Forgotten Legions

Tower defense, moving forward.

By Daavpuke, Posted 27 Apr 2013

Forgotten Legions, Review

Despite graphical limitations on the Nintendo DS, not all developers immediately go to the pixel or cel-shaded approach for their games. It’s with this idea that miniature title Forgotten Legions presents a more ambitious design, though perhaps not for the best. Its visuals might be of a higher caliber than its gameplay within, but at least there’s an attempt to bring a more developed state of gameplay to the handheld. At the same time, it still keeps enough simplicity to welcome others, without becoming a troubled niche title.

It all starts with brilliant cutscenes, perhaps dated for modern consoles, but top tier for a handheld with the power of the DS. Where others would cut corners, this title shows properly rendered characters, slick camera angles and decent effects. It might actually be a little too well done, as it makes in-game character animations seem like gritty smudges set atop bland, monochrome backgrounds, but they do add spice to the whole. Still, it makes the fixed positions, empty grids and confusing overlapping characters seem duller than they actually are. The same leniency is not granted to the sound department, which is so crunchy in its distortion that it becomes grating. Yes, it’s once more amazing that this small feature goes the distance to add voice acting, but the cosmetic appeal of it is overblown towards the actual gameplay.

Forgotten Legions, Review

Playing the game isn’t bad per se, however. In a strange twist, Forgotten Legions would call itself a real-time strategy title, but in reality it’s a tower defense game that scrolls in reverse. Animations make it seem like the player advances on an army, but the static scrolling screen just makes enemies approach. So, as a tower defense game, it offers a standard of differing characters on a grid of 5 defense lines. Monsters load up on the top screen, after which they can be planted on a line, in different positions. Bigger monsters take more time to load, so they’ll need to stay alive. It doesn’t sound like much, but it goes deeper.

Creatures differ in stats and attack range. For instance, the standard skeleton works best as a support character that lobs attacks from afar, while bigger abominations can pack a giant punch on the front line. Other characters offer support, such as one that can replenish health or another that uses enemies to bring back undead. Additionally, units can move across lines when they are needed. It’s this last aspect that brings the most variety to gameplay, certainly as the game feeds on this by only allowing a limited amount of units and by throwing enemies on differing attack lines. This will prompt players to rearrange their set of fighters at all times, while simultaneously trying to keep up.

Moreover, the enemy receives the same variety in unit selection, which will require a set of tactics and arrangements as well. When fighters begin to throw knives, weaker units will need to fall back to bring forth the ones with high defense. However, if a knight is on the line, then both ranged attacks as well as a strong punch will be needed. Should that fail, the line falters and one last hurrah spell destroys the row. Three of these last defense mechanisms are available before the chapter fails.

Forgotten Legions, Review

There is tactical play within Forgotten Legions, but unfortunately the aforementioned priorities make it harder than it should be. For starters, an overview above is so small that it may not be there at all, as its indicators aren’t accurate enough to perceive anything. Secondly, tapping the screen to make units move to different sections feels troubled by the movement aspect, which often results in unwanted shifts in rows. There is also just so much tactical depth to be had, before every fight seems like the same, repetitive strike. As it is a static defense game, despite it trying not to be, its passive stance along with limited options may become dull before its 2 books of story are over. Still, if that’s not the case, there is an endless mode for the diehard tacticians.

Despite the hindered state of Forgotten Legions and its strangely prioritized design choices, there is an adequate game to enjoy for a small price. With ample tactics and a set of different characters, monotone missions might remain fresh for a certain distance. It may also not, but that isn’t as much a blemish on the game as it is a personal choice.

Daav Valentaten, NoobFeed (@Daavpuke)

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General Information

Platform(s): 3DS
Publisher(s): Cypronia
Developer(s): Cypronia
Genres: Strategy
Themes: Strategy
Release Date: 2013-03-14

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