Borderlands Legends [$4.99 / $6.99] hit the New Zealand App Store very early this morning, and we've got our greasy mitts all over this game. Unfortunately, once you get it on your device, all the strange things 2K was doing like revealing the game in a strategy guide starts to make a lot of sense as the game is just not good. The best way to describe it is by likening it to the "GameBoy version" of popular video games, and anyone alive in the 80's should know exactly what I mean.

If not, the trend at the time was to take popular IP, and due to either the limitations of the platform or due to development budget restraints, water it down to the point that the only recognizable elements that remain is the name on the box and the characters used inside the game. That's certainly the case here, as they've removed basically everything we like about Borderlands games in exchange for... Having a game on the App Store with "Borderlands" in the title, I guess.

We'll have a full review of the game up to coincide with the US launch at 11:00 PM Eastern tonight, but it's not looking good. In the meantime, you can join the launch day party in our forums where initial impressions are similarly not positive.

International App Store Links: Borderlands Legends, $4.99, Borderlands Legends HD, $6.99

  • CrispyBread

    Might try this out.

  • runliketurtles

    XCOM style? I wish. This game is nothing like XCOM. A turn-based tactical squad shooter Borderlands would have been awesome. This just looks bad...

  • bramblett05

    Cracked me up when y'all talked about borderlands 2 on the 2nd stage or 2nd part.maybe if they offer it for free ill get it but ill gladly pass on this.

  • dariusjr98

    I will add this to my AppShopper watch list and wait for an update and/or price drop. I'm not gonna give up hope on it just yet.

    • Greyskull

      Forget about the name, and forget the game. The "gameboy versions" mentioned also applied to games based on movies and comic books until, hmm, maybe the PS2 with few exceptions (there was a good Marvel game on the Genesis). The publishers expect consumers to purchase the game based on the IP alone; churning out trash in the process...after all, why make a quality game when people will buy anything you slap together? It got really crazy in the '80s/early 90's...there was a Bird on a Wire (movie starring Goldie Hawn) game...the California Raisins had a couple of games...the Dominos Pizza Noid had a game or two...even the SPOT on cans of 7-UP (or was it Sprite?) had a game. A spot. From a soda can. Christ almighty. While you debate buying this game, I'll be playing Hudson Hawk. Right after I beat the Kool-Aid man game for my Atari 2600 I never finished.

      • ducksFANjason

        You were right, it was 7-Up. And even as a 7 year old, I knew that garbage should never touch my Genesis.

  • ImJPaul

    This is so disappointing. I was so excited for this game. :-(

    • SoyGreen

      I'm with you 100%... THANK GOODNESS for the video... I'd have dropped the full $7 on the iPad version of this... Wallet has been spared tonight!

  • MarkyMarc

    Thanks for saving me a little $ TA.

  • JJE

    How sad. Unfortunately it seems that currently AAA houses view mobile as nothing more than a marketing platform. Of course it looks rushed, it was. Gotta cash in on that B2 buzz while its hot. This is extremely disappointing and makes me worry about IB-D which is kind of the same thing. The future of iOS gaming remains in the hands of indies and single IP houses.
    Borderlands Legends is 2K Games saying, "You want fries with dat?"

    • MrAlbum

      While I can see this trend you pointed out, there are many AAA games that are far more than marketing ploys. Thus, I see no reason for such a blanket statement condemning all AAA games. Have you seen the review for Need For Speed: Most Wanted? Have you seen the review for The World Ends With You?

      You're not wrong that some AAA games on mobile are marketing gimmicks. However, you are wrong that ALL AAA games on mobile are marketing gimmicks. That's my $0.02.

    • macatron

      I agree with both of you. The thing that really blows my mind about these kind of "tie in" games, though, are all of the missed opportunities most (not all) AAA devs are just leaving on the table. With graphic engines like Unity and Unreal Engine 3 available (and doing quite well) on mobile platforms, it's really hard for me to understand why more, big name, devs aren't stepping into the foray. I'm very positive that, with the right team in place, a true, mobile, version of Borderlands could be made that would at least bare resemblance to its bigger brother. Sure, it wouldn't have ALL of the bells and whistles of the superior PC/console variant, but it would still be a capable FPS nonetheless. Thoughts??

      • JJE

        MrAlbum,
        NFS/MW is a simple mechanic, drive/brake/boost rinse & repeat. The cars look lovely with moderate customization, but I noticed frame rate and environment blockiness. This from a company that has experience in non console/PC gaming. That said BV purports to manage your four troops in a brand new IP. You saw where simply trying to move them was a chore. It's not like unit load outs and command control are new iOS concepts. They either chose not to or, more likely, ran out of time. Hello, marketing.
        Damn you for making me defend SqE but their mobile strategy is porting existing old IP to mobile. TWEWY is my JRPG game of the year for trying to reimagine how the touch environment works. Still, it's a port of a handheld game and not a new IP like BV. SqE at least has a clue and I will now go back to hating on them over their pricing.

        Macatron,
        I do want all the bells and whistles or at least as much as my current h'ware will give me. My current platform of choice, a tablet, will in a couple of years will have more power than any desktop/console you can get at Best Buy today. I want developers to be laying the groundwork for it. As it is now ill be expected to enjoy Angry Birds at my local MickeyD's with BurgerBirds. Such wonderful social interactive augmented excitement; such BS!

        The OFAP wants his excitement now. I just lived through a hurricane, got mortality on my mind.

      • MrAlbum

        Infinity Blade's a new AAA IP that did well enough to have a sequel. RAGE HD came out before RAGE did, so it was the start of a new IP. Horn and Dark Meadow are AAA games AND new IPs. Chaos Rings is a AAA JRPG franchise exclusively for mobile.

        All of these did very well on iOS devices, and many are considered classics.

        My point still stands.

        I know that a lot of AAA games on iOS are ports. When a port is awesome, like with TWEWY, it brings to mind an old saying I got from a liner note for a CD collection of music from The Byrds (somewhat paraphrased):

        "Your version of someone else's great song is always better than your crappy original song."

        Considering The Byrds are best well-known for two cover songs, "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season)", the philosophy did well for them.

        I think this idea can be loosely adapted to gaming as follows: If one has the choice of doing a port of a classic or doing a terrible new IP, it might be better to do the port so that the dev's reputation does not get sullied by bad IPs. New stuff is awesome, but if that new stuff isn't any good, then the new stuff will get panned and send the devs into the poor house.

        Something tells me this is exactly what happened to the Fable series: the IP just wasn't very good, although the games had a lot of new ideas and concepts. As a result, the series tanked by the time the third installment came, and sullied the reputation of Peter Molyneux to gamers and the industry.

        So I still disagree that all AAA gaming is ALL PORTZ ALL DA TIEM, and I disagree that ports are a bad thing. Think of them as cover songs of old classics; depending on the artist, the result can still be glorious.

        I do agree however that bad devs will most likely make bad games, regardless if said games are ports or new IPs. And that's where I think the focus of the discussion should be: Did the devs do a good job w/ the game? It appears that they did a poor job with this game, and the devs should be held responsible for that.

      • JJE

        Thread continues below, sorry.

  • xDyNaMiiCx

    Give us a real port. New iOS devices are now close enough or if not more powerful then consoles.

    • dibdib

      Perhaps in your mind they are.

    • Greyskull

      No, they aren't. Regardless, would pay 40 bucks, the price of a Vita or DS (whatever the new Gameboy is called) game for it?

    • Matt Simpson

      The most powerful iOS device is still nowhere near as powerful as an Xbox 360 or PS3.

  • witedahlia

    On a brighter note your play through was very entertaining... at least for me! Guess it wasn't very fun for you guys, though.

  • dibdib

    I'm impressed.  With the number of people anticipating this, you may have saved a lot of us some money.

  • Jerutix

    As someone who has never played Borderlands or Borderlands 2, I think this game looks decent. Not great, not like something I'm going to buy, but definitely not as bad as a lot of junk I've seen this year.

    That being said, I'm betting the game's major failings come in comparison to the greatness I hear about from Borderlands 2. With no connection to that brand, this just looks like another game to me.

  • Fawks

    I picked up a $15 iTunes gift card for this game (Don't have my own check card or credit card.) and I'm not paying five bucks for that. have no idea what to spend it on... Any suggestions?

    • Greyskull

      Mission Europa Collector's Edition.

    • ducksFANjason

      I'd like to submit The World Ends With You

      • MrAlbum

        Seconded. Best Square Enix game in a loooooong time.

  • http://twitter.com/tntjarks Tom Tjarks

    The game basically looks like Battleheart to me.  I'm good.

  • ConceptNormal

    "The game sucks" "prepare to be disappointed" "everything is broken". Ok so You've actually prepared me to be confused... Why are you such a high level then and seem to be enjoying yourself?

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      We typically try to finish games we review regardless of how un-fun they are.

      • ConceptNormal

        Then why not try and be so bias with the way you speak about a company's hard work as well? I'm just saying, out of respect. Plus it's depressing watching y'all play and literally say nothing good about it. Y'all sound miserable but dumped so much time into it (atleast brad). I hope the pay is well.

      • ConceptNormal

        Sorry to double-post but I I def. understand where your comming from with your point. You just also seemed very surprised at his progress and before even seeing the game you said it was bad.

      • Schpank

        Looks like a turd. Thanks for doing your job!

  • Mummycook101

    This looks dumb and for $6 might just by need for speed in steed

  • Mummycook101

    This game is bad really bad what happend

  • Mummycook101

    This is bad its graphics look alright but What happened to fps ill just buy need for speed instead

  • Tropxe

    Seriously not trolling here, I love both games I'm about to mention, but it would be pretty accurate to say that Infinity Blade is a "Gameboy version" of Dark Souls.

    It takes a very similar setting and atmosphere, a similarly punishing style, a rebirth gameplay element, closely related armour design, the "you can explore, but you find quickly get out of your depth", the way in which you're meant to die to progress, a focus on realistic, weighty and involving sword combat with magic as an occasional nuke...

    The list goes on. It does all that but, to quote the article, "due to either the limitations of the platform or due to development budget restraints, [they take the experience and] water it down". My point is, this criticism seems kind of meaningless for an iOS game; the platform is essentially the new Gameboy in various senses. Even its best games.

  • Tropxe

    Seriously not trolling here, I love both games I'm about to mention, but it would be pretty accurate to say that Infinity Blade is a "Gameboy version" of Dark Souls.

    It takes a very similar setting and atmosphere, a similarly punishing style, a rebirth gameplay element, closely related armour design, the "you can explore, but you find quickly get out of your depth", the way in which you're meant to die to progress, a focus on realistic, weighty and involving sword combat with magic as an occasional nuke...

    The list goes on. It does all that but, to quote the article, "due to either the limitations of the platform or due to development budget restraints, [they take the experience and] water it down". My point is, this criticism seems kind of meaningless for an iOS game; the platform is essentially the new Gameboy in various senses. Even its best games.

    • MidianGTX

      Demon's Souls and Dark Souls both place highly on my list of best games ever, and Infinity Blade feels nothing like either of them to me. They both feature stone and armor, that's about as much comparison as I'm prepared to make without grasping for straws to try and make an unecessary point. This game on the other hand, looks dreadful.

  • http://www.facebook.com/SkeletonlordPL Daniel Brown

    I was going to buy this game and play it, but your review makes me think otherwise. Maybe I will get it when all the bugs are ironed out. 

  • Benegesserit

    Gearbox owes us an Apple-style apology. This is like the Apple Maps of Borderlands games.

  • http://www.facebook.com/omar.g.rocha Omar Gonzalez

    Ohh well.. big name developers dishing out opportunities to do something meaningful on iOS yet again. 

  • Acidbottle

    Another great TA plays, saved me some coin as i think I'll swerve this. A bit disturbing to hear they made a request to remove this glowing review, tells me they don't care one bit about their customers ...

  • Matt S

    Thanks for saving me money on an expensive game TA

  • JJE

    What we disagree with is what constitutes a AAA. IB as great as it is isn't. Chair by my thinking is an Indy. Epic did GoW sure, can we agree its a AA Dev? No? Ok the Unreal engine confuses things since their business strategy is focused on the development environment rather than individual games. If B/L were written in Unreal I wouldn't be blaming Epic for the myriad of problems B/L has.

    There's nothing wrong with the strategy of porting your existing catalog to mobile. In fact it makes perfect financial sense to do so. I may rail as a player against it but I appreciate how a GameCube port might give you the security to move ahead and try something native.

    B/L is a misfire driven by the 2K PR dept I hope. How happy do you think Gearbox is today with this news? IB/D is very similar and as such makes me apprehensive. But as I wrote earlier, I trust the Indys to have a better ethical grasp on their content.

  • osvd

    OMG. IT SUCKS....

  • FPS_IOS

    Dang it 2k i dont want this turn based strategy garbage! I want the legit fps borderlands!

  • dasker

    Este juego apesta es una basura parece de nokia 5800 o algo así se ve muy mal ni pagare ni un centavo por el . Me gustaría que se viera mas como el original en primera persona que se vea bastante bien o 3ra pero que se vea bien que este detallado bien buenos enemigos tipo shadow gun una imagen tipo así o mejor..

  • http://www.meadiciona.com/charles_anjos Charles Albert

    Let's speak frankly, who was naive (or even dumb) enough to expect a bonafide borderlands game on iOS?

  • Goose

    I gotta say, I'm enjoying the game a great deal. Don't believe everything you read. This "review" is a little off kilter.

  • themostunclean

    I have a few extra bucks that I'm willing to throw at this game if only to support the brand and fund further console sequels. Plus TA plays and reviews have been WAY off in the past, especially with games they have over anticipated and over hyped due to long term buildup or the game's associations with an existing franchise. I take everything they say with a grain if salt.

  • http://profiles.google.com/fleshman1992 Laszlo Tuss

    2k.... I am dissapointed... And its not even universal....

  • http://twitter.com/Smash_McGavin Brent Disbrow

    Great review, thanks for the save!

  • HelperMonkey

    It IS possible to reinterpret a great game property for mobile gaming. GTA:Chinatown is a good example. But you have to be more interested in making a good game than in making easy money.

  • drewpoc

    I'm gonna give it a shot guys...I'm all for trying new ports and giving feedback.

  • http://twitter.com/adr2k5 Adriano Manhães

    The game mechanics is a perfect rip off. There are so many games, for example : battleheart, Hero & Monsters, 3 kingdons,... Borderlands Legends is the same thing with a Unreal Tech skin.
    Gimme a break, the web 8-bit teaser for Borderlands 2 is funniest than Legends for IOS.
    #FAIL !

  • http://www.facebook.com/iammane Matthew Nemeth

    Wait so, I'm confused. As someone who hasn't really played Borderlands and ISN'T expecting an FPS experience, does this game suck? Or is it ok? Pretend you never played Borderlands and you're ok with a squad tactical shooter. I want to know if I should keep playing Hunters 2 or pick this up.