Game Review – Wizard’s Choice Complete + Chapter 4 & 5

 

Update (8/11/13): Guess what people, the Wizard Choice walkthroughs are now available! Follow the links below:

 

Wizard’s Choice Walkthrough: Volume 1

Wizard’s Choice Walkthrough: Volume 2

Wizard’s Choice Walkthrough: Volume 3

Wizard’s Choice Walkthrough: Volume 4

Wizard’s Choice Walkthrough: Volume 5

Wizard’s Choice Walkthrough: Volume 6

 

 

Well, well, well… It’s been a full year this I did the review of the Window 7 Phone game Wizard’s Choice. I found it an excellent old school ‘choose your own adventure’ gamebook that, despite its sharp difficulty at times, was a great find for any bored role playing gamer on the road.  Sadly the Microsoft marketplace hasn’t made much gains in the gaming department. Fortunately Sam Landstrom, the creator of the Wizard’s Choice books, is picking up the slack by not only creating a new gamebook app (Wizard’s Choice Complete – which has chapters 1 through 3 in them) but releasing two new chapters for your gaming pleasure. Let the Fall of Games continue.

 

Before I go over the story this time, I must warn readers that this will contain spoilers, so for those who haven’t read ch.1-3 and plan on doing so please close your eyes, count to 60, and meet me at the next paragraph.

 

*Ahem*

 

Things are not going to hot for our Wizened Hero: first he barely escapes certain destruction at a malicious castle, then his best friend is murdered and he was pined with the crime, he discovered a demonic plot for a city wide take over in which their ring leader was freed by you back at the castle, and in order to survive and save the day you had to become a vampire (alone with your not-girl friend cleric). So yeah, suck times. Now in chapter 4 & 5 players must risk it all to do something no one in the land has never done before: find a cure for vampirism. In order to do that the duo must go to unknown lands, do battle with horrors of every shape and size, and make difficult choices that will determine if their fates continue or are sealed.

 

Wizard’s Choice Complete plays just like the separate Wizard’s Choice games: you still read from a passage & you’re given choices on how to proceed. Its outcome good or ill will affect the player’s stats, which was health, mana, gold and morale. However in ch. 4 & 5 they added a few new caveats this time around. For one you’re a vampire so that means super strength, enhanced health, and becoming a terror that flaps in the night (bonus points for those who get that reference). However that also means killer sun, constant need to suck blood, get sent to a extra dimensional reality when you sleep (that’s a new one), and everyone’s out to put a stake in your heart. Another thing is that in 4 & 5 they do away with the gold stat (you’re pretty loaded after your 1 – 3 adventure) and enhanced the morale stat. Morale not only multiply your overall score at the end of a chapter but if you lose all your morale points throughout your adventure – then you’re dead. So yeah, make decisions that color you as an inhuman monster and you’ll pay the price (sorry renege players). Finally they ramped up the difficulty to 11 in the new chapters; every choice could cost you big time and if not now then down the road.

 

 

Ranking

 

Like the first three chapters a year ago I’d enjoyed the new chapters of Wizard’s Choice; and thanks to the Complete version you can get new chapters as easy as a update. They’re still as hard as ever (even more so actually), but the chapters are still entertainingly written and the solutions to each of the choices are very logical so pay attention to the details. However this time around the game gets a perfect score because Wizard’s Choice Complete, which comes with a total of five chapters to enjoy, is completely free in Microsoft marketplace. So to recap: a good story, interesting characters, logical problem solving elements, decent reply valve, and all completely at no cost to the players. Best deal in town right here people; get it while it’s free. Keep up the good work Mr. Landstrom, I can’t wait for chapter 6.

 

 

 

Mini Game Review: Progress Quest – Playing games is so 2012

 

 

I’m sorry fokes, this isn’t a review of Skullgirls, I wanted to do one but I promised True Backlash I wouldn’t play it without him and he’s got business out of town so that review will be a little late. Instead I’m going to review a rather interesting title called Progress Quest for the PC and Window 7 Phone. This is quite possibly the easiest game you’ll ever play and I’m really stretching the whole ‘playing’ thing.

 

 

 

 

So, yeah, all you ‘out the beaten path’ PC players should already know about Progress Quest as it’s at least ten years old, consonantly I’m reviewing the Window 7 Phone version. As such I didn’t get much in the way of story. On the PC end I found this:

 

 

Since time before time the Vorlak had held the Crosshutch at Thraeskamp. The ancient reckoning held that the Five Skrelkampi (and their Truebine) would return when the great Trond-feast could be held anew and the Belnap reunited. But this legend became lost to all but the Papperboxen at Horbug. One of their own was Yallow the Speldrig, who found an unlikely pupil in Torbole Understeady, the discarded illigitimate waif of Wainthane Topknox, whom Yallow renamed Grumdrig and began to school as a boar-pulmet’s apprentice. …And, as it was said by some, in aberdoxy.

 

 

And it goes on like this, so yeah there’s no story. See Progress Quest is, um, how can a say this? A parody non-game sounds right, you create a character by choosing a race and class (I’m a Gyrognome Robot Monk), rolls some stats and send it on its way – that’s it. From there the game plays itself, not that you can tell because all the ‘players’ can see is the character’s ‘progress’ through stats bars. Sure your character does the average RPG stuff (slay monsters, sell crap from slain monsters, and of course complete quest) but those are done without you and they are incredibly ridiculous. At the time of this entry my Gyrognome Robot Monk is completely a quest of placating Bacon Elementals and executing a malnourished titan. Why and for what reason? Not sure. Do we ever see these bizarre, but somewhat awesome adventures? Nope, but at least it’s all recorded on your phone/PC.

 

 

 

 Ranking

 

Progress Quest is a special kind of game for the lazy or the obsessive compulsive, seriously a game that you can’t play or enjoy serves no purpose. This game is more like a weird paradox than a parody of RPGs; and removed from it – any enjoyment what so ever. Then again I can’t say it didn’t anything wrong either, that would imply it did something other than show loading bars. And what can I exactly ‘rate’ about that? Yep, nada. So yeah, Progress Quest – it’s the anti-game.

 

 

 

 

Mini Game Review – Wizard’s Choice

Update (8/11/13): Guess what people, the Wizard Choice walkthroughs are now available! Follow the links below:

Wizard’s Choice Walkthrough: Volume 1

Wizard’s Choice Walkthrough: Volume 2

Wizard’s Choice Walkthrough: Volume 3

Wizard’s Choice Walkthrough: Volume 4

Wizard’s Choice Walkthrough: Volume 5

Wizard’s Choice Walkthrough: Volume 6

 

Role playing games have come a long way hasn’t it? Modern gaming, in one way or another, is a role playing experience where your choices have consequences either good or ill. A lot of people would credit Dungeons & Dragons as the role playing originator, and it’s true in many ways, but actually RPG roots are found in books. Some call them ‘Gamebooks’; others call them ‘Choose your own adventure’ (or ‘CYOA’) books, but whatever they were called they would ultimately give the reader the ability to take on the role of the main character AND choose his or her own destiny.  A nice bit of history but what does that have to do with this game review? In a world of super phones and e-readers Gamebooks can not only make a return to the forefront of personal entertainment – but can reinvent the wheel thanks to the new technology available: The Wizard’s Choice series (by Sam Landstrom) is a perfect example of this.

 

Basically you play as a nameless male wizard (sorry ladies) who’s personality will be defined as you play through the stories. He starts innocently enough hunting in the woods with his friend, but as you progress he discovers the world is in dire straits from demons, necromancers, and more. In order to set things right (and get rich doing it) the wizard must gain allies, acquire knowledge and most of all make wise choices; every turn you make or person you confide in may either give you an edge or an edge at your throat. Wizard’s Choice, as mentioned, is a gamebook so the game play is simple enough to learn: you read a passage & you’re given choices on how to proceed. Whether it was a good move or a fatal error is determined by the player’s stats, which are health, mana, gold, and morale, and how they’re affected.

 

Health is needed to live (duh), once reduced to zero you’re dead (again duh). Mana is needed for your special attacks like fireballs, illusions, and controlling spells; they can protect you from harm or obligate your enemies, but mana doesn’t regenerate easily (sorry no blue mana potions here) so pick and choose wisely. Gold, like mana, can help you out of a sticky situation but generally is use to buff your total score at the end. Morale won’t help you in the stories, but you gain them by being chivalrous or getting past problems like a true wizard (intelligently). Like gold however Morale points help in your final score, in fact, Morale points act as multipliers so if you want that high score you might have to act like a goodie-good. So in order to survive smart players must know when to take it, when to give it, when to paid for it, or just let it go.

 

 

Ranking

 

Almost a month ago I got the Window 7 phone, a great piece of tech by all accounts, but the salesman did warn me the app department was a little weak. He wasn’t kidding either but in my need to find at least one good game app I kept searching until I was awarded for my diligence. The first Wizard’s Choice story was free so I had nothing to lose, but it didn’t turned out as I thought – it was better. Challenging, a good read, and a nice use of game stats made me want to buy the other stories (two others in total, at a dollar a pop) – they were longer and more satisfying by tying the other stories together. I’m not sure if this is available on iPhones (iTouches or iPads) but for WP7 owners for a pension for role play there’s no reason not to get this gamebook app. Sure it could use some customizing (I’d rather be warrior than a wizard) and some of the choices are deceptively hard – at the end of the day the Wizard Choice was the right choice.

 

 

 

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