west-legends_598284076_01.jpgWhen selecting my next game to review, the action RPG game, West Legends looked particularly interesting as it appeared to incorporate so many different elements that I was curious to find out how the actual gameplay was.

It seems that West Legends has struck almost all the right notes. The game, which is inspired by “Journey to the West” (a famous Asian fantasy story) begins by giving you in a party of three characters and you are immediately thrust into battle. What’s really interesting is that you aren’t presented with the normal level-selection typically found in video games; you can’t jump to any level you’ve previously played. Instead, you can only move one space on the map at a time, and have to successfully win battles to advance in either direction. At the beginning of the game you may find yourself replaying a few levels to power up your characters enough to continue advancing.

The gameplay is fairly simple, yet challenging. To move any character on the screen you must first tap them, then draw a line to where you would like them to move. Direct them towards an enemy and they will immediately began attacking. When the healer in your party (Sanzo) is selected you can tap on any other character to commence the process of restoring their health points. If there’s one thing wrong with the game then perhaps this is it. At least on a 4th gen iPod Touch, when all your characters are close together on-screen it can become very difficult to move the specific one you want. Also, if you don’t trace the line exactly to the monster you may not attack them right away. None the less, you quickly become accustomed to the control scheme and the game offers so much more that it’s easy to overlook these minor issues.

west-legends_598284076_04.jpgAfter every battle you characters’ experience level increases and you are rewarded with a random object. You can equip your characters with these objects to make them stronger and increase certain aspects of their power. When your characters level up they also receive new special abilities specific to each character, which can be used anytime during battle. These abilities do have a recharge time though, so you will have to use them sparingly. During each battle you earn a virtual currency which can be used to purchase new items. I personally like how there’s no way to buy the currency with real money, so there’s no in app purchases, you pay for the entire game up front and that’s it.

One really nice concept is that when you successfully complete a battle against a boss enemy, he becomes a playable character which can be added to your group. Each time you defeat a boss you are also presented with a short comic strip which adds a tiny bit to the overall experience. The various levels offer different styles of gameplay, with some that are actually endless, in which you can try to beat your high score.

In Conclusion

West Legends is a unique and interesting twist on classic fighting games, with a combination of elements that work well together. With over four worlds of content and many items and skills to unlock, it will keep you entertained for hours on end. The semi-difficult controls are easily overlooked and I would definitely recommend checking this game out.