No ostriches allowed
First things first: If you’re older than two decades’ worth of gaming, then you should be informed right off the bat that this has nothing to do with riding ostriches over lava pools as you (attempt to) skewer pterodactyls and collect fallen eggs.
No, Joust Legends is about the actual sport of jousting from the middle ages. 1472, in fact, as the King of France has laid down the challenge before England’s King Edward IV. The goal is to exhibit the finest warriors these two nations have to offer, and defend their honor in the process. But before that, there is the matter of the King’s Trials: A series of jousting tournaments devoted to finding the finest warrior in the land to represent Edward and England effectively.
That brings us to you. Your father was apparently a big-shot warrior at one time or another, so you get entered into the tournament, meaning you’re now representing king, country, and your family’s honor. No pressure, right? On top of that, if you fail to measure up, they’ll foreclose on the orphanage!
…just kidding. About the orphanage, that is; everything else is for real.
With the help of one of your father’s colleagues, you get to name yourself, pick out a horse and name it, and do a little shopping before training. You’ll be able to further customize your knight later by earning money, allowing you to pick better lances, targes, and so forth.
When it comes to jousting, it’s sort of an “easy to learn, difficult to master” thing, except it’s not terribly difficult to master. First, you touch the screen and hold until your meter reaches the appropriate level, then release to give your horse a fitting start down the field. With that done, you must wait until the right time to lower your lance with a downward swipe on the screen.
From there, it’s a matter of tapping/holding the screen to target where you want to strike your opponent. Two main objectives are present: The targe they wear across their chest, and the head. Striking elsewhere results in either a miss or a body blow, which they don’t seem too fond of. If you do everything properly, you will even break your lance, which is apparently a good thing. You have three rounds of this in which to achieve victory.
By and large, that’s all there really is to it. There are other nuances, such as items which can increase the width of the “start” gauge’s target area, increase damage, and so on. There are a couple of different modes to participate in as well, but the core action remains the same throughout.
While that’s fun, it’s also a bit repetitive. Not too repetitive, thankfully, but enough that the game is probably better played in shorter sessions and brought out again later. There is a sense of authenticity, thanks in no small part to the the creative director being champion jouster Jason Kingsley, and that might allow jousting enthusiasts to go for longer periods.
So even though Joust Legend isn’t what we had in mind when we first heard the name, it’s still a fun game with a great sense of atmosphere and fun mechanics. Don’t be afraid to give this one a look.