Wizard Ops Hands-On Preview

If you’re an arcade fiend, you might remember Space Harrier, a Sega shooter where you flew around and fought off enemies hovering directly in front of you. These 3D shooting and flying effects are recreated in Wizard Ops, an upcoming iOS game from a new Orlando studio called PhykenMedia.

In Wizard Ops, you play as a member of an elite squad of sorcerers. Your group is disbanded and imprisoned at the start of the game, but in the first episode, you’ll play as the fireball-blasting Red Wizard and attempt to reunite your team. Subsequent episodes will feature wizards with wind, ice, and water powers.

Wizard Ops controls very simply, with a space at the bottom of your device to move from side to side. Later levels will also let you fly up and down. You’ll auto-fire at enemies, which include miniboss wizards in magical tanks and turrets, and you can switch between two types of attacks during each level.

For a buck, Wizard Ops looks like it’ll provide a decent amount of arcade-style shooting. There are five levels to start, with just one playable character, but there will be free updates shortly after launch with more levels and spells. The later episodes, which will feature new wizards, will cost another buck when they arrive next year.

Wizard Ops is a simple, straightforward shooter with a bit of a retro kick. It’s also got a sneaky sense of humor, like in the “unicorn factory” you rampage through in the opening levels, and the fact that Police Academy noisemaker Michael Winslow will provide the game’s sound effects. Wizard Ops will magically appear in the App Store in mid-November

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