Waltz of the Wizard: Extended Edition Review (Valve Index)

For the purposes of transparency, this review was created using a code provided by the company or their respective PR company. The use of a review code does not affect my judgement of the game.

Waltz of the Wizard (legacy edition) was released for free back in May 2016, now the team have brought out an Extended Edition. There is a number of new features in the this edition, so what does it bring to the table? Is it magical or a bit of dud-spell?

The game does not really come with a story, but there is a number of areas you visit in the game and the skull in the room will give you some back story on that area. But, this isn’t really a constructed story and more just areas to visit and take in what plays out in that new area outside of the room.

In the game you will craft spells with the ingredients on the table, play music to open portals which take you to the aforementioned areas, interact with the objects in the room and play a few mini-games.

When it comes to the spells you have twelve in total to make in your potion cauldron, once you have crafted them they will be added to a shelf of spells – this then lets you select them at any point. There is no difficulty in making these spells, as the game will give you hints on what you can put into the cauldron next. You have two potions, three gems and two ingredients available to mix and cook, the ones you can place in will get a green glow around them – so if there’s a glow place it in. This approach was partly the correct one to take as you are not getting annoyed trying to figure out what to use next, but it does seem like it holds your hand a little too much.

Some of the spells seem repeated like turning objects in the room into frogs and then one that will change them into butterflies instead. However, the variety is wide enough, with my favourite being Magnetize and throwing objects about the room – sort of like telekinesis.

In order to open the portals you will need to find and interact with objects around the world. When interacting with these objects they give you musical notes to play on the xylophone that is on your desk. This will then open a portal above to instrument you then need to place your hand onto it the be transported into that part of the world. I managed to find five in my play through but there could be more I haven’t yet found.

The mini-games you are going to find are simple in nature, but fun to try to get a perfect run on. These come in the form of chopping apples with a light saber that are fired out of the gargoyle on the wall, and shooting targets with a cross-bow. Where these are not really a stand out element of the title, it just puts something a little extra in the mix.

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The games visual look nice inside of the HMD, and the team have done what they could with the room and the locations to keep you immersed in the world. All of the textures, the cauldron bubbling and the magic effects are to a great standard, although some of the visited areas can sometimes come across a little bland. But, overall the visuals do a great job for what this experience offers.

Audio wise the team have not used any sounds outside of environmental noises for each area, the sound of your spells, interacting with elements of the environments, the skull and some other characters talking. I think given what the experiencing entails this was the correct approach again by Aldin Dynamics, as this gives you the more immersive experience.

The game can be played seated, standing or using room-scale, which makes the game accessible to everyone. You will move around the room and the labyrinth area you visit in one of the portals using the analogues, with your spells being cast using the triggers, and in the case of ones like the fireballs doing the throwing motion. This is all that is really needed when playing on the Valve Index.

This is down to the game implementing full Index Controller support in both interaction and visuals. Meaning to grab object in the room you will be doing the full grabbing action manually, and you will be able to see each finger on your hand tracked separately. This means the throwing motion is also really natural as you will just open your hand as you want to release the fireball spell.

With the game really holding your hand when it comes to crafting your spells and all but one of the areas you visit being static experiences, you will likely be through it in about thirty minutes. But, the fun of the game comes with playing with the spells in your room once you have crafted them. Although, this wont add a huge amount to the longevity of the title, it has been priced accordingly at £6.99 (GBP)/$9.99 (USD).

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Pros
  • Fun crafting spells
  • Plenty of spells to craft
  • Great experience for showing people VR
  • Priced correctly for what it offers

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Cons
  • Holds your hand a little too much
  • Areas you visit are mainly static experiences

Conclusion

Waltz of the Wizard: Extended Edition is fun little experience, with a decent amount of spells to craft and to play around with. With it’s main downfalls being how much it holds you hand when crafting the spells, and most of the area you visit through the portals being static experiences. But, with that being said the game is priced correctly and is fun experience for showing and introducing your friends and family to VR.

Also available on HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Windows Mixed Reality
Developer: Aldin Dynamics
Buy Waltz of the Wizard: Extended Edition on Steam

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