You Should Play: Battleheart Legacy

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These days, keeping up with games can be a full-time job. So how do you separate the signal from the noise, the wheat from the chaff, the Temple Runs from the Temple Jumps? Allow us to help by regularly selecting a game You Should Play.

Too often does iOS get sub-par ports of console titles and second-rate knockoffs of established RPGs. Battleheart Legacy is that rare original title for iOS that is a great title in its own right, combining great writing, intuitive mechanics, and a deep world to become much more than the sum of its parts. Developer Mika Mobile has a real gem of a game here, giving the player a colorful, vibrant world that makes the requisite level grinding an actual joy.

You’ll find three characteristics of the game especially joyful:

A combat system worthy of a console: Let’s face it: Most iOS battle systems suck. Whether it’s a shooter or a fighting game or a RPG, developers usually stumble with adapting their control schemes to the touch screen. Path finding issues abound, or the two virtual buttons are wonky. But that’s why Battleheart Legacy is such a breath of fresh air. The tutorial makes it easy to get your character dancing around the 3D battlefields, and the various spells/action buttons are intuitive and responsive. Casting a meteor, fleeing a boss, or draining a potion are all perfectly simple actions.

This doesn’t mean the game is easy; each map will have a suggested level that you should be at in order to engage. I found that even though I was a level 6 mage and the brigand camp a level 5 dungeon, there was still a great deal of challenge in defeating the numerous foes that I’d encounter. You only get five health options per map (though these regenerate at the start of each dungeon) and believe me, you’ll need them. Your enemies range from goblins to archers to ogres, each with its own strengths and abilities. 

Customizable characters and classes: Most RPGs require you to choose your class at the get-go, and this will dominate your gameplay destiny for your gameplay experience. But Battleheart Legacy lets you meet several different characters, each representative of divergent classes, and then leaves it up to you to choose your attributes and skills.

These initial classes are standard RPG fare—the paladin, the ranger, the knight, the mage, and the thief/assassin classes all are presented to you as options—but what’s great is that you can then stumble upon other characters in the game that will teach their skills. Some classes are obviously more likely to make for easy hybrids: You can be a bard/ranger because of similar traits, and a witch/wizard hybrid both use intelligence as a key attribute. But you can dabble in multiple disciplines, purchasing weapons and armament that fits your playing style.

Through the dialogue system and some clever writing, your moral choices are also fairly open, with little indication of the game judging each choice as necessarily “evil” or “good.” The result is that you don’t feel so tracked to any one type of character; each scenario presents something different and can be responded to accordingly. Do you bribe the guard or kill him outright? Is it more moral to free the spirit in the demonic book or return it to the witch who requested it?

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Battleheart Legacy's rich world and detailed characters make it a game worth playing (and replaying). 

A whole huge world: Battleheart Legacy gives you a large world to discover, and doesn’t restrict you to a linear path. There are towns to shop in, taverns to frequent, and huge lands to explore, plunder, and liberate. You can pick up missions in town and complete them at your leisure. Ice plains, forest ambushes, and dank caves all await the player. Even then, these small encounters are large 3D dungeons with multiple routes with traps and treasure. You’ll even have the occasional random encounter on your travels to keep you on your toes. 

The writing, as previously noted, is pretty stellar. With only a few lines, entire histories are suggested and characters often make surprising and funny commentary. You have the option of being a stalwart hero, a conniving villain, or a seasoned jokester—and seeing how the world reacts to your conversational choices makes you want to come back for another play-through.

Battleheart Legacy is easily one of the best apps out there, and my early vote for game of the year.

Developer: Mika Mobile
Platform: iOS (Universal)
Price: $5

This story, "You Should Play: Battleheart Legacy" was originally published by TechHive.

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