Delivering a realtime multiplayer online game on a mobile device is not a easy task, before I started playing Pocket Legends I just heard “mobile mmo” and expected another cheap cash-in with ugly graphics, lousy gameplay and even lousier perfomance. I couldn’t have been wronger, since the game proved to be a beautiful and very stable game, that is heavily optimized for mobile touchscreen devices and slow network performance. This truly is a mobile multiplayer game, that is worth your attention.
Pocket Legends plays in the world of Alterra, a land that is habited by different animal warriors. You can play as either a warrior bear (tank), a archer hawk (dd) or as a elven enchantress (heal/magic), which starts you off in a class specific short single player part that teaches you the controls and gameplay. After that you are teleported to the first town, where you will see up to 25 other players as well as a few story characters and the Magic Mirror and the Portal. The mirror let’s you purchase individual looks for platinum, which is the in game currency that you have to buy with real cash, that’s how the game gets financed.
The game itself is free and you can play until level 18 without spending a dime (but you’ll probably be done with all quests around level 13 and then have to grind), but the game is much bigger with lots of areas that have to be purchased separately. Since there are no in-app purchases yet on the android market, you have to pay through Amazon payments, which needs a Amazon account and a credit card, iPhone users can just buy through the appstore. If you get around all of these steps, you can purchase 30 Platinum for 4,99$ and buy a special pack with the first 4 regions for 20 Platinum, that should give you plenty of hours of gameplay.
When you advance to the first area you will be ported in a game room with up to 5 other players with whom you are automatically grouped. You then start to tackle on the quests and since everyone needs to depend on the other players pretty soon, you will have plenty of great teamwork with total strangers. You don’t have to do that, but the default grouping is pretty great and gets things started quickly. Sometimes you have to reach a portal and sometimes you just need to slash a specific number of enemies, that depends on the level. If you advance immediately, you are grouped together again and if you go back to the town and then through the Portal , you get matched with new people. Should you advance to a higher level before your quest is finished, you can teleport to that level through the quest menu again.
The levels and monsters are a nice fantasy mix from forests to castles or a oasis. The enemies are zombies, skeletons and knights and there are also endboss monster, that can be quite a challenge without a working team. Overall the 3D graphics are great and the funny animations give the game a very comical look, that has it’s own charme. The menues are build for a touch interface and usually have big navigation buttons, that should work perfect on your mobile screen. Controls also work pretty good with tap to move controls and a virtual d-pad for navigation and a auto attack button and customizable skillslots on the right side of the screen.
Besides the PvE levels one of the last updated brought PvP elements, that have to be purchased separately, like capture the flag. Having PvP is great, not having it available to anybody is not so so great, but since the game grew tremendously since it’s initial launch along the iPad, I think there will be plenty of PvP fun in the future of the game.
While 5 players doesn’t really count as a mmo experience, Pocket Legends is the closest you can get to a constant fantasy world on a mobile device at the moment, low bandwith and high pingrates would make any other approach unreasonable right now. But mmo games are constantly growing and the foundation that is presented to us in this beta is top notch, the town areas feel pretty alive and sooner or later I guess there will be areas for complete raid teams and massive pvp. When the game outgrows it’s infant problems like the paying mechanic, it’ll be a long time favorite in the android gaming community, because it is the first game where I want to have a clan feature and that is something no other mobile game has achieved until now.
Pocket Legends is available at the Android market for free with the aforementioned restrictions (max Level 18, only one area), if you cannot find the game there, you can also download it here.