Not even the greatest wizard could break the curse that’s placed on this hidden object game.
In A Wizard’s Curse, you play as a young magic apprentice who gets tasked with tracking down a brilliant and insane master wizard as he wanders the countryside turning people into stone. It’s a cool idea in theory, but one that falls incredibly short in execution, and coupled with short, repetitive, and uninspired gameplay, this is one hidden object adventure whose spell has not only been broken, but damaged beyond repair.
Whatever attempt at a story the game tries to convey is told through simple blocks of text, over the same still image of your character walking off into the fog. A Wizard’s Curse is repetitive to the core, with the same basic formula for all parts of the game: move to new area, get stopped by a magical barrier, make potion to get past it, rinse and repeat. This formula occurs three or four times throughout your adventure and then the game is over.
The potions themselves and the ingredients you need to make them are just plain ridiculous, and any form of logic is thrown out the window for the game’s adventuring portions. At least it’s good to know that if I ever want to make an “Invisible Bridge Potion,” all I need to find is a soggy acorn.
The hidden object scenes are lifeless and dull, and players will be forced to complete each of them multiple times and find the same lists of objects, all in the same places. This also results in needless backtracking to previous areas on the map at random intervals, whenever the developers ran out of ideas for adventure puzzles to program.
Some of the adventure locations are horribly underutilized, with maybe one interactive area to be had out of the whole screen. I will give them credit that a few of the 15 or so total locations are nicely drawn, especially the bright and sunny ones outdoors.
There are a whopping total of 3 puzzles in A Wizard’s Curse (it was hard, but I counted), and each one is less interesting than the last. But boring or not, the game still manages to completely miss the mark on some of the most basic fundamental concepts of a hidden object adventure. For instance, none of the puzzles give you any instructions on how to complete them, and there isn’t even an option to start a puzzle over from scratch. After boxing myself into an irreversible corner on a block-moving puzzle, and realizing that backing out of the puzzle did nothing to reset it, I had no other option than to flat out skip it and move on in my quest.
If I had to choose, there were maybe two somewhat decent moments in A Wizard’s Curse. The first is in the opening minutes of the game, when your character has been buried alive by the master wizard, and you have to help him find a way out. The second is when you need to shoot down an item from a high tree branch using a slingshot, and the game has you dragging your mouse to line up a crosshairs and take the shot. But just the fact that I even have to mention something as infinitesimal as shooting a slingshot should let you know I’m really stretching to find some positives here.
I completed the entire game in well under 40 minutes, and there’s literally nothing else to do once you are done. The cheap attempt at a cliffhanger ending felt incredibly shallow, because anyone who actually makes it that far in the game will have absolutely no desire to play anything else in this dull and monotonous world. I never knew a story could be summed up so immediately out of nowhere either. In the end, A Wizard’s Curse feels like a shoddy demo at best, and it’s a 40 minutes of my life that I will sadly never get back. If only I could make some kind of potion to reverse the time I spent playing it.