When you consider that your average fantasy role-playing title features hordes of orcs, a smattering of dragons and plenty of rugged warriors ready to quest for fame and glory at the drop of the hat, it’s little wonder that the genre as a whole is practically begging to be parodied.
Although Legends Arcana – an action RPG for Android – adheres to many of the traditional rules of role-playing titles, it’s shot through with a playful sense of humour and doesn’t miss any chances to poke fun at some of the ridiculous situations players are placed in.
The opening of the game is typical of this light-hearted outlook; you play a warrior who wakes up lying in a gutter with a talking frog standing over him.
The slimy creature is actually a high-ranking dignitary in a local town, and proceeds to inform your character that he has caused countless amounts of damage to local property after an especially heavy night on the ale. He offers to pay off the debts in exchange for some knightly service, at which point the bold adventure begins in earnest.
What unfolds from this point onwards is pretty consistent with your average action RPG. You move your character around a world map, engaging in real-time combat with a wide range of monsters. Successfully slaying these beasts not only earns you cash, but it also boosts your overall experience.
Whenever you ‘level up’ you can assign various skill points and pick new talents to learn. Additional skills – such as more devastating blows and ranged attacks – can be assigned to the virtual buttons on the right-hand side of the screen.
As you complete missions and augment your character’s stats, the game slowly begins to sink its claws into you. Like all the best RPGs, the appeal lies in exploration and increasing the power of your avatar.
Legends Arcana’s biggest stumbling block is unquestionably its visuals. It’s clear that the team behind this game is pretty small; the artwork is at best passable and at worst amateurish. The hand-drawn visuals during cut scenes lend the game a sense of character, but a few of the static images are just plain ugly. The witty and amusing script mitigates this issue somewhat.
The same rather rough-looking hand-drawn aesthetic flows through the entire adventure, with every location and enemy showcasing the same cartoon-like appearance.
Thankfully the execution of the game is anything but unprofessional, with slick controls and fast loading times. The music is rather disjointed and something of a mixed bag – which could be due to the developers using royalty-free tracks to save on costs – but it’s suitably atmospheric when it needs to be.
Legends Arcana is the very definition of a rough diamond. The visuals certainly aren’t up to the standard of Zenonia – Android’s current action RPG champion – but the game has plenty of heart and humour, and is guaranteed to raise a smile on the face of anyone who has had to endure endless bouts of dungeon-crawling in the past. With a bit more polish and focus it could have been a mobile classic, but as it stands, it’s merely decent rather than outstanding.