Wizordum (Early Access)

Posted:  Nov 29, 2023
SDHQ BUILD SCORE: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarNo Star
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Review

Wizordum was provided by Apogee Entertainment for review. Thank you!

Ever since I first saw Wizordum, I was captivated by its art style. The pixel-like visuals, combined with the 2D sprite enemies and props in 3D environments, work exquisitely with the color palette and world that is built. I love games that utilize two different versions of aesthetics like this to form a captivating experience, and this game succeeds in it wonderfully.

Wizordum is currently in early access, so it isn't feature-complete yet, but it has a solid amount to offer initially. You will have 1 full episode of the single-player campaign, with 2 more on the way, a full custom-level editor to create your own complete episodes with online sharing support, and online leaderboard support to compete against your friends to see who can complete the levels in the quickest time.

Wizordum1

From what I have played so far, I am loving it. I can see the creativity coming through with the aesthetics, level design, unique weapons, and modding tools. I really love having such an accessible level creator too, as it means more people will hopefully make levels and could create a near-endless amount of content to go through. Unfortunately, this isn't as easy to control with a gamepad, but if you are willing to use the touchscreen or connect a KB+M, this will be great to use. Placing props or terrain using your finger on the touchpad is quite nice, especially when you can drag your finger to place terrain in multiple squares at once.

Since it is in early access, I can't say anything definitive about how good the game will be on release, and everything is subject to change, but this is a fantastic start. And, for the most part, it is a treat to play on the Steam Deck.

Wizordum - Steam Deck Performance

As for performance, Wizordum holds up quite well on the Steam Deck. Most condensed areas work flawlessly out of the box with a battery drain under 10W, but there are some open spaces that tend to drain a bit more, hitting around 13W. These are minimal and will change as you run around the levels, which makes the battery life stick to higher numbers. As for framerate, 60 FPS is achievable and easy to hit, though there are a few areas where I noticed slight hitches when moving into them.

There are some stages that will drop to 50 FPS when looking in certain areas but will bounce up to 60 FPS when turning away. Since the game is in early access, I am sure it will be fixed and optimized as it progresses. For an initial launch though, the game works exceptionally well!

Controller Issues

While the bulk of the game works perfectly well with a controller, navigating the main menu was a bit harder at first. The controller wouldn't recognize it, so I had to use the touchscreen to bring up the cursor. Then, when the controller was recognized, it would go through the menu in a weirder way (skipped over leaderboards and then went back to it when scrolling down). It wasn't a huge deal, and I never encountered any issues while in-game, but it's noticeable getting into the game.

There are a lot of areas where the prompts in-game will show keyboard prompts instead of Gamepad ones. For example, it will say to use "E" to inspect corpses when it should be saying "A" for the gamepad.

Accessibility

As for accessibility, there are multiple different toggles for bobbing, screen flashing, amount of gore, auto-switching weapons, showing gameplay time, autorunning, and audio sliders.

The game does have good gyro support as well. Selecting the "Gyro to Mouse [Beta]" option in the controller settings of Steam Input will allow you to enable Gyro easily while using gamepad controls simultaneously. I would recommend lowering the sensitivity down to 1.75x, though.

Wizordum does support 16:10 resolutions, so no black bars, and does have cloud save support.

Conclusion

From what I have played so far, Wizordum definitely has a lot of potential to be a fantastic retro FPS that is essential on the Steam Deck. The aesthetics are fantastic, while the gameplay is tight and enjoyable. The level editor is also great to use, even if it doesn't work well with a gamepad. There are some performance hitches, and controller optimization is needed, but it works well so far. For an initial launch in Early Access, I am extremely happy with the results!

Our review is based on the PC version of this game.

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SDHQ's Build Score Breakdown

Wizordum is a gorgeous retro FPS that has released in early access, and so far runs quite well on the Steam Deck.

Build Score

Performance: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarNo Star
VISUALS: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star
Stability: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarNo StarNo Star
Controls: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarNo StarNo Star
Battery: 
Full StarFull StarFull StarNo StarNo Star
Noah Kupetsky
A lover of gaming since 4, Noah has grown up with a love and passion for the industry. From there, he started to travel a lot and develop a joy for handheld and PC gaming. When the Steam Deck released, it just all clicked.
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