Pocket Legends Review: MMO At The Palm Of Your Hands
By Kei Beneza (dividelife), OnRPG Journalist
Pocket Legends is an MMORPG made exclusively for the iPhone, iTouch, and iPad. The game is entirely free to play, and only takes around 40MB of your diskspace (that's like 5 minutess of download?). That's actually pretty amazing as most apps take around 100MB+. I was really impressed upon seeing this game, especially since I used to dream about playing Ragnarok Online on my Game Boy Advanced years ago. The game is actually pretty simple compared to desktop MMOs. To be honest, I was expecting the game to suck bad after seeing the filesize. How the hell are they gonna fit MMO content into a 40MB client? I guess you could say that the old saying "don't judge a book by its cover" slapped me hard across the face. The game was actually quite fun, but don't take my word for it. Let's dive in and see what else they got.
After logging in for the first time, you will be asked to create your character. It is not really that big of a chore as you will only have 3 classes to choose from: The Warrior, who uses strong melee attacks; the Archer, who specializes in ranged tactics and speed; and of course, the Enchantress, who draws power from damaging and healing spells. I was pretty disappointed when I first saw the game's character creation system due to its lack of customization features. First of all, you are not allowed to change your character's gender. It's not really that much of a big deal, but this option is usually a basic feature among MMOs. Secondly, the game only sports one default model per class (Bears for Warriors, Cats for Enchantresses, and Eagles for Archers). For me, character customization is a must for all MMOs. I believe that the developers have overlooked the players' drive to be unique. A simple color changer would have been useful.
Much like GuildWars, the only persistent territory in the game is the town (or in this case, Towne). Here you interact with players and visit merchants for extra items and equipment. Once you're done with your shopping spree, you're ready to start your adventure. Pocket Legends' pacing is similar to Lunia Online's ladderized level system, where players play through a series of linear stages, one after another. This is done either by hosting a game or joining a game in progress. Scenarios are completely instanced and the only way to get players to join you (provided that you sadly don't have any friends) is by leaving the password option blank.
How Is It So Far?
Honestly, the game is too grind-y for my taste... Once you create your game, you'll be given a number of enemies to kill. Once you've killed everything on the map, you'll be prompted to port to the next level. From there on, your party will be given the choice to either join you in your next adventure or leave the group. Playing an MMO in the palm of your hands may be awesome as hell, but the linearity of this game really affects its overall appeal. I've played tons of dungeon crawlers, but this one is a bit more senseless than usual (especially when it comes to the grind factor).
I was actually a bit disappointed with the ingame controls since the game uses a touch screen D-pad which doesn't really respond as well as it should. Your attack button, as well as your skills are located on the right side of the screen, allowing you to touch or click on them when needed. The camera is moved by scrolling your hand across the screen, which is by far the most responsive feature in the game. Anyway, for those of you who cant stand the D-pad feature, you can enable the point and click option by disabling the touch joystick function in the options menu. In my opinion, the game is better off played without the joystick as the touch d-pad tends to block your field of view, especially when your thumb is hogging 30% of the screen.
Graphics And Interface
The graphics are a bit pixelated but quite superb for a hand-held MMO. It's actually a pretty decent game for a 40 MB app. The skills are nicely done, with a bunch of colors flashing through the screen as you execute spells and other special effects. The game could use more enemy models as seeing the same enemy in different locations may make it a bit linear, shortening the game's overall lifespan. The interface is quite basic and is easy to understand. The menus (inventory, attributes, etc) are separated on top of the touch screen via tabs, allowing you to scroll the options effectively. A very impressive layout, as they are able to utilize the touch screen's capabilities.
Room For Improvement
All in all, I would say that Pocket Legends is a game with a lot of potential. It still has a long way to go, but I believe it can find ways to improve further. My first gripe would have to be the game's lack of invites. Although you are given a friends list to keep track of your online buddies, there is no way for you invite them to your instanced game, that is unless they manually join your session. Secondly, the game needs to focus on its character customization interface (which is seriously lacking at the moment). Being a bear is fun, but it would definitely be a lot better if we were able to choose our race/animal; on the other hand, if cross-racial classes are impossible, it will be a lot cooler if gamers were allowed to add some defining features to their character such as scars and probably hairstyles. From what I've seen, the game seems to update its features regularly. I guess all we need to do now is wait for its FINAL FORM.
It's a friggin mobile MMO!
Tons of skills to choose from
Lack of classes
Character customization interface is limited to character naming
Lack of enemy models