Mastering all the elements in Wizard of Legend is no easy task

Wizard of Legend is probably the closest we're ever going to get to a good Avatar: The Last Airbender game. It's an isometric dungeon crawler about clearing out procedurally generated labyrinths using elemental spells ranging from fists of flame and exploding boulders to ice spears and good old-fashioned lightning bolts. You play as an up-and-coming battlemage, and to make your mark in the world of wizardry, you've got to overcome the Chaos Trials and beat the masters of earth, water, and fire, not to mention all the monsters and mini-bosses in the floors between them. I've failed a few dozen times already, but I'm making steady progress, and the fast-paced, combo-driven combat keeps me coming back.

You're going to want to play Wizard of Legend with a controller. It feels a lot like a 2D brawler: you've got a basic melee attack, a dodge, and two to four flashy spells, one of which doubles as your ultimate, which is charged by racking up hits. Oddly enough, there's no mana in Wizard of Legend. Instead, all spells operate on cooldowns. Your melee attacks have no cooldown, but stronger spells can take up to 10 seconds to recharge. This makes it easy to experiment with new and different spells, but you still have to use your best ones carefully. There's nothing worse than strolling up to a perfectly clustered group of enemies, reaching for your trusty AoE, realizing it's still on cooldown, and getting dogpiled as you frantically backpedal.

You start every run with your melee, your dodge, and two spells. You set up this core loadout beforehand, and then you can purchase new spells, or upgrades for your current spells, mid-dungeon using the gold you earn by defeating enemies. However, apart from the spells you receive for defeating elemental masters, you don't keep the spells you unlock in dungeons when you die. You also lose all your gold on death. To permanently unlock spells, you need to earn chaos gems, which you can spend on new stat-boosting robes and relics, as well as new spells, back at the hub. You'll get a few chaos gems from basic enemies, but the masters and minibosses are the biggest sources. Luckily, you don't lose your gems when you die, so you're always making progress. 

This split gold-gem economy is one of my favorite things about Wizard of Legend, because for me, cumulative progress is an essential part of a good roguelike. I want to know that with every failed run I'm not only getting better at the game, I'm also unlocking stuff that I can use in future runs. In the case of Wizard of Legend, each run feels different because of the spells and relics I purchase using gold, but at the same time I'm earning permanent upgrades through gems. I can try a new spell in the labyrinth, then if I like it, I can purchase it with gems and put it in my starting loadout. I can use what I learn to improve my strategies and expand my arsenal, which is what makes Wizard of Legend so compelling.  

It helps that the spells are a delight to discover and use. I've encountered five of six elements so far—earth, water, fire, wind, and lightning—and there's a ton of variety between them. I started off with a mix of wind and ice spells: a quick three-jab wind melee, a breezy dash which damages enemies I move through, a spread of icicles thrown in a wide arc, and surging glaciers which travel in a straight line (and bounce around the room when my ult is charged). Then I discovered the Blazing Lariat, a circular AoE which wrecks shit like late-night Mexican food. After that fateful encounter, I started using fire spells like small homing fireballs and, of course, one big-ol' classic fireball. 

Before long, I was a full-fledged avatar, stunning foes with lightning, pummeling them with boulders, pinning them to walls with ice spears, blasting them into pits with tornadoes, and reducing them to ashes with all manner of fireballs. Using multiple elements is generally the way to go because it lets you exploit enemy weaknesses. Elements have a rock-paper-scissors thing going on, meaning certain elements are strong against, and weak to, certain elements. Each elemental master is preceded by two dungeon floors, and the enemies on those floors share their master's element. In other words, if you've got nothing but fire spells, you'll blast through the earth floors, but you'll also struggle on ice and fire floors. 

After a few painfully short runs, I also learned to make better use of robes and relics. I was constantly struggling with healing in the early stages, but once I unlocked a robe that increases my critical hit chance and a relic that heals me on crit, I was able to dive deeper than ever. I've beaten all three elemental masters individually, but I've yet to beat them all in one go. The order you fight them in changes every run, and the deeper they are, the harder they get. The earth master, for instance, uses different and faster attacks when you fight him on the second floor, making for a similar but tougher fight. I shudder to think what a third-floor ice master is like. I'm sure I'll find out, because I'm not going to uninstall Wizard of Legend anytime soon. If you want to try it for yourself, you can get it on Steam, GOG or Humble for $16.