Tweak your crazy spells in this tough, traditional roguelike wizard simulator

Rift Wizard 2 hit Steam this week, calling itself a "tough as nails traditional roguelike wizard simulator" and sporting the colorful graphics and complex pile of character builds to back that claim up.

In it, you're a powerful and immortal wizard who jumps from battle to battle across the multiverse while building up a repertoire of spells, skills, and magical artifacts that hopefully synergize into something that'll both keep you alive and defeat your nemesis at the end of the journey.

It sports a pretty dang massive pile of spells to play with as you build up your spellbook, giving you all kinds of ways to defeat a truly dizzying array of weird creatures you'll have to fight, each with their own strange rules and abilities. Rift Wizard 2 brings a big-time upgrade: Items to equip and use are now a huge part of play, and that new layer of powers and abilities makes this sequel much more on par with modern roguelikes, rather than traditional ones, when it comes to customizing your wizard.

Back in 2021 writer Alex Wiltshire took a spin with Rift Wizard and really liked what he saw: "though Rift Wizard sports simple pixel sprites that make it look like an authentic-to-a-fault take on Rogue, it's really a deeply open tactical arena battle wizard-building sim."

"In each run you zap, blast, disintegrate, bless, curse and poison your way through 25 randomly generated levels called realms, crafting your mage from a menu that currently lists 135 spells and 26 skills across 16 schools of magic (not to mention all the effects you'll find at random shrines). It's an immense arsenal," he said.

And I agree, for what it's worth, that this one's a great time and a big upgrade. Though it's still hard, the items add a layer of power fantasy that ramps up even harder than the first game.

You can find Rift Wizard 2 on Steam.

Jon Bolding is a games writer and critic with an extensive background in strategy games. When he's not on his PC, he can be found playing every tabletop game under the sun.