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Old-Fashioned Role-Playing Comes to New-Fangled Phones

Roguelikes are relatively primitive, cruel types of role-playing games, often intimidating to the newcomer. Legends of Yore, thankfully, is a lot more accessible.

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It's a roguelike (definition here) for the iPhone and Android that's trying to make things a little easier on the mobile adventurer by limiting the number of stats and streamlining things like movement (just tap on the screen to move there) and combat (tap on the bad guy to attack).

The first thing that will grab you, and the game's key draw, is some lovely pixel art, which is simple to the point of charming, without coming across as crude. Upon first booting up the game, you'll probably just want to wander around taking in all the scenery and checking out how cool the dungeons and bad guys look.

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Fans of old-school Zelda games lured in by that, though, be warned: it may be a more accessible roguelike, but it's still a little on the harsh side, lacking in manual saves and being more than a little short on guidance or hints on what to do or where to go next (though it should be noted the game is in a kind of perpetual beta, continually being updated).

If you don't mind those kind of shortcomings (and some annoying graphical glitches with the text), Legends of Yore is a great time-killer for the adventuring phone owner, especially since it's free (it's also playable for free in your browser at the game's website).

Illustration for article titled Old-Fashioned Role-Playing Comes to New-Fangled Phones

Legends of Yore [Apple App Store]
Legends of Yore [Android Direct Download]

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DISCUSSION

I'm getting tired of people trying to use exaggerated retro graphics to get away with a cheap production. I'm a big fan of pixelart and of retro gaming in general. But this is not good pixelart and nor is it really retro, it's just an uneven ugly mess.

The movement and lack of animations makes it feel like an asci game, yet the graphics are clearly trying to look like an early jrpg, except no rpg for the Nes or later used 8x8 sprites or had such low resolution overall, but no system until at least the master system could handle those color palettes. Then there's different pixel sizes and arrows that rotate perfectly, and transparency effects that wouldn't be possible even on the SNES. It just doesn't feel coherent at all.

If you really want to make a retro game you should do what capcom did with MegaMan 9, pick a platform from the past and stick with the limitations and do an as authentic game as possible without dumbing it down or playing it too safe.

And if you want to make a game with good nice pixel art, pick a style where you can express something more than how big your pixels are.