Legacy Quest is a new dungeon crawler from Nexon that has players clearing out clusters of dungeons and dungeon-like labyrinths of various monstrous inhabitants. Players pick from one of three character classes (warrior, wizard, and rogue) and venture into dungeons to slay monsters, collect gear/gold/experience points, and when the dungeon is cleared it’s back to the overworld to equip any new items before heading into the next dungeon.
The three classes differ in their basic attacks and special abilities, and I particularly favored the wizard’s powerful ranged attacks. The controls are jerky; the hero doesn’t smoothly turn 180 degrees around, but instead will stop walking and instantly reverse. I found it clunky at first, but I did get used to the movement as I spent more time with the game.
While in time I got used to the movement animations, I never quite got used to the game’s odd menu systems.
From the start, Legacy Quest was confusing. Mobile games, particularly free-to-play ones, have gotten really good at streamlining their layouts to make games as easy as possible to navigate through so players can quickly get into the gameplay where they will then hopefully be spending money. This is not the case with Legacy Quest. It was with a slow start that I began my Legacy Quest journey by stumbling my way through the game’s oddly designed interface. For example, there is not an easy-access inventory button sitting on the main menu. Instead you have to access the character selection screen, tap an unlabeled icon below the name of the currently-selected hero, and then from the new window that opens up you have to tap the chest icon in the bottom row of icons. I have to do that just to see what I have in stock.
Well, while I’m at the character screen, I might as well spend some time tweaking their skills and talents, right? Wrong.
To access the skills and talents for the heroes you have to back out of the character selection screen and to the main menu, from there you’ll notice that Talents and Skills are in two separate locations on the left side of the main menu. Now that you’re looking through the talents and skills you might as well check out the Hero Traits too. Except they’re back within the character selection screen. Because why not?
Once I managed to figure out roughly where everything was, the rest of the game played out just as I expected it would. I had to grind the dungeons to collect better loot and level up, so I could face the tougher monsters later on. However, one prominent aspect of Legacy Quest passed right under my nose and I didn’t even realize it until it was almost too late. To my surprise, when I opened up the game’s App Store page, I discovered that one of the main mechanics of the game required me to die. Something that the easy dungeons hardly accommodated for.
The name of the game, as it turns out, is indicative of the game’s “main” mechanic in that when your character dies, you continue on as their heir and continue the family legacy of being dungeon-clearers. Because I was progressing through the game without much trouble, I never encountered the Legacy mechanic and so was taken by surprise when the game’s description listed off that aspect of the game.
When your hero dies, you have the option to resurrect them using in-game currency that you can collect (or buy) along the way. If you have neither available to you, your heroes’ legacy comes to an end. You still keep all the items that hero had, but the hero is gone for good.
The legacy, as it turns out, is pretty much a tricky way to get players to pay for the game. Even though you do get to keep the gear that the fallen hero had, you lose their hero levels and have to grind through the dungeons to level them up. Unlike many free-to-play games where players have the option to pay to play more, in Legacy Quest, players have to pay in order to avoid replaying the levels over again. And, on top of that, players have the option to pay to keep playing after their energy-meter equivalent runs out of free tries.
By the time I discovered Legacy Quest’s “main” mechanic (I say “main” because it’s literally the first bullet point on the game’s App Store page) I was already tired of the game and felt like I had seen it all, which, ironically, I almost did not.
Legacy Quest would have greatly benefited from a unique mechanic that could have been used to set itself apart from other generic dungeon crawlers, but instead, its one trick is just a fancy way of giving the player another opportunity to spend money on the game. Combine that with the clunky menus and all-too familiar gameplay, and dungeon crawling gamers have no shortage of better options on mobile.