In Sorcery you play as a sorcerer’s apprentice Finn, who has an eye for mischief. One day while his boss is out Finn decides it would be fun to steal a wand and see what he is capable of. Accompanied by the magical cat Erline, Finn steals a wand a drinks a potion that grants him mastery of arcane bolt, his very first spell. As his first order of business Finn sets off for some nearby caves. Unfortunately while Finn and Erline are away nightmare literally descends on the Faery Kingdom, in the form of The Nightmare Queen, and it falls to Finn and Erline to rid the Faery Kingdom of The Nightmare Queen’s menace once and for all.
There are plenty of context-sensitive controls too. To open up treasure chests and mend broken objects you move the controller in a circular motion when prompted. Sometimes you’ll come across objects blocking your way which can be moved by flicking the controller sideways, opening up the path again. Finn can also create potions by mixing together three items from his inventory. You use the Move to grind, pour and sprinkle ingredients into a cauldron and then stir them until they’re ready. It’s fun to prepare potions this way, and will likely appeal to younger players.
No journey would be complete without treasure, and there’s plenty to find in Sorcery. Although your path through the game is mostly linear, there are times where the path branches, and there’s plenty of treasure to be found when you explore these paths. There are a few puzzles in the game, often hiding treasure, but the puzzles are straightforward enough that players of all ages will figure them out.
As far as enemies go there isn’t a whole lot of variety, and what’s there is a bit clichéd. There are plenty of skeletons, the standard sword-wielding variety as well as others with shields or bows. You’ll also face off against a stack of trolls with clubs, glyphs who are exceptionally fast fairy-type enemies and an abundance of spiders. These four enemy types make up most of the game, aside from bosses. Speaking of bosses you’ll get to fight a banshee, an ice troll, an assassin as well as the Nightmare Queen herself. These battles are tougher than regular enemy fights, but once you know what to do none of them are especially difficult to take down.
Sorcery is a game that seems tailored to a younger audience, from little kids up to young teenagers. That does help explain some of its weaker areas, though not totally. Issues I had with the game include the monotony of combat, a distinct lack of variety in spells, particularly combination spells, as well as a mildly frustrating camera and too few enemy types.
Sorcery also seems unsure whether it wants to be on-rails, or let you guide Finn through the world. Currently you guide Finn around manually, but on plenty of occasions you’ll be unable to target an enemy unless you’re standing in ‘the right’ spot, i.e. wherever the game wants you to be. The camera doesn’t help things as it zooms in on a specific enemy, regardless of what you might want. Sometimes you’ll be halfway through defeating one enemy before the camera twists and focuses on a new enemy, making it impossible for you to finish the first enemy off. Younger players probably won’t mind these issues, but for older players it makes the game repetitive and dull only an hour or two in.
Sound is strongest area of the game, with excellent (for the most work) voice-acting, atmospheric music and appropriate effects. Much of the story is revealed mid-level by conversations between Finn and Erline. Both of these characters are voiced well, and they add the right amount of feeling to their lines. The elemental effects of your spells all sound as you’d expect, and while they won’t win any awards they fit in well. The music does a great job of building the atmosphere, be it sinister, light-hearted or somewhere in between.
When you consider the target audience for Sorcery is likely to be young kids, it’s hard to be too critical of its failings. Although the combat becomes repetitive quickly and the camera is a nuisance, younger players will be too busy having fun to notice. At around five hours Sorcery doesn’t outstay its welcome (though it similarly lacks depth and replayability) and should keep younger players entertained for a day or two. I’d suggest older players look elsewhere, which is a shame for a game that seemed full of promise when announced two years ago, but if you have a young child and a Move controller, Sorcery might be just the game for them.
Review By: Mike Allison