Unexpected Baseball in a Fantasy Realm
The Wizards is an RPG style game where your hands are utilized to throw out various destructive spells that will damage and stop the evil ogres invading the towns under your protection. This workout is reminiscent of hitting the bullpen, but there is more than one way to get the blood flowing as orcs swarm from every potential angle. With arena and a full-fledged campaign, gamers have everything they need for a sustained fight to hold back evil!
I haven’t quite sampled anything yet that plays like The Wizards, although plenty of shooter titles opt for the tower defense approach to keep players on their toes. The difference with Wizards is the way you control projectiles, which works arms and shoulders as you “pitch” fireballs or project ice arrows at opponents.
VR Health Institute hasn’t rated this title for calorie burn, and the developers don’t seem to include a calorie counter in this title. I played for about 90 minutes before my arms couldn’t really go anymore. I used a Fitbit Charge 2 to track my heart rate and calories burned.
Although campaign mode offers a challenging and immersive narrative, arena mode is where most fitness-oriented gamers will find themselves. I spent the majority of my time in this review in arena mode, but have completed some of the campaigns for the purposes of testing heartrates in both modes.
I rate Wizards a solid 6 for intensity. There is downtime built into the campaign experience as you locate your next waypoint. The minute or two I spent searching lowered my heart rate. Arena, available from the main menu, does solve this problem to a certain extent with a never-ending onslaught. That is where my heart rate often went above 100.
When the action gets heated, you feel the pressure. Orcs are big and hit hard, so you can’t stand around tanking a lot of damage, you need to master the flick of the wrist that conjures your fireball so you can high tail it out after you’ve felled a few foes.
Here are the results of my 90 minutes:
Calories Burned: 379
Average Heart Rate: 99
Max Heart Rate: 122
This game is almost all arms and shoulders. A few hundred fireballs into the game and you might feel the need to underhand one or two. That’s why I preferred arena, difficulty scales fast so you’ve got constant targets from every direction.
I clocked some steps playing in my 2.5×3 meter space, but not everyone has that kind of size to work with. There’s not a lot of dodging and manipulating the world either. In a game like Arizona Sunshine, where there’s something to walk to and touch every few feet, you get more steps than Wizards with its long empty hallways. Good for combat, but bad for working out the legs.
Core and Balance 2/10
I suppose you could say that trying to keep your balance in free locomotion counts as improving balance. I just think it’s staving off motion sickness. When enemies do fire projectiles, they track your headset so you can’t dodge them anyway.
Time Perception 8/10
I didn’t feel this one at all until my arms couldn’t go. That said, it took a minute for me to set my game up properly. I play without an audio headset (using speakers for sound) and Wizards doesn’t like my setup. Some tweaking was required to get things right. The game also blocked me from progressing in campaign mode due to a glitch more than once. That’s another reason I had way more fun in arena mode. This game makes your workout breeze by, but it takes some setup to get there.
I see myself replaying arena, but I also cracked top ten on more than a few maps within my first few tries. Arena mode is fast and requires very active movement, even if the waves become somewhat repetitive. I found the frantic pace of switching spells to deal with various enemies to be a fun challenge. Having some room scale allowed me to move in my space, but hallways are long and empty and I can’t dodge projectiles.
Campaign mode offered a narrative experience, but too much downtime between fights lowered my heart rate. For a workout, I want the arena. When I just want to play a game, I have campaign mode to choose from. One positive for campaign mode are the secrets. Secrets make the game more fun, make you more powerful, and give you a reason to replay levels you might have missed. The campaign also uses fate cards, which add some variables to the level (like increased damage or more monsters). This helps balance out difficulty and provide a better fitness challenge, but the built-in downtime hampers that growth just a bit. The story is about protecting villages under your protection from invading evil and will have you fight more than orcs.
Fitness Scalability 5/10
I’m not sure I’ll be able to get a full workout from this game once my arms are in better shape. I think there will be a limit to what this game can do because of the lack of cardio. However, fate cards add difficulty to the game. I could see myself returning to complete the campaign if fate cards pumped the difficulty up high enough.
Social Competition 3/10
The Wizards does feature leaderboards for arena mode, but no co-op for campaign or arena. It’s a single player game. I broke top ten on a few maps with a modest score. It’s possible not many people are playing arena competitively because of that game mode’s intensity, but that would be the closest this game has to a community.
VRFI Score: 7/10
The presentation is solid, good atmosphere and lots of variety in magic. You also unlock spells as you play, so you’re rewarded for your dedication. Lots of missions and a full campaign will keep gamers coming back to finish it.
Arena mode is intense and adds a leaderboard for that competitive edge. Please try and beat my score. The exercise feels easy but your arms will be tired by the end.
Too much downtime in campaign mode makes the fitness-oriented gamer crave arena, which becomes almost too hard given how wonky the controls can be. I have finished sessions before knowing I could have done better and upset with the game for failing to register my movements properly.