Legend of Solgard is a new RPG match-3 style mobile game from King and it’s pretty good. Does it fall into the same mobile game traps as its peers? Let’s take a look!
What Is Legend of Solgard?
Calling Legend of Solgard a “match-3” is probably under-selling it, because it’s also way more. It has Pokemon-style monster unlocking and collecting. It has light RPG elements. And, one feature that’s pretty much always going to keep me coming back – daily challenges.
Right off the bat I need to warn you that it does have micro-transactions, which help you unlock more rare creatures and abilities. I’ve said quite a lot about micro-transactions on Twitter, so I don’t think I need to go into my opinions again here.
Another feature synonymous with mobile games is an energy system. I don’t really understand why these are still a thing, but apparently they are. These aren’t an issue for me, since I tend to play mobile games in fairly short bursts anyway. But Legend of Solgard has this system and if you want to play it you’re going to need to deal with it.
What Does It Do Right?
For any mobile game, the big risk is with micro-transactions. Thankfully, Legend of Solgard (so far) seems to be way less egregious than some other games. I’ve got to level 65 in the campaign and never felt like I’ve needed to pay for upgrades. That might change in the future (and I will edit this post if it does), but for now I feel like the MTs only provide a shortcut rather than a necessary path. Which is great.
Most of the previous King games I’ve played (Candy Crush and its peers) rely on random spawns. On later levels, if you don’t get the rightdrop, even playing perfectly won’t get you the win and a 3-star rating is almost impossible. Legend of Solgard has a lot of creatures, but they all have fixed abilities. That means you know what style of attacks are coming your way and you can tailor your team for it before you start the level.
And here’s probably the most important feature King has included with Legend of Solgard. It will play just fine offline. That means when I’m on the tube or I’m on a flight, I can keep playing. All unlocks need to be done when you’re connected, but the game stores your chests for when you get back online. You don’t lose anything by being offline! It’s an amazing features that I wish more mobile games did, because if I can’t play it offline then I can’t play it half the time. This is actually a genuinely life-changing way of operating and I want to thank King for it.
What Can Go Wrong?
There’s only a couple of things that I feel Legend of Solgard doesn’t get quite right.
The first is the UI. When you first load the game there is just so much stuff on-screen. There are Special Events posted at the top of the Play page, then all of the other modes below that – we’ll get to those in a minute. Of course at the top of the screen you have your character stats, like energy and currencies and so on. At the bottom of the screen are your icons to access the Shop, view your monster collection and your Guild. That’s a lot of stuff and I feel like it might turn new players away. Thankfully you don’t see most of these options at the tutorial stage, and I can understand why they hide them away.
Those game modes I mentioned before – there are an absolute ton of them – Campaign, Treasure Caves, Bounties, The Dungeons, Hero Arena, Boss Arena, Underworld – with more still to be added. Do we need them all? Treasure Caves lets you unlock more gems, so that’s the grind you’ll need if you don’t want to invest real world money into micro-transactions. Bounties let you fight “rogues”, which I assume is players who have been caught cheating, but the game doesn’t actually explain this. You can only access Dungeons if you have a Guild, which I don’t. But there you can join forces to fight large bosses that I guess unlock more rare stuff. And there’s apparently more still to come! That’s a lot of modes for one game. How many of them are actually necessary?
While we’re talking about “a little too much”, let’s discuss your creature’s abilities. Each creature has 3 stats which can be upgraded, plus one offensive and one defensive ability. Creatures fall into a colour type and you can only use that (along with coins) to upgrade these abilities. Great. But your creatures can be levelled up, using more of the same coins and gems. Levelling up your creature removes those upgrades, meaning you need to bump those abilities every single time you level up. They cost just enough to slow you down, but the upgrades themselves are just worthwhile enough that you’ll want to do it.
Working On My Legend
I have to confess I haven’t paid much attention to the story in Legend of Solgard, but that doesn’t seem to matter for the gameplay. And I enjoy the gameplay a lot. It has the right amount of light RPG stuff with a collection I don’t need to maintain or spend 100 hours unlocking. So I will absolutely keep playing until I see a reason to stop. For now it’s definitely worth checking out.
Edit: (29th Aug 2018) It looks like it might be heading downhill soon. Level 64 was a struggle and it feels like the difficulty has suddenly increased by a LOT. The following couple weren’t too hard though, so I’ll see if this was just a fluke or a sign of things to come!
Edit: (18th Sep 2018) Level 75 can get rekt. It’s an awful insta-fail set up that appears to require creatures to be levelled up. I don’t have the patience to grind this out or the desire to keep trying. Take a look and tell me I’m wrong.
Edit: (30th Sep 2018) Nope, I’m out.
Apple App Store