Wizard Ops is a fun little shooter starring a wizard with army training. The action is frantic, the upgrades are plentiful, and the controls are simple but fun. Problem is, the game is over as soon as you start to get into it. Coupled with some performance issues, the short length makes Wizard Ops a game in need of a few updates before it can get an enthusiastic thumbs-up.
A series of comic book-style stills introduce the world of Wizard Ops, helping ease you into the story of militarized wizards. The wizards are imprisoned, someone gets kidnapped, and they’re let out again to save the day. It’s not the most compelling story ever written, and the opening sequence will likely have you tapping through the cutscenes to get to the action.
Once you do, you’ll find a game that’s both simple and fun, resulting in a great pick-up-and-play shooter experience. You control your wizard from an over-the-shoulder perspective. Forward movement is automatic, and you control your aim and left-to-right movement with a bar at the bottom of the screen by simply sliding your finger back and forth. Eventually your wizard will get to use a rocket pack, so you’ll be able to move up and down as well.
Fire is the devil’s only friend.
This makes Wizard Ops essentially a one-button game. Whenever you touch the movement box you’ll fire, so as you move around you’ll be shooting at the same time. What this means, though, is that you can only fire at what’s in front of you, which can take some getting used to. You’ll earn cash that you can use to purchase new weapons, of which there are over a dozen. Many are quite useful– in particular anything that has homing capabilities– while others just take up menu space.
The action ramps up very quickly, and after a level or two the screen will be filled with all sorts of enemies and lots and lots of bullets. This makes evading fire as useful a skill as actually shooting enemies. It also makes it hard to see what’s going on at times and, at least on our 3GS device, it caused quite a bit of slowdown during some enemy-filled sequences.
Wizard Ops is also relatively easy, with the only real challenge coming from the shamefully infrequent boss battles. This makes the fact that there are only six stages in total all the more frustrating. The short length and relatively low difficulty level make Wizard Ops a game that can easily be completed in under an hour. More levels are listed as coming soon, but right now there’s just not a whole lot to this game.
And it’s a shame, because the core gameplay is quite fun. Blasting bad guys is simple and easy, and at least half of the weapons are a blast to play with. But the game is simply too short. As soon as you discover just what there is to like about Wizard Ops, it’s all over.