“He’s a pinball wizard, there has got to be a twist, a pinball wizard’s got such a supple wrist”. Come on, it’s hard to NOT hear those lyrics from The Who when you read the phrase The Pinball Wizard, right? Whilst the song spoke of a metaphorical pinball wizard though, Frost Pop’s cutesy release actually has you launching a wizard around an array of levels in arcade-style gameplay with a roguelite pinball twist.
Check out some screenshots down below:
The Pinball Wizard puts players in the role of the titular wizard as he embarks on an adventure to the top of a tower, with the goal being to restore the power to a mysterious Eye that overlooked the land. Many had tried before you, but none had succeeded… do you have what it takes? It’s a simple little story, but one that fits the tone of the adventure perfectly. There’s no deep overarching narrative here, but what else would you expect from a game that mostly consists of launching a wizard across the map with a pair of flippers?
The game plays exactly like you would expect, with the player controlling two flippers at the bottom of the screen and using them to launch the wizard across a variety of levels made up of different shapes and sizes. You’ll have to hit enemies to hurt them, smash barrels to grab some loot, and find the hidden key in order to open the doorway to the next level, all whilst avoiding incoming attacks and keeping your wizard out of the way of hazards. It’s a simple formula that proves fun and addictive, with The Pinball Wizard one of those games that’s easy to get good at within the first ten minutes or so of playing (even if it can be a little fiddly hitting shots with perfect accuracy at first).
“The loot you collect can be spent to purchase new upgrades, with the game’s roguelite setup making each subsequent run a bit easier when you’ve beefed up your skillset.”
That’s not to say it’s necessarily an easy game though, with plenty of deaths to be expected during your early attempts, forcing you to start over. Luckily, the loot you collect can be spent to purchase new upgrades, with the game’s roguelite setup making each subsequent run a bit easier when you’ve beefed up your skillset. With the likes of a special dash to launch your wizard in a specific direction, a magical ball to launch that’ll damage enemies, a magnetised power that attracts loot, and loot multipliers to use to your advantage, there’s plenty on offer to give the game a satisfying progress curve as you make your way closer and closer to the peak of the tower.
It comes together to make for an enjoyable experience, though it does feel a little lacking in variety. Not only are there only a few different enemy types, but the aesthetic remains the same throughout too – levels change things up in design, but they never look different. The short nature of the game (it can be beaten in around thirty minutes when you’ve buffed up enough) does make this more forgivable, but it would have been nice if there was a bit more variety across the environment to keep things interesting. It’s a shame too, because I’m a bit fan of the cute visuals… you’ll just get used to them fast.
Check out some screenshots down below:
Outside of the main game mode, players can also complete a daily challenge as well as compete across two different dungeons in order to amass a high score. These offer a more traditional pinball-like experience when compared to the main game, but still have that dungeon crawling-style twist that makes the game feel so unique to begin with. Admittedly, I can’t see myself spending too much time with the modes due to the aforementioned lack of variety, but they offer a bit more replayability for those who want to get a few more hours out of the game and chase high scores.
The Pinball Wizard Review
The Pinball Wizard is a fun experience with an addictive hook, but the lack of variety does prevent it from being a ‘must own’ pinballing classic. I had fun upgrading my skills and launching my wizard across levels, whilst the roguelite approach certainly made it have that ‘one more go’ appeal. However, the lack of visual and enemy variety could be a little off-putting, especially over longer play sessions. The low price-point and fun gameplay do make up for its flaws though, so it’s definitely worth taking a look at if you fancy a quirky and enjoyable pinball-like experience.
Developer: Frosty Pop
Publisher: Frosty Pop
Platform(s): PC (Reviewed), Nintendo Switch