Review: Doctor Who: Legacy
Title: Doctor Who: Legacy
Platform: iOS / Android (Played on a HTC One)
Developer: Tiny Rebel Games/Seed Studio
Publisher: BBC Worldwide
Release date: Out now!
TL;DR: A fun Bejeweled re-theming of Doctor Who
Family Friendly: Click here for more information.
Let’s cut to the chase, this is Puzzle Quest with a Doctor Who theme chucked on. So if you like Puzzle Quest or Doctor Who, or even both, you’re going to like this. If you don’t like either, it’s worth giving it a try at least as the game is available for free on iTunes and Google Play. If you still need a bit of convincing then I can tell you the game includes a ton of unlockables, an immeasurable amount on companions with levels and ranks to reach and a whole host of Who fun for any fan.
If you’ve never played Puzzle Quest let me explain quickly the mechanics of the game. Puzzle Quest uses a Bejewelled style playfield to simulate combat. The aim of Bewjewlled is to match three or more objects to form a chain. This chain is then removed from the playfield and more objects are inserted from the top. In the case of Doctor Who: Legacy you are trying to match coloured orbs to fight a whole of host of the Doctor’s enemies in a bid to save time and space!
The game begins with a nice little cutscene to introduce a story that conveniently takes us back to places he’s travelled in past episodes. Currently the levels are broken down into seasons and season 7 is the first one available to play. The game introduces the mechanics and object of the game quite well in the first few levels and then you’re let loose with the Doctor and Madame Vastra to gather a team of companions and save the day.
Each character has a colour, the Doctor is blue, and then your companions can be green, red, yellow or black. Simply match three or more of a certain colour orb and then that corresponding character(s) attack. Match three of more pink orbs and your HP total is restored. Nice and simple. To make it even easier you can drag any orb to any part of the battlefield. This makes things simpler, but also more complex. I found myself trying to set myself up with bigger orb lines to do stronger damage. Sometimes at the expense of taking damage. It’s an interesting choice to stray away from the usual ability to only move one object one space in other Bejewelled style games but one that works well.
On top of this, each character has a special power they can use. There are some overlaps in abilities, for example the Doctor and Vastra both deal a big amount of damage. This means it’s important to get a healer in your group quickly to help you out of a niggle . Not only that though, certain enemies have special abilities and this is what kept the game quite fresh. Cybermen for instance, lock some orbs, so you can’t move them directly or with another orb. Weeping Angels add stone orbs to your grid that do nothing. It adds a bit of variety to the level which it desperately needs. I found the level design a bit pointless at times. As I stared down at the bottom half of the screen, I was purely focusing on my orbs. I didn’t care which wave it was, nor really who the enemies were on the screen. That’s something I feel other people will find and it’s a shame when there are a variety of enemies strong and weak to tackle who all look absolutely superb.
Team building is an important part of the game, though it’s quite difficult getting new companions in game without resorting to buying them. At the time of writing an update had occurred which made companion drops slightly more common which is a thankful update indeed. Companions have four main stats. Their orb colour, HP, Attack and Heal. Now, you want to spread those colours around because once you’ve added that colour to your team, that colour will be on the grid. Meaning those are wasted orbs. I think this may have been a bug, but as it kept happening to me I have to assume they are just there permanantly. All companions hit points are added together to make your overall HP for a level and if this ever gets to zero you lose the level. You can continue at the cost of crystals but that seems like a bad idea. Attack and heal are the amount you deal when attacking and healing respectively. It’s nice that there’s a mix of strengths for companions. For example, Rory Williams has a high heal stat, being a nurse that makes sense.
I’ve been quite addicted to this game over the past week or so. It’s really got that one more level mentality to it. I do think there’s been some really poor design choices though, which don’t at all ruin the experience but I’m left baffled at. The thing I don’t want to do is put you off, because this game is fun and free. So really you have nothing to lose by trying it out for yourself. Unless of course you can’t connect to the internet when you want to play. For instance, if you live in London and want a quick game while waiting for the next tube. For some inexplicable reason you need to be online to play. I don’t know why, I can’t work out why, I just know that it’s not handy, it’s in fact very annoying.
The other big problem I have is the design ideas that have gone into this game. The one that annoys me the most is that Tiny Rebel Games and Seed Studio haven’t thought how best to be practical in design. For example, at the end of a level experience is awarded and you can see which of your characters have leveled up. To actually level them up though you have to click next to see what you’re awarded from the level and then next to go back to level selection. If the developers allowed the player to click on a companion and then level up from that award screen it’d be easier to carry on playing fluidly. This may just be a personal grumble but the game could have been designed for fewer clicks with some forethought.
The game is free to play and you can play without paying anything but you can pay to help yourself out. The in game currency is crytals which can be used to quickly rank up your characters or buy more companions. Ranks are a big boost to a character’s power so it’s a good investment to do this early however it does seem like cheating a bit. The puzzling thing is the way crystals are sold. You can buy 1, 6, 13, 27 or 70 crystals. I’m not sure why good ol’ 5 increments aren’t good enough. Maybe it’s a Who related thing I’ve clearly missed. 6 crystals will knock you back for £3.08/$5. To upgrade the Doctor instantly instead of gaining the required time pieces it costs 4 crystals. You can gain crystals while in play, but it’s rare. I managed to gain around 5 in about 12 hours of gameplay.
Tiny Rebel Games and Seed Studio have been clever and are trickling out levels and companions slowly. This is wise, because I feel a little burnt out already, becoming quite engrossed in the game. The promise of more seasons and more companions to collect will keep me playing when I may have just decided to call it quits. That’s not to say what’s available now is paltry, because it’s not. For a free game in which you don’t have to pay if you don’t want to, this is a hell of a lot of fun and a must for any Whovians out there.
An adventure of time and space:
- It’s a fun addictive game for Who fans
- A range of unlockables.
- Great free to play model
A waste of time and space:
- Is Bejewelled/Puzzle Quest/Candy Crush, so if you’re sick of these then you might not like this
- Annyoing design issues
- Needs internet to play