Doctor Who Legacy Review
Guest contributor Alister Kennedy reviews the recent Doctor Who mobile game.
During the popularity boom of mobile and Facebook gaming one nasty little blighter cropped up: the pay or wait/pay to win system. Basically this where game developers give you their game for free and throw loads of shiny things (like gems or energy) at you during your first time playing, just enough to help you with whatever addictive little title has sucked you in. And as soon as they know that sweet spot that has you captivated BOOM! Please buy more energy, usually varying in price from 69p right up to £79.99. (Yes you read that right!) Leading to a lot of very unhappy parents who allow their child unsupervised access to a mobile. Anyway, I myself like some of these games but refuse to pay after the initial Hansel and Gretel style temptation to go further.
One of these games is a very popular title named Candy Crush Saga, a game where the player matches three or more identical pieces of candy to clear a level and progress. I completely understand the obsession with its simple yet complex gameplay but when the pay or wait system booted in during my experience my brain said, “Hold up, this is just Bejeweled, I’ll buy that instead and continue for free” and never did Candy Crush Saga grace my mobile ever again.
The reason for the long intro and Candy Crush reference folks, is that this title at first glance screams “money grabber” and I know for myself I thought the same. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Doctor Who Legacy is a completely free to play coloured tile swap game (to describe it simply) so for the casual gamer/non Doctor Who fan here is your review – it’s Candy Crush Saga but you will have more money left in your bank, so go play. For everyone else that’s still here, this game is Doctor Who fan serviced out of its tiny little mind (install file).
Allons-y! This year celebrated Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary and the folks at Tiny Rebel Studios have created a game from, as they say “love and passion for the brand,” and it shines through like the heart of the TARDIS.
So the game premise is simple: you are the Doctor (at the time of writing either Matt Smith or David Tennant) and with your team of companions you must match up three or more tiles of the same colour to defeat enemies. Sounds simple right? Well, on top of this Tiny Rebel have added in RPG style elements where you have to level up each companion’s health, attack, healing ability and rank. All of these combined lead to a more complex game than is shown on the surface. Each character is also assigned a colour that is corresponded with a tile on the game board match up 3 and Geronimo! You are off attacking Daleks, Weeping Angels and so much more.
Each level is filled with a set of enemies and a boss encounter (some levels are also timed) and throughout these levels you collect time fragments which are used to rank up characters. These are random drops from enemies and can be the cause of many hours playing just to get the right amount! It becomes a balancing act trying to get the right team combination together as if you have two red in your team and match three or more red tiles you get two attacks for one, but then some enemies may be resistant to red so you can’t just have a team of the same colour. You are started off with Series 6 and 7, with Series 6 locked out until 7 is completed, and the promise of many more series for free to come!
Also in the menu is the fan area, locked to begin with, and accessible with the £2.99 purchase of crystals (which a naysayer of pay and win games like me usually stays away from) but this game has been crafted in such a way that every unlockable, every character, costume and pick up is available from the get go simply by playing the game.
I’ll let that sink in for a minute…
Yes, OK it might sound too good to be true but, you really can play this pay to win styled game without spending a penny.
Recovered from that?
Okay, so for the casual gamer you do have the option to buy time crystals which let you retry levels when you get game over, but the crystals can be found in game while playing. The aforementioned fan area gives you access to special levels and characters that is very justified by the £2.99 asking price (note: you are given access to the area with the purchase of 5 crystals, one purchase at £2.99 gets you 6) and I see the £2.99 as a way to thank the developers if you have enjoyed playing.
The amount of companions and costumes in the game that I have encountered already is incredible and with more to come, as a Doctor Who fan I can’t even start to think of the possibilities. We get levels inspired by actual TV episodes and brand new episodes designed specifically for this game each getting progressively harder and enemies that shake things up eg the Weeping Angels turn useable tiles to rocks.
The music featured has all been approved by the BBC and it feels like it has been lifted right out of an episode of the show. The character design feels very Japanese like, a Manga/anime style, which suits the characters very well. It becomes very addictive when it comes to levelling up the characters and trying to find new ones. (I was actually up until 4am recently attempting to get River Song!)
So if you’re sitting on a cold winter night (like tonight) and stumble across Doctor Who Legacy on your mobile app store then do not be put off by its initial money vacuum appearance as you will be pleasantly surprised to find a genuine gem of a game that isn’t out to fleece gamers but to please every Doctor Who fan. As for what characters/Doctors/episodes we shall see in the game next…. Who knows?