Thursday, May 10, 2018

Lode Runner Legacy (NSW, PC) Review

From one downloadable game on the Nintendo Switch yesterday to another downloadable Switch game (also released last year on Steam), I have a late night review to share. It's Lode Runner Legacy from Tozai Games, and here's the full scoop on it.

The Mother Lode

Back in the fourth grade, when I wasn't pretending to pay attention to the latest math lesson (probably a good reason why I'm so bad at math nowadays...), I was eagerly anticipating a break so I could use the old Apple Macintosh computer to play Lode Runner on. Some fellow classmates were more interested in Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego, The Oregon Trail, or Frog Fractions, but your buddy Phil was always wanting to get further in Lode Runner.

Now, like the return of a long, lost, old friend, Lode Runner has all of a sudden returned into my life, this time on the Nintendo Switch eShop and Steam with Lode Runner Legacy. Packed with levels, a new look, and clever creation tools, Lode Runner Legacy serves the legacy of the Lode Runner series well.

Lode Runner Legacy doesn't mess with the formula that the series is known for. You are placed in levels with the goal of obtaining all of the gold inside while evading enemies. You're not completely defenseless, however, as you have the ability to destroy blocks below him to the left and right. This can temporarily trap enemies that wander over the holes created, but the holes also have another use. Many times you'll need to destroy sections of blocks in order to reach deeply buried pieces of gold.

Lode Runner can destroy blocks that allow him to fall through gaps and ensnare enemies.
This is where the strategy and critical thinking of Lode Runner as a series comes in. If you destroy blocks with a devil-may-care attitude, you'll usually find yourself trapped, killing you or worse, trapping you inside an impossible situation to overcome, requiring you to restart the level completely. Deaths in Lode Runner Legacy don't mean you have to retry a level; they merely decrease your point multiplier and cost you bonus points after a level is complete.

Hang tough, Lode Runner. You can get all this gold if you put your mind to it.
For those who want to go the extra distance, there's the option to aim for three stars completion in each level by moving through levels as fast as possible with zero deaths. However, this usually requires that you collect a special sparkling piece of gold first for a big point bonus, which most of the time is placed in a precarious position in the level to nab first. Some deep thinking is needed to figure out to reach this special piece of gold without collecting any other normal gold, 'else you miss you chance for the point bonus.

Lode Runner fans will have plenty to keep coming back to in Legacy's many modes.
There are five main modes in Lode Runner Legacy: Adventure, which is a collection of 50 levels where each batch of five levels introduces a new enemy type; Extra, which are 20 more levels that feature enemy types exclusive to this mode; Puzzle, which are levels where enemies are completely absent and it's up to you to figure out when and where to destroy blocks in order to complete them; Classic, which is over 100 levels taken directly from the original Lode Runner and given the old school of the game; and World, where you can create your own levels, characters, and collectibles, as well as download and play others' creations. So, to say that Lode Runner Legacy is lacking in content would be an objectionable statement to make. That said, you're pretty much performing the same tasks of collecting gold, destroying blocks, and avoiding enemies in every level, so there is a great sense of repetition involved in the game.

There's nothing like the classics, and that is part of what you receive in the Lode Runner Legacy package.
The World section of Lode Runner Legacy is the most promising, and it already delivers in some aspects. Being based on user-generated content, there are levels that shine more brightly than others, but thanks to a helpful search system, you can usually weed these out. Even still, you can opt to just play through a random selection of levels one after another, if you haven't gotten a care in the world as to what type of level you play as long as you're simply playing the game in general.

The creation tools on offer in Lode Runner Legacy are thankfully simple enough to use. You build characters, enemies, and collectibles one part at a time, and you can use a base model if you so desire to start you off and assist your work. Being able to play as Leonardo from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, collecting slices of pizza, while avoiding soldiers from the Foot Clan is a possibility, and I did just that. Of course, I couldn't say no to creating a certain character I'm sort of partial to, as seen in the screenshot below.

Well, don't YOU look familiar!
If you love the gameplay of the Lode Runner series, then you'll definitely find lots of enjoyment and hours of fun with Lode Runner Legacy. Everyone else might find the game a bit repetitive and good for small doses only. Whichever the case, Lode Runner Legacy is a stellar action-puzzle game with a bevy of modes, content, and satisfying creation tools to make it a recommended title to represent the Lode Runner series's legacy.

[SPC Says: B]

Review code provided by Tozai Games.

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