With so many free and cheap Android games, it’s tough to take the risk on a game that costs even a few dollars. But with a premium price often comes a premium experience. Each week, we’ll highlight a game that costs $3 or more, but is worth every penny. Don’t get suckered into a “free” game that’s not really free—support great games by paying a fair price upfront!
Gamers often bitch about how Nintendo is out of touch for not making mobile versions of its hit franchises. But think about it: do you really want to play Mario on a smartphone? Platform-hopping games usually stink on touchscreens. Without the firm touch of real, honest-to-god physical buttons, even the best sidescrollers (like the updated Sonic retro ports) are hard to control. Thankfully, Leo’s Fortune ($5) doesn’t have those concerns. Created solely for touch screens, it’s a smart mobile take on the platform genre that’s fun, seriously slick, and quite challenging to boot.
Leo’s Fortune shares the tale of an old man and his stolen gold—only the man looks like a cat toy with a comically oversized mustache affixed. In fact, it’s what turned me off of the game at first. His fluffy body is barely animated as he collects coins and glides along curved paths that loop up walls, soars on wind gusts, and dives deep underwater. Let’s be honest: he looks downright dopey. As you’ll soon discover, the real beauty comes not from Leo himself, but rather his surroundings, which dazzle with impressive texture work and tiny details. It’s a strange juxtaposition of visual elements that clicks before long.
However, it’s what you do in those environments that makes Leo’s Fortune fun, as the levels bounce between precise platforming tests and puzzle-solving scenarios. Leo can jump and inflate himself to slowly glide through the air. While you’ll find no enemies to dodge, there’s an array of moving spike strips, spinning saw blades, and other hazards lining the paths. Controlling Leo feels solidly fluid, thanks to a scheme that uses a left-right sliding motion on the left side of the screen, with a tap on the right side to jump, a tap-and-hold move to inflate and float, and a downward swipe to slam to the ground.
Slide, glide, enjoy the ride
Leo’s Fortune has no silly-looking enemies to smash or avoid, but the levels are lined with spikes and other obstacles that’ll kill Leo with a touch. In this case, the platforms shift up and down, making safe passage a matter of smart timing.
There’s a story here about greed, lost love, and a giant robot, but to be honest, it didn’t really register with me despite playing to completion. It’s cute window dressing, however, and Leo’s audible observations during play are amusing.
One recurring tactic has you inflate Leo’s body in a tight space, effectively freezing him in place while moving hazards block the way forward (usually below him). You’re not getting anywhere until these rotating spikes clear for a moment, anyway.
Platforming without platforms: one area in the game sends you soaring along wind gusts, and instead of holding down a thumb to inflate and glide, you’ll do so here to sink like a stone—necessary to avoid peril and snag more of Leo’s stolen loot.
Why it’s worth your money
Leo’s Fortune does a great job of adapting the 2D platform genre to mobile devices. It pulls in familiar console influences, including LittleBigPlanet and Sonic the Hedgehog, yet feels like its own well-tuned concoction. Moreover, it’s designed to be friendly and approachable, with the ability to complete levels and progress further even while ringing up dozens of deaths and charting a sluggish pace. And thankfully, ample checkpoints mean little lost progress when you inevitably go splat against an unseen spinning blade.
Yet there’s also serious challenge, if you want it: each level has three objectives, based on collected coins, number of fatalities, and completion time, and you’ll need to play and replay the 20 campaign stages to truly master them. The campaign itself can be simply cleared in three hours or so, but completing all of the objectives takes significantly longer, plus an unlockable hardcore mode gives you one life to complete as many stages as possible. If that sounds appealing, Leo’s Fortune should provide many happily tense returns.
This story, "Leo's Fortune offers charming and challenging platform action" was originally published by Greenbot.