The Search for the Best Free mmo — Wizard 101

A screenshot from Wizard 101

Yes, it’s a kid’s game, and yes, I’m still review­ing it. While it is most def­i­nitely aimed at a much younger audi­ence than the other games I’ve reviewed, Wiz­ard 101 is still one of the bet­ter ones. Wiz­ard 101 eschews the typ­i­cal for­mula for MMO com­bat in favor of a card-​​based bat­tle sys­tem. Play­ers take turns play­ing their cards (or choos­ing not to in order to build up power for a more pow­er­ful attack).

The game cre­ates a bat­tle­field with spots for both play­ers and ene­mies, any­one wish­ing to join in on the bat­tle need only walk onto the field. This can get annoy­ing, how­ever, as you can inad­ver­tently step onto a bat­tle zone and get stuck fight­ing an enemy you have no inter­est in. You can choose to flee most bat­tles, thank­fully, but it still takes a moment.

When you first join the game there isn’t much you can do aside from lay down attack cards, but as you progress you gain access to more inter­est­ing choices, such as cards that reduce your dam­age taken or increase dam­age done, heal­ing, etc.

There are mul­ti­ple schools of magic you can choose from, rang­ing from ele­men­tal (fire, ice, light­ning) to sum­mon­ing (which uses crea­tures to aid in fight­ing) to life (the oblig­a­tory heal­ing school). To start with you can choose pri­mary school, and a sec­ondary school, how­ever later on down the road you can choose a third and fourth school, there are enough schools of magic that there are plenty of unique com­bi­na­tions though.

The devel­op­ers of Wiz­ard 101 have cho­sen a styl­ized look for the game, rather than try­ing for real­is­tic, it’s some­what car­toon­ish, but still pleas­ing enough to look at.

Mana depletes with each spell used, more pow­er­ful spells tak­ing two or more turns to com­plete and of course addi­tional mana. Health can be picked up just about any­where in the form of float­ing orbs that look sim­i­lar to “wisps” in the War­craft series, but it’s much harder to find mana wisps float­ing around. Fret not though, you can recharge your mana by drink­ing potions, and play­ing mini-​​games (coin­ci­den­tally you can even get more potions from the minigames). The bet­ter you do in the mini-​​games the more, and bet­ter rewards you’ll get for them. The mini-​​games them­selves are enter­tain­ing for long enough to get your required items/​mana, but not much longer than that, they’re only sim­ple games, some­thing you might play in a web browser. Over­all I like it. It’s actu­ally quite fun once you get a few of the more inter­est­ing cards, but get­ting to that point could turn off some people.

Wiz­ard 101 is a free game with micro­trans­ac­tions, the micro­trans­ac­tion items could be very help­ful to new play­ers, how­ever, they are far from required, you can craft items, as well as pick them up, it’ll just take you a bit longer. So no com­plaints about micro-​​transactions here. My one and only com­plaint is the voiceovers! Oh god, they’re ter­ri­ble, read in silly voices for the young demo­graphic, and extra­or­di­nar­ily sim­plis­tic, but you can’t really fault them for cater­ing to their tar­get demographic!

You can play Wiz­ard 101 for free at http://​www​.wiz​ard101​.com

Wiz­ard 101 (as a free title)
A combination of the reviewer's bias, and the objective score
Some games are more than the sum of their parts, this cat­e­gory allows the reviewer to reflect that in his over­all rating.
How fun is the game
How good does the game look?
Sound effects, music, etc.
How long can you play this game before you need to take a break?
An aver­age of the game­play, sound, graph­ics, and replaya­bil­ity categories.

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