Legends of Yore describes itself as a ‘casual roguelike’ game, which is possibly underselling it a bit. Perhaps that was true at one point, but the developer has taken the increasingly common step of releasing the game using the freemium model – releasing it for free then charging for in-game purchases. This might not sound like best behaviour; visions of broken, buggy PC titles being sneaked out onto shelves come swimming up before my very eyes. But Legends of Yore is plainly a labour of love, with the developer actively engaging with the game’s fanbase on the official forums. On one hand this is an interesting experiment; like Minecraft, the game seems to exist in a period of perpetual beta testing, with issues and improvements being constantly crowd-sourced and addressed. On the other hand (and again Minecraft springs to mind) the game is absolutely and utterly worth paying for as it stands today.
The visuals are charming if functional; all chunky pixels and primary colours packed with character. Animation is non-existant; the game doesn’t need it. likewise, I had turned the sound off within minutes of play. The appeal of the game lies in guiding your character through random dungeon after random dungeon, slaying hundreds – thousands – of enemies, grinding your experience along towards the next level, and hunting down equipment from bosses. It’s simple, addictive, and infused with just enough strategy to ensure that boredom doesn’t set in. Players choose a character class at the start of a new game, with the warrior class providing the entry point for beginners, and the Wizard call aimed at seasoned veterans (with the Archer the intermediate class). Combat is straightforward, with attacking achieved by tapping on your target; but there’s strategy involved in positioning your character, especially if you’re using one of the weaker ranged combat classes. Smartly, the game gives you the chance to add on a new class to your character once you reach a certain level, providing new strategies and means by which to smite your foes. And you will be doing a lot of smiting, so that’s lovely.
Over time however, the dungeon crawling – though ostensibly the core of the game – has been supplemented by the addition of an extensive overworld . As a result Legends of Yore is starting to look like a full-fledged RPG, with quests, secret dungeons, hidden bosses and skills to unlock. However, what’s really satisfying is watching the gameworld expand; it’s wonderful to find that what was a dead-end in the previous update now leads you to a whole new area, with new NPCs and challenges. Add in innovative and welcome features like hardcore and perma-death modes and cloud save game storage, it’s an essential purchase for anyone with an RPG sweet-tooth.
Graphics 3/5: Functional in the extreme; but do exactly as much as is required.
Sound 3/5: A collection of squawks and blips that you’ll probably want to mute; some lovely chip-tunes though.
Gameplay 4/5: Simple, satisfying dungeon crawling and monster-bashing, combined with a rudimentary, though ever-expanding, RPG overworld.
Longevity 3/5: The randomised dungeons provide potentially infinite short bursts of gameplay, but it’s the exploration and development of your own character that’ll keep you coming back.
Overall 4 out of 5
Legends of Yore is that rare thing: an Android game with real lasting appeal and depth (the iOS version is stable, but often far behind in terms of updates). It’s also an investment in a developer who appears committed to creating something rather ambitious and special.