From Unity Connect

The Great Gaming Conundrum

Nobody stays young forever. As we all grow older, so too do our responsibilities and activities change. Where we used to play the weekends away on the console of our choice, as grown-ups we must now use that time to do things that we couldn’t get done during the work week. We clean the gutters, mow the lawn, and balance the checkbook; adult stuff. While doing this we look around and realize that life has indeed changed. Instead of just ourselves to tend to, we now have families.

Video games have proven to be the Achilles heel of many adults who have pushed aside their loved ones to enjoy them. Recently Fortnite has been cited as the reason for hundreds, if not thousands of divorces across the globe. A few years ago a couple in South Korea let their infant starve to death because of a  binge session on World of Warcraft. For better or for worse, video games are a part of the family experience.

However, I think video games have a high potential to reunite families as well.

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The game hosts a colorful set of characters to play as. Courtesy of Steam.

There is a little game that was recently released by indie developer A Bonfire of Souls called Wizards Tourney. The developers were kind enough to give me a copy of the early-beta to try for myself. After playing the party romp for a little bit, I came to realize that some games do not fit into the standard gaming experience; some must be shared with others.

Here is what I discovered from Wizards Tourny.

When Wizards Come Out to Play

This game is not your typical high fantasy title. Though there is a setting to the action that takes place in Wizards Tourney, very little of it has to do with the gameplay itself. A long time ago there was a group of powerful wizards that got together and created a tournament to prove their skills. The winner of the tournament would be declared the archmagus, and along with that, the prestige of being the best wizard of them all.

A time went by, many of the powerful wizards became conceited, and felt as if they did not need the tourney anymore. The old ways were all but forgotten, but a few wizards went back again to the traditions of the elders and sought to bring back the tourney themselves. So, meeting together in the old proving grounds, these wizards resumed the tourney, and once again competed for greatness.

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Each game has its own unique rules and objectives. Courtesy of Orlyaccess.

A Few Games, A Lot of Fun

A Bonfire of Souls has put quite a bit of time and effort into creating the individual mini-games that make up the core gameplay of Wizards Tourney. There are only six separate competitions that can be played at this time, but each of them is distinctly different. For example, there is one called Pumpkin King, where the players must capture the Great Pumpkin and hold onto it to accumulate points. Of course, the pumpkin will eventually go rotten and then must be passed off to another player. Another game, Ray Fray, is a firefight where players throw balls of light at each other while dodging light rays that appear on the small platform. Each game provides unique, multiplayer fun.

Players can select their wizard model at that beginning of each tourney. Each model appears to borrow from a different cultural perspective. From the chubby witch doctor to the evil queen, each avatar is unique.

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The cartoony wizards are very appealing to a younger age group. Courtesy of DeVuego.

A New Perspective on Gameplay

This game has helped me to put things into perspective. Often when I review games I look at factors like controls, replay value, game design, the soundtrack and more. Honestly, this game is lacking in most of those areas, but that’s not the point. The value of this game is not in those factors, but instead in one key area; its local multiplayer.

I didn’t see this strength the first time that I played Wizards Tourney. I saw the flaws, but the apparent strength was hidden right in front of my eyes. That was until my 7-year-old daughter came into the room to see what her dad was doing. She looked over my shoulder and sweetly asked, “Whatcha playing? It looks fun.” Seeing my daughter’s interest, I dug an extra controller out of my “gamer’s box” and plugged it in for her. “Let’s play together,” I said, handing her the controller.

That’s when the real fun began.

The single-player mode did nothing for me as I competed against mindless bots, but when I played against my daughter, well that changed the experience entirely. My son soon joined in, and as we huddled around the TV, I realized what this game was about. It is about family and friends.

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The games are simple but fun. Courtesy of Steam

A Return to Family Game Time

Wizards Tourney doesn’t boast the best graphics or soundtrack on the market, but what it does supply is worth way more than any of that. It provides a wholesome and fun experience for the entire family to enjoy. Players cannot truly appreciate this game without having people sitting next to them enjoying the game as well. Wizards Tourney is a fun and straightforward title that allows for players to share in fast-paced wizarding fun with each other.

If that doesn’t work for you, here is what my kids have to say about it:

“I liked playing it because it liked the pumpkin game. My dad could never catch me when I had the pumpkin.” -Addy, age 7

Wizard’s Tourney is really fun. I got to play as the little blue wizard and pushed my sister off an iceberg. She got super mad, but got back at me when she switched my potions.” – Justin, age 10

For any parent, that is evidence enough that Wizards Tourney is a great game. If you are in need of good family game time, I highly recommend that you pick up this game for the PC on Steam; you will have a magical time!

Jasonator’s Family Score: 10/10