What do you get when you combine mandrake root, a ruby, and a suspicious red potion? How about eye of newt, a glowing green gemstone, and a foul yellow liquid? To be honest, I can’t really remember, but whatever it is, you’re sure to be delightfully surprised the with new powers you gain in Waltz of the Wizard, a new experience out on Steam that promises to make you feel like you’ve stepped into a Hogwarts potion class.
All you need is an HTC Vive and a penchant for exploration as you interact with uncountable objects in your medieval tower laboratory, which contains everything from a pint-size crossbow that lets you get into all sorts of mischief, to a magical glockenspiel—that when played correctly whisks you away to a number of alternate dimensions.
Waltz of the Wizard, a project from Iceland-based Twisted Realms developer Aldin Dynamics, is begging to be developed into a full game with more realms to explore and more potions to mix. Despite the lack of any clear story line, it presents an unbelievably rich landscape in a relatively small room footprint, showing a level of intention and craftsmanship that’s on par with many paid games and experiences out now for Vive.
With magical powers at your behest, it’s easy to spend the better part of an hour mixing potions and transmuting golden coins into butterflies, or puppeteering your magical sidekick around the room—a talking skull that helps you (and scolds you) along the way.
While the experience is clearly in need of a story line, you can’t help but marvel at your newfound ability to master the arcane, something VR fans have been craving since the DK1 days. If you’re looking for a new room-scale experience to show friends and family, you should probably snap this one up immediately for the low low price of absolutely free.
Just make sure you have enough room to play at your arcane workbench, because the only way of moving around the room is on your own two feet—something that it slightly regretful considering the numerous enchanted items laying far out of reach on shelves across the room. More than once I banged my controllers against the wall in what (I hate to say it) I can firmly say is real presence.
Aldin Dynamics has been developing VR games and experiences since 2013. Their most recent project, Ghostline Analytics, a yet unreleased tool suite that is designed to “generate interactive recordings of users within VR worlds,” was extensively used in the making of the of Waltz of the Wizard to improve the design and interactivity of the experience. According to Aldin, Ghostline lets you “browse sessions using conventional screens, or step into them in virtual reality to evaluate content alongside your users.”
We’ll be keeping an eye on Aldin for whatever their magicians can conjure up next.