The Wizard and The Slug

The Wizard and The Slug is the strangest love story ever told. The game was just released on Steam on November 2 and is developed by Silkworm. It is published by Meridian4, the same publisher who released the excellent point & click The Silent Age.

The Wizard and The Slug is a 2D story driven platformer. It tells of an unconventional relationship between two characters who are diametrically opposed. One is a quirky wizard with quick wits, and the other is the fastest slug in the world. Get ready for loads of action!

The main protagonist is a slug. It might seem boring, but this slug is like no other. In addition to being the fastest critter around, he is also extremely agile. He can jump, run, etc. He is just minding his own business when he suddenly stumbles over an odd pink wizard. He immediately notices that this wizard is missing some limbs. He agrees to retrieve the misplaced limbs. The wizard is so grateful for the assistance that she asks the slug to join with her. That is the moment where the friendship is born, and together they will have to uncover the mystery behind the ancient curse.

The Wizard and The Slug is divided into three acts. Each act is further divided into many levels. The levels vary in length. Some are shorter while others can be quite long. An interesting feature is the secret areas that are dispersed throughout the levels. Those areas have different mini games and introduce us to charming and comical characters. I like the idea as it breaks the monotony.

The game boasts retro styled graphics that have a cartoonish look. The backgrounds are simple enough but well rendered. They are colorful and bright like you would expect from a typical platformer. The characters are cute anthropomorphic fruits, animals, sea creatures, etc. The artworks are basic and unadorned, but they are still fun. Overall it is reminiscent of the classic platformer game. The music on the other hand is one of the features that sets this game apart. The soundtrack is original music created by Silkworm. There are several hours of unique tracks which are rather unusual for this type of game. It is common for platformers to have very repetitive music. It is a breath of fresh air to have several original compositions and is a welcomed addition.

The story is engaging and witty. I even chuckled a couple times while playing. It is lighthearted, but surprisingly complex for this type of game. I went in with minimal expectations and was pleasantly surprised at the level of story development. The banter between the two main characters is full of humor, and breaks up the tedium of the gameplay. There is some clever repartee and I was impressed at how well-written the dialogues were. The fact that there are three different endings also adds to the uniqueness and makes The Wizard and The Slug truly distinctive.

The mechanics are not original but it is not necessarily bad. While a lot of the levels were flowing pretty well, there are some parts that are a little unbalanced. Most of the game is challenging but not impossible. There is a lot of precision involved. Several places require you to jump at exactly the right time and speed. I did find however that some “platforms” where misplaced which made it extremely hard to achieve. The awkward controls contribute to an unpleasant experience during some of the more difficult sections. If you are a fan of the popular hard as nails platformers, then you might have a different experience. The level of precision required during some specific sections could be too much for a casual player, and might lead to some frustration. Luckily there are save points at regular intervals so once you achieve the problematic jumps you will be safe.

One feature that is sorely lacking is the tutorial. It is basically non existent. You start playing the first level and get a couple of hints showing you what controls to use. That is pretty much the extent of the explanations you receive. Consequently there are some more hints for some particular mechanics but it is far in between. It is very basic which makes it harder to grasp the controls. The controller layout used is hard to decipher names for some buttons. Thankfully the controls are rebindable, but it led to some confusion initially. Once you get used to the controls, it starts being more enjoyable. However I think a game should be accessible to everyone and a thorough tutorial is essential.

The Wizard and The Slug is a humorous game featuring a whole cast of quirky and peculiar characters. Some characters appear to aid you temporarily and then disappear as fast as they arrive. I enjoyed meeting all the different characters and reading what they had to say. It made the experience much more engaging. It is an ambitious first project for the developer Silkworm. I am not sure if it is the best game to introduce someone new to the genre. On the other hand, if you like unique platformers that offer challenging gameplay that keeps you engaged, then you should give The Wizard and The Slug a try.

Written by Vee