Title Wiz'n'Liz Category Platform Compatibility 1 MB required, WHDLoad slave available Players 1 or 2 Submission Joona Palaste (firstname.lastname@example.org) Profiled Reviewer Review At first, Wiz'n'Liz might look like yet another cutesy platform game. This impression is a bit deceiving, though. Wiz'n'Liz is certainly cutesy - very cutesy, in fact, but it's not your average platform game. In a strong contrast to the current PC game market, where the only game category left is extremely violent first-person shoot-'em-ups, Wiz'n'Liz is pretty much entirely non-violent. In fact it does not even have any enemies, traps or other dangers. If it weren't for the time limit, this game would pose no challenge whatsoever. The story is both short and silly. In the land of Pum, the wabbits (yes, they're called wabbits) were happy, but then they were taken. Taken where or by what, is never explained. Fortunately, two wizards, one called Wiz, the other Liz, set out on a quest to wescue the wabbits. (Hence the full title: Wiz'n'Liz - The frantic wabbit wescue.) You can control either Wiz or Liz in a one-player game, or both together in a two-player game. Wiz'n'Liz is set in two parts: The wizards' home and the outside world. The wizards' home is where you mix spells from the fruit you have collected, and the outside world is where the actual wabbit wescue takes place. The outside world is divided into a handful of levels, each with its own graphical style and music, which you can access in any order you like via a rollercoaster map. Aside from having their own graphical style and music, all the levels are pretty much identical. They all have similar landscape configurations and play the same way. When you are playing a level, you must find all the wabbits wandering around and wescue them by running over them. When a wabbit is wescued, it releases an item, which can be a magic letter, a fruit, a star or a time bonus. The magic letters are used to fill up words at the top of the screen. At the easiest difficulty setting (Apprentice) it is enough to fill up the word to complete the level, but at the other settings (Wizard or Sorcerer) you have to wescue all wabbits. Now as I've said previously, the time limit is the only real challenge in the entire game. And it's a very strict time limit too. You start out having one minute, and this is supposed to be enough to wescue about sixty wabbits. The time limit doesn't even reset between levels - it is only reset when you die, and you only get three lives. In the Apprentice difficulty setting the time limit is fairly loose but on Wizard or Sorcerer difficulty you end up frantically running around, searching for the remaining wabbits. I've had several cases of reaching the exit door with an amazing 0 (yes, zero) seconds to spare. On every level, there is one wabbit that releases a very special 30-second instant time bonus when wescued, and at least on Sorcerer level getting this time bonus is pretty much essential to success. Fail to find it or miss it when it appears, and you're done for. The other aspect of the game is mixing spells in the wizards' home yard. The spells, which are mixed in a big cauldron, each consist of two different fruits, collected from the various levels. The fruits include lemons, oranges, pears, carrots, tomatoes, onions and others, each with a happy smiley face. The way the fruits smile and spin around in the cauldron, it looks like they actually enjoy being cooked. Depending on what fruits you mix, the spell can have very different results. You can be awarded bonus points or stars, get extra time, or even get to play a subgame. The subgames are usually simple clones of old 1980s games like Breakout or Snake. In one subgame you have to throw tomatoes at two guys placed in wooden stocks - I presume these are supposed to be caricatures of the game's programmers. You aren't told in advance what fruit causes which effect, but instead you have to find out this information yourself by experimenting with different fruit. The graphics and music in Wiz'n'Liz are excellent. They're wonderfully cutesy and cartoony, and colourful enough to pass for AGA even though this is an ECS game. The wabbits aren't that cuddly but I personally think the happy smiling fruit are adorable, particularly when they dance around in the cauldron. Despite the excellent presentation, Wiz'n'Liz still isn't particularly interesting. This is mostly due to the whole game depending on the strict time limit. You can complete the Apprentice difficulty setting very easily, without even trying very hard. The other settings take more practice, but they too can be completed simply by being fast enough when wescuing the wabbits. This makes the whole game seem more like a test of reflexes than a real platform game. Wiz'n'Liz is certainly a nice diversion, particularly if you get bored of all the violent games and want something nice and friendly and jolly and cheerful, but as it is too simple and not varied enough to get you addicted or hold long-term interest. Worth getting only if you want to try a platform game with a difference.