Ever since they put Xbox Live Indie Marketplace online there has been a steady stream of new games created by many people who may have otherwise never seen their games released to the masses. Of all these new releases there have been the run of the mill Zombie Shooters and lack luster platformers but every so often we see something new and refreshing. Wizorb takes the old Breakout/Arkanoid formula of block breaking and adds an RPG element to it of sorts. In Wizorb you play a Wizard who is a master of an art of magic involving… you guessed it paddle ball. While it sounds kind of outlandish its very well implemented here. The paddle is in effect the wizards wand which you use to bounce the ball while destroying bricks and defeating enemies on screen. The game follows you as you break bricks on your way to restoring a village ravaged by monsters.

What separates this game from other brick breaking games you might be wondering? Well, it’s the addition of mana and magic spells. You have 2 kinds of spells and 2 ways to use them. One shoots a fire ball but if pressed while the ball hits the paddle sets the ball ablaze which can pass through bricks as it destroys them. The 2nd magic type causes a gust of wind to blow the ball back, when in contact with the paddle the ball grows wings and flutters around for a short duration. Of course these cost magic which can be restored by either catching magic potions from certain bricks upon breaking or a tiny increment is restored after so many consecutive bounces against the paddle. I found the spells to be an interesting take on power ups for a brick breaking game however I found the gust of wind spell to be a waste of magic most of the time since the direction of the gust is totally random and could just hasten the balls return to the bottom of the screen.

Gameplay wise the game plays like any brick breaking game would play but it works well, however I found the game to rely way too much on luck with many frustrating instances where you can get the last brick or the ball always finding it way back to the bottom of the screen only to result in a lost life. The game offers 4 kinds of collectible items which include the before mentions potions for restoring magic, keys for opening locked doors, coins and jewels which effect score, buying continues when you run out of the ones allotted each zone and for buying additional power ups in stores that appear in certain stages. Finally we have Debuff power ups which are bad. Some slow you down, shrink your paddle, make the ball stick or even destroy your paddle out right. These add some strategy to the game but in some situations your either forced to take the debuff or lose your ball. The layouts of each level were generally good but there were times where the layouts were just annoying or artificially boosted the difficulty. For example in later levels unbreakable bricks are added but then they are places at the very bottom of the array of bricks which could result in many misses which were no end of frustration especially when after losing all your continues it costs you a sizeable amount of coins to continue which isn’t easily regained in a single round. However on a better note, An unusual additon to this game which breathes freshness into the genre is boss battles after beating 12 levels in each zone. I found these to be very entertaining and making it totally worth beating some of the more frustrating levels.

The graphics are 8-bit in style and I found them to be very well executed. The UI design is pretty nice and I loved the expressions of the wizard when you win or miss. I generally just love retro art styles in modern gaming and this one met my expectations and then some.

The music I didn’t really find to be very memorable, at times I found it boring but its not all bad, some of the zones had catchier tunes then others but I especially liked the boss battle music. It doesn’t make the game unenjoyable however which is good.

Overall I found Wizorb to be an enjoyable little game, but it can be frustrating at times due to level layout and overall game play mechanics. If you’d like a fresh take on Arkanoid with retro style then I recommend checking this one out and at only $3 its basically a steal.