Wizzley Presto and the Vampire’s Tomb in Review: No Jumping Allowed

It’s no secret that I love platform games, and it’s probably not a surprise either that I’ve been a bit under-whelmed with the offerings on the App Store. From a presentation point of view Wizzley Presto and the Vampires Tomb could easily raise those expectations. Sadly, poor movement controls and a lousy save system keep this one from rising above the crowd.

In Wizzley Presto you play a magician that has been summoned to a land to rescue it from a rampant demon. The problem is, you don’t actually have the ability to do any magic – in fact, you don’t even have a wand!  Thankfully a lit bit of ingenuity will help you win the day, assuming you can live that long.

In the game you can move left and right, or up and down if the circumstances allow. While you can fall off of certain places, there is no actual jump button. Unfortunately, up and down movement tends to be somewhat finicky, and the fact that the movement controls are spread out along the bottom of the screen make situations where quick reflexes are required somewhat difficult.

Along the way there will be items you can pick up to help you solve puzzles, and you simply tap on them to pick them up. To use an item you simply move to where you think the item should be used and tap on the item in your inventory. You can only carry 3 items at once, which means you’ll spend some time traipsing back and forth to complete certain puzzles.

Sometimes an exclamation point will appear above Wizzley if there is more information to be gleaned about an item or location, and when there is someone to talk to the exclamation point will appear as well. Simply tap on Wizzley to proceed. When engaged in a conversation you can tap through each dialog, but alas there is no way to actually skip an entire conversation.

In addition to the puzzles you need to solve, there are a number of obstacles that you need to get past. You do have a limited number of eggs at your disposal that you can throw at critters, but this won’t stop all of them and there aren’t even enough to go around for the ones they will stop.

If your health bar gets emptied you lose a life; lose all your lives and it is game over. The game is divided into three chapters, and once you make it through a chapter you can start at the next chapter when you die (albeit with only the health and lives you completed the previous chapter with), but there are no intermediate saves. This can be a tad on the frustrating side, but once you successfully finish a chapter you’ll realize that the chapters aren’t all that lengthy. They only seem long if you keep dying.

The graphics are probably the highlight of the game, with colorful characters and, well, everything else colorful as well. Given the story and dialog the visuals are appropriately cartoony, but still quite detailed. The animation is decent as well. The best part, however, is watching the look of each area change as you travel through time – it’s cool seeing areas look similar but different at the same time.

The sound effects are actually decent as well. I especially like the voiceovers, which are quite reminiscent of those found in Simon The Sorcerer. They did an excellent job of casting the voice talent. The music is also quite good, and manages to fit the mood quite well even though it’s not necessarily peppy or energetic.

In some respects Wizzley is top notch. The addition of puzzles to the standard platform fare is nice, and the whole atmosphere is very professionally rendered and lots of fun. Unfortunately, the lackluster controls and limited save functionality really don’t sit well with me. Given that the game sports a near-premium price tag of $4.99, I think it could stand to be a bit more user friendly.

App Summary
Title: Wizzley Presto and the Vampires Tomb Developer: Craig Rothwell
Reviewed Ver: 1.1 Min OS Req: 3.0
Price: $4.99 App Size: 44.2 MB
  • Funny dialog
  • Puzzles add variety
  • Great graphics and sound
  • Controls aren’t great
  • Save system flawed


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