Wiz - Quest for the Magic Lantern - A charming Amiga AGA game gets an ABrugsch review!


While the last few years have seen a plethora of new Amiga games released, few if any have come from established industry veterans that created games back in the day. But today sees the release of Wiz from Mutation Software and long-time Amiga head Adrian Cummings. Creator of original titles such as Cyberpunks, Tin Toy, Doodlebug and more. Here we take a good look at the new release, which if it’s successful, may pave the way for more Amiga releases.


Wiz - Quest for the Magic Lantern may be the first new Amiga game from Mutation since 1997 but they haven’t been out of the industry, but have worked on various console conversions for Climax software, and own label games for Windows, mobile and Spectrum Next for the whole of the past 20+ years. 

As Mutation’s first new amiga release, it represents a virtual toe back in the water after many years away. I followed the development of this game on Adrian’s instagram (@fuzzydweeb) from the first mockups in early June and to get to a final release in November is a true feat. It was fully written on a real A1200, in 68k assembler with the end result being a tight game that runs on a stock 2MB A1200 and without any tedious disk swapping (There’s one swap prior to the title screen and that’s it!) Wiz can also be installed to hard disk without needing to use WHDLoad (though it may need a bit more RAM than 2MB on an active system).


The game will come as a boxed physical 3.5" floppy (until the limited run sells out) or USB stick with 3.5" disk label for your own disks.

Once the game has loaded there’s a simple options screen to set difficulty and a list of in-game keys, and then it’s straight into the game!


The first of five main levels is THE PATH OF HOPE. And with all the woodland style and grassy paths you think you’re going to be eased into the game but OH NO! This cutesy platform game with a hint spookyness IS HARD AS NAILS. This is an old skool platformer with an old skool difficulty (I mean it’s not Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins hard but you get the idea!)

For example the very first enemy you see is a worm. A tiny worm that can’t be shot (because it’s below your magic wand’s shot path. But wait! The readme says you can jump on creatures to kill them. But not the worm! Then the platform edges take a bit of getting used to because of the oblique view so to start with you end up falling off. A LOT… This is better in later levels though because of the shape of the platform blocks

The Unholy Graveyard has a Ghosts 'n Goblins feel to it

The Forgetful Forest is similar to The Path of Hope but with an oddness filter applied 


The Bramble Caverns has a touch of Shadow of the Beast to its backgrounds

 
The Spooky Mansion is the final showdown act and has a dark stone castle feel to it 

As well as the magic wand, you have various potions to help you along. A fairy which orbits you killing bad worms and mushrooms around you, a bubble to let you float to out of reach areas, healing which… well heals you, Freeze which makes all your enemies stop where they are for a few seconds. Handy for jumping on their heads multiple times. And finally Fire which rains down fireballs on your enemies for a few short seconds.


The only criticism I have for the game is that the magic wand weapon never gets any kind of upgrade in the game. And later levels have every enemy taking upwards of 7 shots or more to dispatch, but as I said, this game is HARD. 

That aside, what we have is a good solid platformer. The short development time and the fact that this is the first (of many) new amiga game from Mutation means there’s not much pushing what the hardware is capable of. Wiz is not a fast paced, twitch game by any means. There’s no timer so you can take your time going through the levels. And if it wasn’t for the beautiful AGA graphics, I’m sure the game would easily run on a 68000 amiga. This isn’t to say Wiz is a bad game, as it is not. It’s a pretty, cutesy, offbeat platformer with smooth scrolling and which deserves to be in any amiga owners collection

Verdict: Recommended! The monsters are deceptively challenging and there are just enough pixel-perfect jumps to not totally frustrate that it will be rewarding to beat when you finally complete the game.

The graphics are colourful and nicely detailed with ultra smooth paralax scrolling and a pleasing magical themed soundtrack which is varied enough (but also disable-able in game) between levels to definitely be an ear worm for the rest of the day!

But make no mistake, the dificulty level is up there with other Old Skool platformers and absolutely does not baby you to the end. (fortunately if you complete an act, you can continue from the start of the next act until you reset the computer) 

Wiz - Quest for the Magic Lantern is available from: http://softwareamusements.com/MutationSoftware/index.html

Alistair
@ABrugsch

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