Publisher: Tribute / Developer: Tribute / Platform: XBLIG

Breakout (or Arkanoid, to some) has always been my favorite of the “classic” arcade games.  Not just for the brick-breaking, but the huge amount of powerups (or power-downs) that are thrown at you over the course of a game.  What would happen, then, if you took Breakout and gave it the brightly-colored, slightly RPG tinge of the Legend of Zelda series?  You’d get Wizorb.

On the surface, Wizorb looks and sounds like an NES title, which is what originally got me interested.  Once you start the game up you’ll find that although the graphics may look dated at first, the game itself runs smoothly and the sprites are animated superbly.  For the most part it plays like every other Breakout clone with a few additions that make it delightfully unique.  You play as a wizard who has a few spells with which to aid in your brick-breaking travels.  You have access to both a fireball and a gust of wind that you can use to change the ball’s direction.  Alternatively, if you cast a spell right as you deflect the ball off of your paddle, you can apply the spell directly to the ball itself, turning it into an unstoppable ball of flame or give it wings, allowing you to control the ball directly.

Aside from collectible coins which you can use to purchase temporary powerups or refill your magic bar, this is about as RPG as Wizorb gets.  This isn’t really a huge problem as the game itself is both fun and challenging, but it would’ve been interesting to play a Breakout clone with a level-up system or loot drops.

Wizorb brings players through five different levels, each with 12 stages (and an alternate path in four of the levels that allows you to unlock a special attack).  At the end of each level is a boss who usually falls after just a few hits with the ball.  The bosses aren’t terribly difficult (except for the final boss) but they do provide a nice alternative to brick-breaking.  The levels themselves are nice and the difficulty does ramp up a bit at about the halfway point, but it never becomes frustrating.

Overall, Wizorb is a solid Breakout clone, and a solid game overall.  It is a little on the short side but it adds enough of its own flavor to the mix (for instance, there are enemies in a few levels that essentially act as mobile blocks) to entertain Breakout fans as well as anyone with a passing interest in the genre.