The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
The original Battleheart was one of the first titles that convinced me to start paying closer attention to the new era of mobile gaming. Its challenging combat and RPG flavor kept me engaged in the same way that many console and PC titles do. For that reason, I was excited to finally see Mika Mobile’s follow-up. Set 500 years later in the same cutesy fantasy universe, Battleheart Legacy maintains the touch-based combat mechanics, but opts for a single hero instead of a party of adventurers. It loses some of the frantic multitasking that made the original so engaging, but adds a straightforward narrative and a more robust class and skill system that focuses on customization.
While narrative-based quests and NPCs are undoubtedly a part of the equation, it’d be a stretch to call what unfolds a real story, except in the barest approximation of the word. You’re a wandering hero, there are monsters causing problems, and the king needs a few artifacts retrieved. The game rarely gets more complicated than that, which would be fine if there was a steady stream of quests to carry you forward. Unfortunately, more often than not, my only reason to visit a given location on the map is because it matches my current level – it’s a shame that there’s not more context. A deeper quest chain would be welcome, especially because it might prevent players from wandering aimlessly on the map looking for an appropriate fight. Even so, a steady stream of fourth-wall-breaking humor helps to elicit some smiles, even if the jokes are never really enough to merit a laugh.
Once inside a location, the game takes on a classic dungeon-crawl vibe. Your hero enters a room to confront a group of enemies, and clever deployment of your timer-dependent skills is key to victory, along with the need to recognize which enemies need to be taken out first and which should be avoided until last. It’s a simple, tap-happy experience – especially once you have a full bank of abilities to utilize. Battles can get challenging as the game goes on, demanding you pay close attention to your health bar if you don’t want to start a site over. Even with careful monitoring, some cheap deaths are inevitable because the game doesn’t always do a great job of matching your level to the dungeons.
The flexible class and leveling system is the spotlight feature for Battleheart Legacy, providing all sorts of interesting skills to mix and match. By improving your ability scores, like strength and endurance, you unlock access to skills from no less than 12 distinct classes. Each of these classes has its own list of around a dozen skills to master, and you can mix and match to your heart’s content. Want a ninja/necromancer? How about a holy paladin with the lyric skills of a bard? While not every combo is advisable, there’s nothing to stop you from trying out options. Add in a broad variety of weapons, armor, and power-boosting accessories, and it’s easy to craft a fantasy hero to your liking. After game completion, there’s even an option to keep developing your skills in a new-game-plus mode.
Unlocking the many abilities can be a bit of a grind, but the charming visuals and silly humor soften the blow. And it’s hard to go too wrong with the classic formula of wandering a map confronting a host of monsters. Mika Mobile has crafted a lengthy and uncomplicated action/RPG adventure, with just enough challenge and depth to draw in gamers of all stripes.
Email the author Matt Miller, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.