In reviewing mobile games, I’ve always tried to be careful with the disclaimer “for a mobile game.” This is because I truly believe that mobile games, when done well, can offer the same kind of experience that traditional titles can. More than believe, I know this because I’ve seen it.
Judging Battleheart: Legacy by those standards, I admit that I was initially quite disappointed by it.
Battleheart: Legacy is an action RPG that places you in the role of a guy or girl of no particular origin, on their journey through a pretty standard world of magic, kingdoms and evil, and places them on a quest to do nothing of special merit.
Yes, Legacy is an RPG that is incredibly light on story, to the point where you may not believe one exists at all when you first start playing it. There is an overall plot of sorts, and plenty of side stories along the way, but don’t expect anything in the same league as the golden age RPGs from Squaresoft.
Instead Battleheart: Legacy is an RPG that places its focus on the gameplay. It’s a very simple gameplay system that consists largely of using touch controls to tap your way around the map, while letting an auto attack mechanic dish out basic attacks upon your foes, while you manage your various special attacks and their standard cool-down periods. Throw in some leveling up, looting and equipment upgrades, and you probably have a pretty good idea what you’re in for.
And that’s the biggest problem with Battleheart: Legacy’s opening periods. It’s a game that devoid of greatness. Everything in it just seemed so standard, and even plain. There’s no feeling of greater purpose, and things like world navigation are handled by maneuvering an arrow around the game map, going to a landmark, and seeing what the recommended level is for the enemies there is.
You’ll want to pay heed to those levels to, as the mostly automatic nature of the combat system means venturing outside of your level range is just asking for insta-death. This can be quite annoying, as even in areas at or below your level, you’ll constantly find yourself swarmed by rooms of enemy mobs (the game is in love with mobs) and just slowly taking them down while drinking your potions to stay alive until the next room.
There’s little to the raw combat system in terms of strategy. At times it feels like the child’s game where you put shaped blocks in the appropriate holes. Trying to enter even a slightly higher level area is like putting a triangle shape in a square hole. It just won’t work. On the other hand entering at the proper level is like putting a square shape into a square hole. It works, but it’s not very satisfying.
In fact, I wasn’t really satisfied with much Battleheart: Legacy was offering. For the first five levels or so, I would most generously describe it as lazy, or generic.
But then, I began to dive into the skill system.
The skill system of Battleheart: Legacy isn’t necessarily unique, but it’s very, very well done. There are twelve skill classes spread throughout the game (some are available from the start, and some are hidden), and over 150 individual skills spread throughout. Each focus on certain attributes over others, but it’s quite possible to delve deep within the skill trees of a few different practices at one time. This leads to interesting class combinations such as my preferred necromancer ninja, who isn’t too shabby with the arts of the battlemage.
The skills themselves are also quite entertaining, and begin to really open up the combat system. There is always an element of stats pulling the strings behind the scenes, but being able to weave together the variety of abilities in order to create a combat approach to your liking, goes a long way to breathing some fresh air into the otherwise mundane approach.
Also, while the story itself is barely there, the dialog of the game is actually quite good. There’s a lot of tongue-in-cheek humor, and plenty of moments where you get to dictate the course of action, based on your choice of words. You’ll encounter situations where bribery, flattery or good old fashioned violence will see you through to the other side, but what’s waiting when you get there may not always be the same based on your actions.
I’m also quite charmed by the game’s graphics. They’re very light-hearted and “cartoony” but appealing nonetheless. It reminds me a lot of Super Mario RPG, in that it’s a game that rarely takes itself seriously, but is constantly enjoyable nonetheless.
Although admittedly, it is a bit of a shame the music doesn’t fare as well. It’s decent enough, but the only times you really notice it is when a song that just doesn’t fit the moment starts playing. It’s at odds with the rest of the experience.
But ultimately, what really won me over about Battleheart is it’s fun factor. This is a game that’s perfectly designed to be played in 20-30 minute bursts, but is still worthy of 50+ hours of gameplay, and packs depth in key areas. It is a little annoying that the general simplicity of the game holds it back from being something greater, but as an RPG you pick up when you can, and forget about it when you must, it serves its role nicely.
If you’re looking for a grand RPG that could be described as truly great, look towards the Baldur’s Gate II remake or one of the Trese Brothers games. However, if it’s a pick up and play RPG that captures the sensation of a full-fledged role playing game, if not the exact type of experience, you are looking for, then download Battleheart: Legacy without hesitation.
Is it Hardcore?
While hardly an epic that will join the pantheon of RPG greats, Battleheart: Legacy is one of the most entertaining mobile role playing games available today.