iPhone Game Review: Legion of the Damned
Reviewed by Tom Slayton
Legion of the Damned is a turn-based strategy game based on a series of books by William Dietz about a group of miscreants and troublemakers in the far off future who function as humanity's last line of defense against an alien horde.
Legion is a turn-based game that takes place on a hex-grid consisting of different types of terrain. Your objective is simple: destroy the enemy without being destroyed. The units at your disposal change depending on your faction, which significantly adds to the game's longevity, and consist of a good variety of heavy, light, and specialty units. Not only does Legion have a full-featured campaign, but it also has a very robust online multiplayer component via their proprietary online service (no Game Center at this time).
The big news for me, however, was the inclusion of both a map editor and a random map generator! This is huge, as it effectively extends the game's lifespan almost indefinitely. This is an old school strategy game, not a twitchfest. You will have to know the capabilities of your units, and plan each move methodically. I found the AI to be suitably challenging, however nothing beats getting pantsed by a real opponent. Although the game's community is small, the inclusion of asynchronous multiplayer with push notifications will help mitigate that somewhat. Unfortunately, there is currently no way to send a challenge to a specific person (friend), although that has been promised in a future update.
In App Purchases
Legion of the Damned is a complete game, and does not require additional in-app purchases to unlock features or content. Three factions, a full campaign, a random map generator, and robust multiplayer are all yours at the time of purchase. Additionally, the game does not utilize any in-game currency or consumable so you will find it nicely balanced from the start. Lastly, there are no advertisements. Kudos to Offworld Games for their upfront pricing, and for resisting the urge to wring extra money out of iOS gamers in the form of IAP consumables.
Legion has a nicely polished feel. The graphics are crisp 2-D sprites, and are appropriately animated for a turn-based strategy game. You won't find a lot of flashy eye candy in Legion, but it's just not that type of game. The lack of retina and native iPad support are sorely missed, however, the developer has repeatedly asserted that these features are currently being coded and should be available in January in the form of a free update.
The in-game sound effects are adequate and the voice acting is professional. I wasn't a fan, however, of the abusive drill sergeant who walks you through the tutorial. If you don't do exactly what he says, he insults you. For some reason, this irritated me, although it's certainly not a dealbreaker. Legion has excellent in-game music, and it also gives you the option to play your own music in the background. This is just another little reminder of how much care went into the development of this game.
Legion of the Damned is one of the best turn-based strategy games available for the iPhone, if not THE best. A strong campaign coupled with a robust multiplayer component and a map editor/random map generator give this game a very long shelf life. With the promise of retina/universal support, turn-based strategy fans will have a hard time finding anything not to love about Legion of the Damned.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 3 - Excellent 2-D sprites that will really benefit from the promised Retina/Universal support.
Sound: - 4 - Solid in-game sound effects and music. The ability to access your device's music library is a nice touch.
Controls: - 5 - An accurate and forgiving touch interface makes this game almost frustration-free.
Gameplay: - 5 - Solid turn-based gameplay featuring a huge campaign as well as a map editor/random map generator, and asynchronous multiplayer. No IAPs!
Playing Hints and Tips:
Even experienced turn-based strategy fans should play through the tutorial to learn the nuances of the interface. Mines are never visible so be sure to clear a path for your troops with a unit with the minesweeping ability.
Developer: Offworld Games
Release Date: December 15, 2011
Buy App: Legion of the Damned
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