When Spacetime Studios first revealed their newest game earlier in the month I thought it was as ambitious a project as had been attempted on the platform. Not happy with putting out just any old Massively Multiplayer Online RPG, Spacetime Studios assumed the challenge of delivering it in 3D. And it is fortunate they did, as Pocket Legends [iPhone] and [iPad] has been a huge hit since its release a couple of weeks back.

Pocket Legends puts you in direct control of one of three classes; the warrior bear, the archer hawk or the elven enchantress/mage/healer. Diehard purists will maintain that Pocket Legends isn't technically an MMORPG, on account of its use of instances to tell the story instead of a massive, open world. In fact, there isn't much here that could be called a story either, merely a yarn spun to connect the action and game worlds together.

That may seem a criticism, but to its credit Pocket Legends does not take itself very seriously, telling its tale in a few short lines each chapter and darting comfortably between zombies, moronic knights, bling and beer. The models and animations are brought fluidly to life in 3D with a range of attack animation effects and clever emotes to boot. In fact, an array of great looking weapon and equipment models, from a spiked club to a claymore, often belies the fact that you are playing a handheld MMO.

The game's camera can be zoomed and rotated by on-screen swipes and gestures, and the characters are controlled via a virtual analogue stick. Enemies are targeted by either pressing the Attack button to target the nearest or physically tapping them on-screen. This system does take some getting used to, but it ultimately offers the best of both worlds and allowing easy target switching. Naturally, Pocket Legends features a complete loot and inventory system as well as a number of excellently thought out skills that are progressively unlocked. Curiously, the only area where the interface is lacking is active trading between players, a feature scheduled to arrive 'soon'.

Pocket Legends is free to download, but the game plays like a Lite with in-app purchase level packs. The free portion allows you to reach level 13 for free but then you need to buy additional level packs to continue earning experience points. The included Forest Haven Campaign is one of four currently available (with another on its way soon), and the only one able to be played freely. Each pack has a different objective, with the other 3 packs costing $1.99 each and offering a variety of increasingly challenging enemies to excel your character to the current maximum level of 25.

Other in-app items available for purchase through iTunes include:

  • An extra character slot beyond the default 2, available for $0.99;
  • A skill and attribute re-roll for $1.99;
  • 2 emote books, each with 4 whacky emotes with special effects for $0.99 each;
  • Gold Purchases in bundles of 500, 2500 and 5000, ranging from $0.99 to $4.99; and
  • An assortment of class-specific items and item packs, the first pack which has been released for the archer for $1.99, and a solitary bow costing $0.99.
  • A minor criticism I had of the purchasable campaigns at release is that they seemed to largely recycle the textures in the first campaign. Fortunately, future level packs seem more varied, with snow and swamp themed add-ons nearing completion.

    With regard to Pocket Legends' gameplay, it is wondrous that the iPhone can produce a comparable level of character progression and skill usage that traditionally only a PC game could evoke. From personal experience as a lowly Archer with only an auto-attack, I found myself only several hours later blasting at multiple targets with new friends, frantically stringing together sequences of buffs and debuffs in large-scaled boss-like encounters. In this respect, Pocket Legends is the type of game that can be rather monotonously if soloing, but as soon as other players are added, becomes a challenging, exciting, team-oriented affair that requires you to really look out for each other.

    The instanced gameplay actually assists this whole process, as players are constantly joining your games almost as soon as they are created. This is thanks to the easy-to-identify game list that is presented to players as soon as they enter the game (though I did have slight difficulty getting people to join a DLC game). Furthermore, a detailed friends list keeps track of those players you have befriended in the past and informs you when they are online, allowing you to rejoin them if room permits.

    For some, however, the demand of paid level packs every 5-10 levels may simply be too much. But for those willing, Pocket Legends is an extremely rewarding experience that has easily provided me with some of the best online gameplay on the iPhone to date. There are innumerable hours to pour into this game, with the current level cap of 25 requiring whole days of gameplay to reach. What's more, Spacetime Studios have already releasing two updates since launch which have added to both the existing free and paid content in the form of additional levels and items.

    Reader impressions that have collected in our forums over the past few weeks have been largely positive. Pocket Legends plays on 2nd generation devices and up, and has a separate, High Definition iPad version available.

    App Store Link: Pocket Legends (3D MMO), Pocket Legends for iPad (3D MMO), Free (With In-App Purchases).

TouchArcade Rating

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  • http://digg.com WhoCares

    This game is great but when I learned I would have to keep plunking down money every so often for more levels I stopped playing before I became to engrossed. That's nothing against the game or the model - it's just me being consciously cheap.

    • MrMuesli

      haha, +1. I also felt that the very generous free map had shown pretty much the whole game and as such I didn't feel compelled to pay for what I suspected might be more of the same. Fun while it lasted though: ) Very VERY well presented!

      • Trent Reznor

        +2
        it's really too bad, I was enjoying the game, I'm just not goin to waste money like that

  • http://myspace.com/raveinglunatics Nefhril

    This is an awesome game I have been playing this game about 3-5 hours everyday for over a week now, it's so addictive. This is what I have been waiting for, a MMO in my pocket. :D

    Think the pricing is fair if we get a new dungeon pack every week that’s like 7 bucks a month and that’s not much, I would gladly pay an extra $7 for extra content a month.

  • Noman

    I am so addicted to this game! I'm about to hit level 13 and I fully intend on buying the next level pack and continuing my adventure. So much better than imo IMO. (been saving that one for weeks ;)

  • _ck

    It's a fantastic game, and the developers are hard at work to improve it. Just this week there have been three server-side updates alone that fix bugs, added new levels and weapons etc. and they have a very nice long list of things they want to add to the game, like quests, trading, PvP, guilds and much more. Those who were too cheap and jumped ship are going to seriously miss out once they are able to implement these things.

  • Robert

    Players should no gain advantages by spending real life money. That system is flawed. Money should be spent perhaps for new texture or graphic customization (same weapon different skin), and other things, but nothing to provide advantage. It takes away some of the reward fun! As bad as it is, it is far worse for games that do this when they have pvp.

    • _ck

      Players don't gain any advantage by paying. The vast majority of the best weapons, armor, etc. can't be bought. You can buy gold with real money, but the store doesn't sell the best weapons either, they can only be had by either getting them dropped to you, or by trading (which will be implemented soon).

      The only real advantage, if you want to call it that, is being able to respec, but it's not like you're really gain THAT much doing it, you just rearrange your skills.

      • :o

        Have you had a look through the In-App purchases? You can buy various "Enchanted" weapons with real money, for each class, as well as armour. Weapons that do FIRE damage too.

      • http://www.Twitter.com/thewindburn Peter L.

        ck is right here, and it's something maybe I should have been clearer on.
        You can't buy the best items from the store, even those fire weapons you refer to are nowhere near the pink and purple legendary weapons found as drops. They're more just a helpful boost for anyone struggling, an equivalent of which can be found by playing in no-time.

      • anjinash

        You can buy stat re-rolls too, so yes.. it's possible for those forking out extra real-world cash to gain unfair advantages.

  • Jerry

    "Diehard purists will maintain that Pocket Legends isn't technically an MMORPG, on account of its use of instances to tell the story instead of a massive, open world."

    Anythone who understands 5 isn't a massive number will maintain it to. Why do people call instanced games MASSIVE? Why can't they just be called Multiplayer Online RPGs?

    • http://www.mentation.nl/thanatist/ Thaurin

      I agree. I suppose it's the lobby area, where maybe 20 people can chat with each other? ;) Stuff like Guild Wars gets called massive, but really it's not. On the other hand, MMOs are characterized with regular content updates in one form or another and in that regard Pocket Legends and Guild Wars do qualify.

      Pocket Legends does have much of the same atmosphere of an MMORPG.

    • http://www.Twitter.com/thewindburn Peter L.

      I still think this is a moot point that people just love to harp on. So long as I have access to a massive volume of players-- and over the course of a game with people coming and going I may well have-- I see no reason why it shouldn't adopt a classification that is more a marketing tool than anything else. It's not like you have to prearranged teams or try connect to specific people to get a game going.

      When you're in town, there certainly isn't just a 'few' people there, and when trading comes in, there will actually be reason to go there.

      Just remember too that the term came about before there was any differentiation between instanced and non instanced gameplay (it's why the term isn't Massive Open-World Online RPG). That's something that people are trying to apply retrospectively. Pocket Legends offers a hub for a massive amount of people to instantly play online with each other--that should be enough.

      • Jerry

        "I see no reason why it shouldn't adopt a classification that is more a marketing tool than anything else."

        The reason is it makes people think its a MMORPG and its not. I was really excited to hear an actually MASSIVE game was on the iPhone. Marketing people shouldn't mislead people just to make money. The terms are that complicated to understand.

  • http://micro Yuggle

    The game is very samey.

    That and knowing each level pack is another $2 turns me off.

  • Roland

    Brilliant game it reminds me of Runescape but for Itouch and i am MEGA ADDICTIED i find myself on it at like 10pm at night just relising that all the time has gone..... Lucky its Easter Holidays i cant wait to buy the next upgrade pack and im in a good level lvl 9 Encattess and lvl12 Archer!
    Add me xxRolandxx and xxRolandoxx

  • Chevs

    They just released some info on their site saying they put the restat price down to .99....

    I just feel like you have to pay a little to get a good product. There's what? 3 map packs right now @ 1.99 a piece? That's 6 dollars to play to level 25?? Doesn't really seem like too bad a price to me seeing as I've bought some terrible 4.99-5.99 games...

  • Loading...

    2nd gen and up? I'm first gen and it still works fine.

  • QNTM

    Really nice game, BUT it really need a PVP...
    - at least an area where minimum 10 players can fight against each others (guild war, etc)

    PVP is normally a huge part of a mmo....

  • br!an

    Sorry for the gripe...

    It's: "GOOD things come in small packages", not "BIG things come in small packages".

    • http://www.Twitter.com/thewindburn Peter L.

      Right you are, but remember it's also not 'pocket sizes'. I just wanted to infer the size of the endeavour and accomplishment, whilst not being entirely cliched. I appreciate your vigilance though!

  • dk206

    This game runs on my first ever bought ipod touch (1g) too
    :D

    I tried playing with my 3gs and itouch together in one room!!! :D

    this game is awesome btw.

    now Blizzard get ur asses moving.
    It is possible and hell you're gunna get paid shizzleloads mini WoW bring it!!!

  • Roland

    EPIC
    Needs more things though
    1. PVP or Guild Arenas
    2. Clans would be nice
    3. More Free Monsters
    4. More Items

  • NomNom

    This game is fun and all, but I have a question:

    Why is it that you hate ngmoco for their DLC in games, but not this company?

  • Tony

    I'm absolutely hooked on this game! I prolly play for about 3 to 4 hours a day. I liike the fact that they keep adding new levels.

  • http://www.bolehland.net Dan

    loving it to bits!

  • Dave

    Awsome game ! Only thing I would like too see is some new looks on characters especially the enchantress and also maybe add another character to the list aswell otherwise greatjob!

  • http://toucharcade.com/2010/04/16/pocket-legends-review-proving-that-big-things-do-come-in-pocket-sizes/ Eric

    I got banned from the game , but this game is very cool

  • http://toucharcade.com/2010/04/16/pocket-legends-review-proving-that-big-things-do-come-in-pocket-sizes/ Eric

    How do you get un-banned
    :)

    • Meow

      Might want to politely contact the developers.

  • violentsaint

    one word PVP!

    this week pocket legends is releasing player vs player deathmatch

    i am currently at the lvl cap with the best gear and cant wait to own some noobs.

    if ur unsure about purchasing extra dungeon packs, maybe my review can change your mind.

    http://www.apptism.com/apps/pocket-legends-3d-mmo/reviews/7919

  • kiinq

    Hey whocares can u send me (or someone other) your pw and ure nick if u don't Play anymore?, send it me to kiinqszdaah@Yahoo.de
    The Prob is i'm banned cause of racism shit against me, and spacetime tells me just "its Ure fault", i wanna play this game so badly :D

    Greetz from germany

  • Laquint

    This game is great i am lvl 24 i bought all map contents and some frosty armor i really want to be able to custimize my avatar thats what this game lacks because we all look the same..Warrior's suck! Mage's never revive people..And archer's stand in the back and don't fight till everyones dead..

  • Umfry

    This game is really good

    the pricing got better after the platinum thing

    there are a few stupid deals that drain unnecessary money though, especially in the content map packs, do some math and browsing and u will save urself some money

    a feature that really should of been implemented is the ability to give platinum to other players or trade equipment or in-game money for platinum

  • Fffffffff

    g

  • Alekstowne

    U should also get an app called Haypi Kingdom its fun and when you sign up please put my name as your referal its Shiloh927

  • Ulolzkabitch

    you are such a dumbshit