Not for the first time and surely not for the last, our forums here at TouchArcade have called my attention to a game, and I'm glad they did. Legend Dary: Classic [$0.99] is a pretty low-key game all around, but if you dig on platform shooters like Mega Man or Random Heroes [Free], you'll probably have a good time here. It's more or less the work of a single person, so it's not quite as fully-featured as some games, but the core is solid and there's plenty here to justify the price.
The princess of the kingdom has been kidnapped and for whatever reason, the king tasks the job of rescuing her to a guy named Dary. Dary's got a bit of a biker look to him and is packing a gun, and apart from a bit of attitude shown in the opening cutscene, that's pretty much all we learn about him. The game itself is a pretty straightforward stage-based free-scrolling platformer. At present, there are two worlds with 18 stages each, with the promise of more to come from the developer. Spoiler: Dary won't be finishing his quest in the current version.
Legend Dary doesn't break any new ground, to be sure. It's a bit more open compared to the platformers we usually see on iOS, with lots of vertical space and plenty of nooks and crannies, but you're going to be doing the same type of stuff as usual for this genre. Hopping around precarious platforms, shooting and avoiding enemies, timing your way through traps, and so on. To exit each stage, you'll need to find not only the exit door, but its key as well. While you're searching for the key, you'll also want to keep your eyes open for the three stars placed around the stage. You'll need a certain amount of them to unlock the boss stages of each world. One nice point is that once you've collected a star, you've got it, even if you die and have to start again.
Like the game's concept, Dary's moveset is pretty simple, too, with just the ability to jump and shoot in his repertoire. You can power up his gun and unlock new costumes using the coins you'll find scattered generously throughout each stage. The enemies are a bit bullet-spongey, even with a powered-up gun, so it pays to work your way through the levels cautiously, especially if you're up high where a bat can ruin your day pretty quickly. There are also two vehicles to be found in the game, and both of them are a lot of fun to use while you have them. You play using virtual controls, with left-right buttons and buttons for jumping and shooting. To jump down from a platform, you just swipe downward, which I prefer quite a bit over the "hold jump" method in Random Heroes.
Overall, the controls work quite well. The game is clearly designed around Dary's capabilities and the limitations of virtual controls, making controls failures fairly rare. I'm actually pretty impressed the developer nailed this so well on their first swing at the genre. It feels good to play, and I think that's the most important base a game can work from. The other aspect where the game succeeds quite well is in the level designs. While the first several levels are fairly unimpressive and even a bit dull, the design soon comes into its own, with nice, big levels with many paths and traps set up. It's enjoyable to poke around looking for the stars, though I will say that the game relies a little too frequently on using arrows made out of coins to guide the player.
It's a very forgiving game, only seldom baring its fangs at the player. You have unlimited lives, and although there aren't any checkpoints, any stars you find will be kept, so checkpoints aren't really needed, in my opinion. There are only a couple of levels where the challenge heats up, even if you are searching out every star, but the game throws enough at you regularly that you won't get bored, even with the low difficulty. The bosses, large beasts that can hit in pretty wide arcs, are intimidating at first, but their patterns are pretty simple, so it's really just a matter of whittling down their life bars and trying not to mess up your routine.
The graphics were apparently mostly done by one person, and with that in mind, they look fine. It's a pretty typical pixel-art style, but it's done well enough. I actually really like the monster designs. They communicate the monsters' abilities well, and they're quite cute. So, visually, it's good enough, if nothing special. I wish I could say the same for the music, however. There are two songs in the whole game, and only one of them ever plays during gameplay. It's pretty much just six notes playing over and over again, with percussion, and while I know that means it could have been the biggest hit single of 1999, it gets old very, very fast while you're playing.
There's not much else to say here, I suppose. Legend Dary: Classic isn't the biggest game, the longest game, or the most innovative game, but it's got a lot of heart, and man, if this were a Rocky movie, that would mean top marks. Sadly, this isn't a Rocky movie, so instead I'll just end off by saying that if you dig this genre of game, your dollar (or other currency equivalent) will be well spent, even if there's not a ton of meat on the bone at the moment.
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