I’m not really one for mobile games. Typically I get the press release and just send it to the trash bin. It’s not my area of focus so I really don’t pay that much attention to them. Such was the case with Loot & Legends. If I hadn’t been prompted from a text by one of my friends to check it out I never would have even bothered to install it. I’m glad he took the time to send me that text.
Loot & Legends aims to build on all the tropes that make role playing games like Dungeons & Dragons fun as well as deck building games such as Magic the Gathering. Your first match is a tutorial with higher level characters that will give you a brief feel for the game while you try to take out a nasty dragon.
After you are rudely interrupted by your DM’s older brother, whose items he has stolen to run his campaign, you start over from scratch. From there you are slowly reintroduced to the warrior, mage, and cleric class that you’ll spend the next several hours playing while you level up and protect the villagers of Ommlet from Troglodytes, Goblins, and highwaymen.
If you are already familiar with Card Hunter then you know the basics of how Loot & Legends plays. As you partake in missions and complete them you will be rewarded with experience points. As your character gains levels they will have additional item slots open up. When you equip new items your character has access to new cards from which to draw abilities. These cards compile to make your deck. When a match starts each of your characters will have a few cards available from their respective decks from which you can choose to take an action. As you exhaust your cards and end your turn you will redraw a new ability and movement card at the beginning of your next turn. Some cards are passive and have effects like adding armor. Others allow your character to move and then attack. Some cards have status effects and will stick to your characters or your opponents. The type of items you choose to equip your character with determine the type of build they will be. You can mix and match fire with ice and arcane spells for a mage or you could focus on just one. Your cleric can focus on dealing damage or they can be a healer. They could also have abilities that do both.
Certain missions have different win conditions. Almost all of them will end if you kill the other team but there are maps where you can hold out against a bigger force and win if you capture strategic points. Combat in Loot & Legends is turn based but your turn doesn’t end until you pass. You can take multiple actions in a single turn, if you have the right cards.
In addition to the game play I enjoy the aesthetics of Loot & Legends. This isn’t high end CGI that is going to overheat your iPad but it is a nice stylized art that captures the feel of playing a board game, complete with replica cardboard cuts outs surrounding the playing area for ambiance. Even your characters are designed to look like cardboard people with plastic bases. Another great touch is the cover art for the start of each missions that is designed to look like an early Dungeons & Dragons module.
In addition to the standard story mode that you can play through there is the Arena mode. Once the story ends the Arena can be used for unlimited play to allow your characters to become ever more powerful. As you continue to earn points and rank up in the Arena you are awarded with better prizes. The Arena is one of the ways Dropforge games seeks to monetize on their micro-transaction based game. You will be able take part in one Arena battle every two hours for free. After that it will cost you 500g. I have played through a number of Arena battles from gold that I have earned while playing the game. At the end of each match you earn a few hundred gold which is almost enough to play the next match without waiting. The game also allows you to buy chests with the gold you earn that will have items for your characters. Better chest can be purchased with Pizza which you can obtain in game on a rare basis but is primarily designed for you to buy with cash. My biggest problem with most games that are designed like this is they feel like they are trying too hard to get their hand in my pocket. After having played about 10 to 15 hours of Loot & Legends I haven’t felt the need to purchase anything. They also provide a premium subscription that nets you better rewards at the end of each match and more points from a win or loss in the Arena. The biggest downside to the game is that it is required to constantly be connected to the internet and since this is an iPad only game (no go on the iPhones, yet) if you don’t have access to Wi-Fi you are out of luck.
Loot & Legends does a great job of mixing different elements of strategy roleplaying games and deck builders. With stylized aesthetics that remind me of my 30 year old Dungeons & Dragons modules and silly banter between the DM and the pizza delivery girl whom he is crushing on Loot & Legends is filled with enough fun that this is one iOS game I won’t be uninstalling anytime soon. It’s perfect to pick up and play for 30 minutes to an hour and then walk away from knowing it will be there when you get back.