Bits Studios unveils details of a new breed of real-time strategy blaster for the Game Boy Advance.
Although the Game Boy Advance is in its infancy, developers are already pushing the boundaries of the hardware - none more than Bits Studios, which is preparing to unleash Wizards, the first real-time strategy game with a unique twist for the system.
A follow on to Bits Studios' award winning Game Boy Color smash Warlocked, Wizards mixes RTS, arcade, platform and puzzle action to create a unique outing for up to four handheld heroes.
As Arch Wizard, the player controls a team of fantasy characters and armies in an epic quest to free the land of Talismania from the grip of evil Sorceress Kun-Mara. Players must build huge armies of magical warriors with which to wage war - against GBA-controlled armies or up to three other mates.
In single-player mode, Wizards is a story-based quest, leading gamers through Talismania - a land of divided Kingdoms, beset by feudal conflict. The adventure begins in the warm southern lands and leads to the ultimate showdown inside the Daggerfall Mountains, located far to the north.
Beyond RTS, Wizards allows players to directly control and fight with individual characters and huge armies. Enemy characters attack and defend with remarkable AI. Puzzles and scenarios within the game - such as the freeing of prisoners or the storming of bases - can be tackled in a variety of ways, with the opposing side adapting its strategy depending on the player's actions.
A choice of routes awaits the player, and various sub-quests will be offered - which, if completed, will result in special rewards. The game's multiple paths will offer plenty of replay value - and players will want to unlock each of the game's many endings.
Experience gained in the single-player mode will pay huge dividends when it comes to taking on other Wizards players. Capture the Flag, Gladiators, Dominion and Wizzball offer an astonishing array of multiplayer mayhem even on one GBA cartridge.
Wizards uses an advanced display engine to create a host of visual treats - from the furious battles between armies, to weather and magic effects. The vast player armies - up to hundreds of characters in total - are easily controlled thanks to Wizard's intuitive use of the GBA's buttons.
Wizards is scheduled for completion in the first half of next year, price and publisher to be announced.