Monday, October 22

Review: The Legend of Evil [Nintendo Switch eShop]


Strategy titles are an interesting lot on the Switch, featuring a satisfying diversity of takes at all levels of challenge. Even as many variations of the genre as there may be represented, though, I can’t say I’ve ever encountered a “tower offense” game. Between that twist and the fact that you’re supposed to be on the side of evil (being good all the time gets boring, doesn’t it?) gives The Legend a distinctive flair, though you’d better be prepared to be challenged and probably get a bit frustrated as well.


Starting out in the Campaign mode things seem to be pretty simple and straightforward. Your goal is to summon towers to spawn minions that will beat back villagers, soldiers, and a variety of goody-goody units, eventually destroying their base… and hopefully not allowing them to destroy yours. Your initial units will be quite humble and even feeble, generally, but through some smart management of your towers, upgrading them to produce units more quickly or eventually do things like slow enemy units down and more you’ll be able to progress. Your wizard can move around unhindered, trying to collect souls, dig up coins, and manage upgrades at different positions.


The alternative Rogue Conquest mode plays quite a bit differently, with you again starting out without much to work with. But this time between levels you’ll be looking to spend gold you’ve acquired to purchase new units, upgrades, or the essence of different demons that you can then use to fuse with existing units to give them new attributes and power. The campaign will generally be more straightforward, though once you get started there can be some variances, while the Rogue Conquest mode plays quite differently every time and will require you to be much more adaptive.


While there’s no doubt that it’s probably better for titles to err on the side of being a bit too hard rather than too easy a little more than a handful of stages in, and before you’ve really accumulated a great deal of units and experience, the challenge comes down pretty hard in this game. Even when opting to chop the difficulty down to “Easy” you’re not going to get any gimmes here. One of the tricky elements is that the stages end up taking on almost more of a puzzle-like feel than your typical strategy, with scenarios where you’ll need to start building further out from your base, and carefully manage which units you use at which phase. I think this is an area where the somewhat random summoning of creatures can really hurt as even applying the exact same approach in different attempts will yield different results depending on the luck of the draw. To make matters worse you’re always fighting the clock as well so surviving the onslaught of the opposition can still lead to failure if you’re then not able to get your units hauling ass to destroy the enemy base. Without a little further tuning I worry that this may make the initial challenging fun the title offers move to frustration and simply moving on to something else. There’s no doubt that The Legend of Evil offers something exciting and different for the genre and the system, but rather than having a slow ramping up of challenge I think it peaks a bit too early so it may only be appropriate for really hardcore strategy folks and less accessible to more casual ones.

Score: 6.5

Pros:
  • A unique strategic offering on the Switch
  • The Roguelike and Campaign modes play quite differently
  • The variety offered with the fusion aspects of the Roguelike mode make for quite a lot of potential variety if you’re willing to explore them

Cons:
  • When the difficulty a little less than half the way through the campaign gets high enough that “Easy” mode still feels too brutally hard it may be skewing a little high on the hardcore player spectrum
  • While randomness can lead to unpredictable and surprising fun in this case it feels more like inconsistency with how your better monsters are summoned
  • There’s not a great deal of instruction with the Roguelike mode, requiring a bit more experimentation