To say there aren’t many good RPGs on mobile devices would be a bit of an exaggeration. What would be slightly more accurate is to say there aren’t a ton of excellent RPGs made specifically for a phone or tablet. Mika Mobile helps make that less true with Battleheart Legacy, an attractive, challenging and deep fantasy role-playing experience that fits touchscreen devices like a glove — or possibly a gauntlet, depending on how you customize your hero.
There was, indeed, a previous Battleheart game from the same developer, but Battleheart Legacy is more spiritual successor than sequel. It begins the way many RPGs do, with a lone character in a small town destined for bigger and better things. The initial tasks that allow you to get your feet wet eventually give way to a quest to find the three shards of a Solar Crystal in order to claim a hefty reward from your king.
There’s plenty to do before you’re anywhere near ready to start tracking down those shards, which happen to be located in some of the game’s most dangerous locales. Fortunately, NPCs are all over, waiting for help with their own concerns. Talking to everyone is highly advised, and the dialogue system (which expands if you throw some points into Charisma, because people like charismatic folks) rivals some console titles in terms of options and the effects that your choices can have on some situations.
While you’re off questing or exploring some of the multi-level dungeons, you’re also being exposed to the wide range of character customization options. There are five classes available at the start of a new game — Ranger, Paladin, Knight, Wizard and Thief — but seven more are waiting to be discovered via random and not-so-random encounters. Provided you put enough attribute points in the right places while leveling up, you’re free to mix and match active and passive skills from any class, so the possibilities are nearly endless. It could lead to a paradox of choice if you’re the indecisive type, but the feeling of freedom is well worth it. If you’ve ever wanted to be a ranger/wizard/ninja character, this is the place to make those dreams come true.
Using those skills in combat is a breeze thanks to simple touch controls. A simple tap targets enemies (and let’s all do a huzzah for no virtual thumbstick), with ranged or melee attacks occurring automatically when those foes are in range. Active skills are used via buttons at the bottom of the screen, and you can use them again once their cooldown timers expire, as there’s no need to keep track of mana or anything of that nature. These real time fights can be pretty brutal against multiple enemies or especially long dungeons, but every encounter gives you five potions to refill your health.
Plenty of loot is waiting to be discovered, but this isn’t a game that blows you away with complexity. The beauty of it is in the way its systems work together, and it certainly helps that its all built on top of some exquisitely rendered art and classic fantasy RPG music. There’s a real throwback feel that brings to mind some classic console games, but it’s presented in a way that’s thoroughly modern, and again, perfect for mobile devices.
In short, there’s little not to like. Gamers who prefer things spelled out for them at all times could get frustrated in places where it’s not clear where to go next — and that applies within dungeons as well as out in the world at large. And people who like their games hard will enjoy the challenge (which can also be modified with a handy difficulty slider) but also note that there are no real consequences for dying.
Those are very minor qualms that shouldn’t stop you from playing Battleheart Legacy if you’re into the genre at all. The search for a really rewarding mobile-first RPG can almost be like an epic quest of its own, but even without a big flashing arrow to guide you, rest assured that it leads to this game.