Arthur DiBianca’s The Wand is about a wand, and that’s pretty much it. Ostensibly there is a story about a wizard, challenge from said wizard, and cash prize, but really it’s just about a wand. A magic wand, sure, but still, just a wand. Oh, and there’s a dragon, too.
At it’s heart The Wand is a puzzle fest style game, and a damn fine one at that. You are limited to moving, examining, and pointing the wand at things, and with just those three actions DiBianca has put together a crafty series of puzzles. (Of course there is a little bit more than that but we are in the spoiler-free section of the review.)
One of my favorite aspects of The Wand is the way you progress through the game. You see a problem here, can’t do anything about so go there. When there, of course, you find another problem. This problem, though, you know how to deal with. Solving that problem gets you more information to solve the previous problem so you go do that. The Wand constantly has you going back and forth to get more information to solve more puzzles to get more information to solve more puzzles. The game world is compact enough that this is not a chore. In fact an “Oh, I know what to do there, now,” is a great reward mechanism.
The Wand is a definite recommend for anyone interested in a solid puzzle game.
You can find the SPOILER-Y, and much more personal, portion of unWinnable State’s review of The Wand here.