I’m treading carefully as I write this review of Intergalactic Wizard Force. I’ve seen first hand what can happen when someone makes too big a deal about the comedy value of something. It raises the expectations too high, and then when you watch or play, it’s just not as funny as you’d anticipated.
I still remember being at school, hyping up ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’ to a friend. Later, when he came round to my house to watch it, he was astounded that his side’s literally didn’t split. I realised then that comedy is about not expecting the punch line.
So to protect the comedic experience of playing Intergalactic Wizard Force I’ll say this much – if you don’t sh+t your pants laughing at this game, you must be chronically constipated.
But what the hell am I seeing? What’s going on? Where am I?!
Intergalactic Wizard Force is a (very) short point-and-click adventure game from developers Powerhoof. It follows two companions, Prince Xandar and Maldrek, the eponymous wizards, who are on a mission from the Galactic Council of Planets to answer a distress call from the planet Labrynthia. Upon arriving, our heroes set to work uncovering what’s going on. It quickly becomes apparent that Xandar and Maldrek have wildly different agendas.
The game opens with Prince Xandar’s muscular pixel-drawn thighs wrapped around the shoulders of the portly three-eyed Maldrek. Maldrek is zooming them through space, and apparently farting out a stream of rainbows, as they close in on their destination.
Then the classic point-and-click mechanics kick in straight away. As Xandar you can admire the beauty of space, comment on how lovely your hair is, or chat to Maldrek about your mission. The banter between the two wizards is one of the best parts of the game. Xandar is a ‘lawful good’, happy to help anyone sort of fellow. Maldrek is the polar opposite; a ‘chaotic evil’, grouchy, hostile, curmudgeon. Essentially they’re Arnie and De Vito from the movie Twins – and I love this dynamic in the game.
The supporting cast are as zany and entertaining as our leads. From the creepy market trader, to a woman covered in doors, who’s really lovely, the voice cast is superb and the writing is excellent.
The simple, 90s cartoon come pixel-adventure style works really well and it actually wouldn’t look out of place on Adult Swim. The characters are varied and the locations are detailed and interesting.
I can’t finish writing this article without commenting on the soundtrack. Right at the start, the games theme tune blasts out. It’s like something you’d expect on a Saturday morning cartoon – Wiiiizard Force! Wiiiizard fooooorce! – All loaded up with heavy synths and electronic vocals. It’s a definite earworm. Sound effects throughout the game are good. Visceral body noises, flying ‘force bolts’, and squeaky shoes – they’re all great.
Were they high on their own ‘Space Chicken’ supply?
Actually all of this came from a game jam – a collaboration between creators usually with a very tight timeframe and pre-set objective/challenge. These sessions are facilitated to remove the burden of lengthy planning processes and to encourage creative thought and dynamic design. I would have loved to be at the session where this game came to life. It must have been a blast.
Now sadly I think this was a one shot, a little glimpse of a world we’re unlikely to explore again (I hope I’m wrong), but all is not lost. Powerhoof have a back catalogue of other excellent titles I can’t wait to play; The Inanimate Mr Coatrack, Peridium, Crawl, and Regular Human Basketball to name a few. I’ll have great fun delving into these whacky worlds in the weeks and months ahead.
If you’re looking for a laugh and have a spare half hour (45 mins at a push) you could do far worse than downloading this free (yes, free) game. You’ll not regret it. Actually you might, a little, if you’re still loudly singing the theme tune days after your play-through and getting dodgy looks from the other people in the supermarket.
Consider that fair warning.
Intergalactic Wizard Force is out now on PC, Mac, and Linux.
Find out more about Intergalactic Wizard Force on here (also includes links to download)
Find the other Powerhoof games here.
And more on the latest game reviews, click here.