Mini games deserve mini reviews, and that’s exactly what this is. When browsing around the Vita’s PSN store, you’ll notice the “Minis” section, which is geared towards extremely low budget, mobile-type games. In fact, Wizorb has been released on Mobile platforms, but now comes to us on Sony’s latest handheld.
It’s a fairly simple concept – Imagine Breakout or Arkanoid, then add in some fantasy, RPG-style setting, and you’ll have Wizorb. The basic idea is to move a paddle back and forth at the bottom of the screen and bounce a ball upwards to break blocks. As they break, items drop down, such as potions and money, and these can be collected to improve your standing. You’ll also see enemies wandering througout the levels, and these can be defeating by hiting them with the ball. Simple.
The whole game is done in decidedly 8-bit graphics, with chiptune-style music. It does the job, and gets you sufficiently in the mood. You also have some magic spells at your disposal, such as a block-destroying fireball and ball-shifting wind, which drain your supply of mana. Unlike Arkanoid, which required you to collect powerups, Wizorb allows you to use your powers as much as you like, providing your mana bar can support them.
It’s actually a lot of fun – very retro in its gameplay, but with elements an 8-bit gamer could only have dreamed of. Honestly, if this game had been released on the NES, it would have sold a million copies. I know the same could be said of many modern games, but the difference is that this game could have been released on the NES. I can only imagine what my 10-year-old, Arkanoid-loving selt would have done if such a rich brick-breaker had been presented to me back in the day.
The thrill of bouncing a ball into just the right spot is the same as always, but the inclusion of spells brings a new twist to the action. Shooting a fireball at a lone brick, then magically sending the ball back toward you to destroy the final obstacle, is supremely satisfying. The inclusion of keys, switches, and secret areas just adds to the fun of each level, giving you more to aim for as you clear out the necessary bricks.
Overall, Wirorb is definitely worth the money. You have to understand that this game costs only a few units of your local currency, so can’t be judged by the same standards as big-budget, full-retail releases. The question is, is it worth the entry fee, and the answer is, yes. It’s got old-school charm but plenty of modern advances, and while it may not showcase the power of your expensive new handheld, you may find yourself playing it for longer than games that cost many times the price.