Mobile Infamy covers new and reviews for mobile and handheld games. For mobile games, MI covers primarily Android Games, as my distrust of all things Apple is prolific and well documented.

Arcane Legends Review

Mobile Infamy Reviews Arcane Legends
Developer: Spacetime Studios
Business Model: Free-to-Play, In-App purchases
Google Play: Arcane Legends
iTunes: Arcane Legends
BONUS Chrome: Arcane Legends 
Rating: 3 out of 3 Stars 
Wildly Awesome 
 
Pros:
  • Fun-game play mechanics
  • Like Diablo on your phone
  • Pet system is fresh and fun
Cons
  • Gameplay can be a little stale if you are veteran MMO player
  • Story is a little lackluster and overly reliant on fantasy tropes
  • The music is repetitious and got annoying very quickly.
 

Overview

It was only a matter of time before I touched a SpaceTime Studios title.  They moved into the Mobile MMO market like gang busters and haven’t looked back.  Arcane Legends is their 4th title in the “Legends” franchise, proceeded by Pocket Legends, Star Legends, and Dark Legends.  Hardly a studio to be resting on their laurels, STS has been iterating and polishing their design since the launch of Pocket Legends, and it shows.

Arcane Legends has 3 classes choose from which are standard fare for any fantasy game…ever: A Fast, stealthy rogue, a spell caster, and a beefy melee fighter.  I went with the rogue, as I am wont to do in any MMO, and I named her Ocanabe (a randomly generated name).  Like Pocket Legends before it, your class determines your gender.  The Warrior is male, the rogue is female and the mage is … blue. In keeping with fantasy tropes, the warrior is huge, the rogue adventures in lingerie, and the mage is …. still blue.

When you start you choose one of three pets with bonus that relate to the 3 classes.  As you play through the game, you can collect more pets as you adventure, and the collection of all the pets is one of the gameplay elements.  Instead of being just a visual shiny for your character, they actually provide a benefit.  They run around and collect gold the gold that drops for you, they attack enemies and most beneficial, they provide a buff to the player.  Which buff you get depends on the pet that you are adventuring with at that time, and they vary across all the different pets.

Your pet levels up as well from adventuring with you.   I should note, that while the pets do attack, the damage it deals is not likely to be the deciding factor in any sizeable fight.  Generally, you pick the pet for the buffs it provides the character.  I think of them best like the totems the shaman used to have in WoW.  Yeah, they did damage, but you picked them up for the buffs not the damage.  The pets are still shiny and collectible, and collect all of them is one of the elements of the game.  Currently, there are just shy of 40 pets.

There’s also a fun mechanic that reminds of the Tamagotchi with your pets.  You need to feed and play with your pet to keep it happy.  If it’s happiness falls too low, it stops producing buffs, and it’s damage goes down too.  So it’s definitely in your best interest to keep your pets happy and well-fed.  You feed it by paying gold, which is the standard currency in the game.  Your pets happiness directly correlates to how effective it is in the game.

The actual game-play is rewarding too.  In a Diablo hack-n-slash style, you run around and kill baddies, complete quests, collect gear, save the weak and innocent – the whole nine yards.  The towns have larger numbers of players in them and feel like a typical MMO city would, but the actual zones where you could encounter baddies is capped at 4 players, including yourself.  Generally, when you are adventuring you have a 2-3 other people on the map with you which are randomly placed there as you both enter the zone.  If you party up with friends or guild mates, you all stick together.

Arcane Legend’s business model comes into play with some of the “nice-to-haves” we take for granted in other games.  For example, you only get a certain number of health and mana potions–once you use them up, you have to fork out platinum, the premium currency, to get more.  Same goes for being to resurrect at the same spot you died at, instead of going back to a spawn point, and running all the way back to where you died.  It’s little things like this throughout the game that make you want to pay money without ruining the game-play experience if you don’t, and that’s a great thing to see.  You also use the platinum currency to purchase extra character slots, as you only get 1 when you start the game.

Pros

The gameplay is solid and fun.  The pet system as more than just a vanity item provides more to do in game than just slaughter bad guys willy-nilly.  I’m a neurotic collector (I have a love/hate relationship with Pokemon), so I have to curb the urge to get all the pets available in the game.  The combat system is solid, if a lacking a bit of inventiveness and it sticks to the tried and true–what STS knows works.  Hard to fault them for that.

The graphics are surprisingly nice — especially on a mobile.  The bigger screen on the chrome version starts to show the pixelation a little bit, but again, nothing major.  The game still looks good, the character animations are solid, and the environments are beautiful.  All in all, it’s hard to find much of a fault with the game as it is.

As for the premium currency and in-app purchases, I think STS has found a nice balance between ‘nice-to-have’ and ‘must-have’ premium items.  I found myself wanting to spend money not so that I could be better in game, but so I didn’t have to run places, or could heal myself, etc.  It’s a good balance to that I don’t feel like I have to pay to get an enjoyable experience out of the game.

Cons

That being said, being the prolific gamer that I am, I found the game to be tried and true, but a little tired and stale too.  The pet system is refreshing, but the steadfast devotion to fantasy tropes, a lackluster story and a combat system that while effective has been done into the ground lead the game to feel a little ‘done’.  It’s a good thing when the biggest cons of the game are that it does everything well, but feels a little bit stale.

Finally, the music drove me nuts.  I have it muted every time I play.  It’s not that the music is poorly done, it’s just very repetitious and grates on my nerves…alot.  I felt myself feeling like “The Song That Doesn’t end…” was going on and on and on.  The mute button is my friend.

Final Thoughts

Arcane Legends is a solid game.  There’s a lot to like about it, and it’s clear that STS is doing everything it can to improve upon the mobile MMO experience and provide a well polished, solidly designed game.  The cash shop is well designed to make me want to fork out some cash without compromising the game play.  My biggest complaint is that the combat is stale and the story and character design are trope-y, which are minor quibbles when compared with the overall quality of Arcane Legends.

Overall, it’s free — there’s not a reason in the world to not give it a try.

Google PlayArcane Legends
iTunes: Arcane Legends
BONUS ChromeArcane Legends