like a meaningful experience. Various hidden magical effects bring the tower to life as ethereal birds fly out of broken bottles and barrels explode into colourful fireworks. Waltz of the Wizard features several unique environments that make the world feel larger and more involved. These different locations are very distinct, ranging from natural scenes to alien worlds.
Movement in Waltz of the Wizard is done through point-and-click teleportation, similar to many VR titles. While the chamber at the top of your tower isn’t particularly huge, crystal balls hidden around the room reveal musical notes that, when played, open up portals to distant, sometimes alien, locations. Whether you find yourself lost in a labyrinth of demonic enemies or must play along while being observed by giant aliens, these portals provide you with the closest thing to an actual goal in the entire game and usually give you a chance to use some of your spells and artefacts in the field.
At certain points during the game I found bugs that made playing frustrating, but rarely impossible. Often, objects will clip into the surrounding environment if you aren’t careful and especially when using spells that cause objects to move, shrink or grow. When this happens, unpredictable and chaotic physics can cause objects to fly around the room at supersonic speeds, lost forever in the void. Or until you reset the room. Only once during my playthrough did my character clip through a wall, forcing me to restart the game.
While a bit buggy and lacking in content, Waltz of the Wizard is an undoubtedly fun virtual reality experience. One of the huge benefits of VR is that usually mundane actions, like swinging a sword or firing a gun, can be engaging by themselves. Waltz of the Wizard takes full advantage of this fact by providing players with everything from musical instruments to a Lightsaber and more. Expect a good couple of hours out of Waltz of the Wizard before discovering everything the game has to offer. Kids and those new to VR will enjoy the simplicity and the mechanics, while veterans will appreciate the experimentation and limitless interactions between spells and the environment.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Waltz of the Wizard: Extended Edition Review
Gameplay - 8/10
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 7/10
Replay Value - 5/10
Waltz of the Wizard is a virtual reality sandbox experience taking place in a fantasy world of magic and mystery. You are a wizard working diligently within your sorcerer’s tower. All around you are magical artifacts and secrets waiting to be discovered. Using ingredients and objects found around the room, as well as the advice of a rhyming spirit trapped in a human skull, you will create new magical spells, discover mysteries throughout the tower, and travel to new and shocking worlds.
- Tons to explore and experiment with.
- Strange and exciting environments.
- Very little replay value.
- Slightly buggy