So, if you haven’t heard, Doctor Who: Legacy is a new free puzzle RPG, commissioned by BBC Worldwide and released yesterday for Android and iOS. I have to admit I was skeptical when I first read about it – Worlds in Time and Return to Earth are just a few of the many failed attempts at launching a Doctor Who game – but I was actually pleasantly surprised by the quality of this one, and I do believe it’s something I could come to love over time.
Legacy is pretty much a match-3 game. And let me be clear, normally I hate match-3 games – I was bored with Candy Crush in about thirty seconds flat. But this game is different in the sense that it actually has a reasonable amount of strategy involved, and there are a number of ways you can approach gameplay.
Basically, you start out with two characters – Eleven and Vastra – and a basic plot where the Sontarans are going back in time and changing the Doctor’s timeline, and your mission is to stop them. Each round is a ‘battle’, and every time you match-3 you attack the enemy – and similarly they attack you. As you progress through the game you battle different monsters, and they become more powerful and harder to defeat. There’s also ‘bosses’, such as the Statue of Liberty when playing the levels for The Angels Take Manhattan.
Throughout the game you play with a TARDIS ‘team’, consisting of a Doctor of your choice and up to five companions. Some levels have a ‘chance to unlock’ a new character upon completion, and each character has different features and a special power. One thing I really like about Legacy is that you can tell it’s been designed by people who actually know something about Doctor Who – for example, Rory the nurse’s special power is a “healing” one that increases your HP, whereas Vastra’s is purely offensive. Characters also gain XP and level up, making them progressively more effective in the game. Ten, Rory, River and other supporting characters from series 7 pop up quite early in the game, while the others become available later down the track. You can also unlock ‘costumes’ that basically change what the character’s avatar on the UI, which is quite fun – the fez or Stetson can be a refreshing new look for Eleven. Overall this is quite an entertaining aspect of the game, and I enjoy working out which Doctors and companions work best together and essentially dressing them up.
The story itself follows a sort of ‘campaign’ where the Doctor and his team follow the Sontarans back along his timeline. You complete a series of levels where you battle enemies through each series of the show – from the Dalek Asylum to Mr Clever. Right now there is only ‘season’ 6 and 7 – you start from the most recent and work backwards. The developers claimed the story will eventually go right back to “the beginning”, and by that I assume they mean 1963. At first I thought working backwards was a bit odd, but after I thought about it I realised it’s actually quite clever; newer fans who are just getting used to the show will download on the premise that they get to play with their Doctor against familiar enemies, and as they get addicted they’ll get dragged further back and hopefully gain an interest in the older episodes. Within the seasons it’s all a bit timey-wimey, but the Doctor’s timeline pretty much is anyway.
Of course, there’s a catch to the whole ‘free’ thing – you can buy companions for time crystals, the premium currency of the game. You can still get companions through normal free play, but it takes a bit more patience. The problem with the crystals is that they’re really expensive, but I would never buy them anyway. Basically you can play the game quite happily without paying anything, and as far as I’m concerned that’s the most important thing. There’s also no ads, which is really good. The only other downside is that there is no option to save your game to the cloud, which would be good for someone like me with two devices. I expect that feature will probably be added later on, however.
Overall, Doctor Who: Legacy is very well done and, in my opinion, worth your time. You can tell the developers put a lot of effort into the gameplay and graphics, and it really is quite a clever idea overall. I have a feeling that the game was probably meant to be released before the 50th anniversary, and I can appreciate that instead of rushing to meet the release date and pushing a buggy game that wasn’t ready, BBC Worldwide were willing to push the dates back.
What do you think? Will you download it? What do you like and not like about it? Leave a comment below.