Numerous considerations go into creating a game for any platform, and iOS is no exception. There are a multitude of aspects to keep into account: the storyline, the graphics, the sound, and, of course, the gameplay experience. Liv Games’ Legendary Wars may not achieve top marks on all fronts, but it delivers a unique and enjoyable gaming experience that few other games match.
The game is divided in a series of levels and sublevels; your job is to control an army of knights, elves and dwarves in the fight against an array of undead creatures. In each level, you must achieve a particular goal in order to move on to the next. Throughout the process, you are supported by a staff of characters that help you train your troops, plot your next move and improve the general upkeep of your armaments.
In an interesting twist, the objectives and the way they must be attained change constantly; thus, in one level you may find yourself building an army to overtake an enemy position, while in the next you will be strategically positioning your characters to defend against an incoming horde intent on destroying your castle in a fight reminiscent of Plants vs. Zombies. At other times, you may control a specific character in a solo mission that involves capturing enemies, collecting items or tagging friendly troops you need to help you in a future battle.
As a result, Legendary Wars is a clever cross between a typical castle-defense game, a strategy title and a side-scroller. Individually, none of these aspects of the game stand out for their originality or complexity; taken together, however, they create a game that is easy to pick up and never gets boring, coupled with a captivating storyline that keeps the missions well connected along a logical narrative.
The game’s well-designed graphics and are somewhat reminiscent of recent PopCap titles, from which Legendary Wars takes some inspiration. The music is a bit repetitive—the medieval theme can be quite distracting while trying to sort out a screenful of zombies and skeleton—but can be easily turned off from the settings panel.
Game controls are Legendary Wars’s only area that could use significant improvement. While generally very simple and easy to use, they are a little too small (especially if you happen to have ham fingers like yours truly) and do not respond as promptly or as consistently as they should. During the strategy-oriented levels that make up much of the game, this is not a significant problem, since one often has enough time to make corrections as needed; when negotiating courses riddle with obstacles and enemies, however, it becomes difficult to time hits and jumps properly, resulting in a lot of missed monsters, failed jumps and ground teeth (the latter not being part of the game itself).
Despite some minor griping, Legendary Wars is a very good title with great longevity and a design that adapts equally well to both casual gaming and longer, more involved playing sessions. If you’re a fan of any of the many genres that it borrows from, this game is well worth its price and belongs on your home screen.
[Marco Tabini is a frequent contributor to Macworld.]