Dark Legends Review

Dark Legends Review

May 15, 2012

Spacetime Studios have launched yet another cross-platform MMORPG. I say that not like it’s becoming boring, but that it’s impressive how standard this is becoming for the studio with Dark Legends. Where some developers have trouble transferring save data between platforms, Spacetime has built another game that launched on Google Chrome, Android, and iOS within short time of each other, and it all works perfectly.

Dark Legends follows a similar core gameplay style as Pocket Legends and Star Legends: players traverse dungeons either by themselves or with friends, fighting all sorts of supernatural creatures and dark figures. Players control vampires who don’t see the need to cover everything up while they’re fighting. The newest aspect of combat is the ability to charge up attacks and magic for more damage. Magic drains from the same bar as health, which requires blood packs in order to refill. Well, actually, any kind of blood will do, which is why there’s the ability to drain blood from an enemy, which also grants a temporary stat boost.

Dark Legends‘ one negative addition to the game is the energy mechanic, one that essentially incentivizes the player to stop playing the game in order to progress. Each action undertaken requires a certain amount of energy, with some being ‘missions’ that have a quick animation, and then a timer to wait for them to finish. The levels themselves take 3 energy per play.

The problem in particular seems to be the way that it’s shifted multiplayer from an experience where the game can be enjoyed in long sequences with random players, to one that really only reinforces existing relationships, and encourages the joining of a guild. It was fun to go on extended dungeon raids in Star Legends, sticking with the same group for a long period of time. Because progression now is blocked by waiting for missions to complete, this means that random multiplayer is short-term at best. Some missions take an hour to complete, and while platinum can be used to bypass them, they’re still just a hindrance, one whose best solution is to just sit and wait for an arbitrary reason for them to complete. It creates more of a short-term and solo experience, for better or worse.

However, after all of that, Dark Legends is at its heart still a fun game, and rather impressive considering that it’s still free to play. It works out of the box with seamless cross-platform multiplayer. The only problem is that because it shares the core technology with its predecessors, the only differences are the setup and inclusion of vampires. While long-term play will be best enjoyed with the purchase of platinum (vanity items get expensive and some rare items can be obtained by buying some items packs with platinum), it’s definitely still worth taking the free dive in.

Dark Legends is Now Available on Android and Chrome, Coming Soon to iOS; Find Out How to Win an Exclusive Weapon!

Dark Legends is Now Available on Android and Chrome, Coming Soon to iOS; Find Out How to Win an Exclusive Weapon!

Apr 13, 2012

Spacetime Studios’ long-awaited new MMO, Dark Legends, has finally released on Android and Google Chrome. Spacetime claims that this is the first simultaneous cross-platform launch of an MMORPG; while their previous games were all playable cross-platform via iOS, Android, and Chrome, this is the first title to launch with support for multiple platforms.

I spoke recently with Cinco Barnes at Spacetime Studios, and he remarked on how this entry in the series is designed to have a different appeal than other games in the series. This is designed to be more like classical vampire legends versus ‘modern’ vampires like the Twilight series. Vampires are designed to be powerful, and their attacks are menat to have a brutality to them. The game overall is designed to appeal to an older audience, with buckets of blood, darker environments, and vampires that aren’t afraid to show some skin.

The game uses a new structure, where there are both story events that can be viewed to advance the story and collect rewards. The combat missions are still there, and it’s of course possible to play both online and solo in these missions. New outfits can be bought, other players can be interacted with in the game’s overworld, and there’s also player-vs-player combat available through this overworld.

Combat has been modified to add charge attacks, which deal extra damage; it’s possible to even charge up special attacks for extra effects. Note that special attacks draw from the same blood meter as health does. However, it’s also possible to feed on enemies’ blood, refilling that meter.

The game is available now on Google Play for Android, and from the Chrome Web Store. The iOS version is expected to release after a two-week exclusivity period with Google, but player accounts will transfer between platforms by logging into the same account; it currently works between the Chrome and Android versions, just as it worked with Pocket Legends and Star Legends.

As a bonus to our loyal readers, stay tuned to @148Apps, @AndroidRundown, and our 148Apps and Android Rundown Facebook pages for info on a contest to get an exclusive in-game weapon.

Spacetime Studios Announces Their Latest Cross-Platform MMORPG, Dark Legends

Spacetime Studios Announces Their Latest Cross-Platform MMORPG, Dark Legends

Jan 26, 2012

Spacetime Studios has announced their newest entry in their cross-platform MMO Legends series, and this one will delve into a world that is culturally en vogue: vampires. Yes, their latest title is Dark Legends, and it will involve vampires. Yes, players will control a vampire, as they fight off the humans, and other supernatural forces that want to see them knocked down the supernatural food chain.

What Spacetime Studios is promising with Dark Legends is not just Star Legends or Pocket Legends reskinned with supernatural creatures, but gameplay that promises to be more action-based than previous games. Abilities such as charge and draining attacks will be part of this new combat system. As well, the game promises to have interactive story sections to help expand the narrative, which will be a larger focus in this game than in previous titles.

Of course, the game will still have the features that the Legends series was known for: MMORPG gameplay that works on cellular networks, and across many devices. This means that Dark Legends will be playable on iOS, Android, and Chrome, with players able to partake in missions together, and to carry their accounts from device to device. The game will also feature single-player missions for those who don’t like that second M in the MMORPG acronym.

According to Gary Gattis, CEO of Spacetime Studios, ““With each entry to the Legends franchise we raise the bar for the pick-up-and-play MMO space. The changes between Pocket Legends and Star Legends were significant, but Dark Legends is a quantum leap forward in interactive storytelling.” While these are bold words, both Pocket Legends and Star Legends were groundbreaking technical achievements, taking cross-platform mobile online play to levels that other games have struggled to reach. While there’s only currently concept artwork publicly revealed, we’ll have more on the game as it is publicly revealed at GDC 2012 in early March.

The Hills Are Greener: Why Can’t We Be Friends?

The Hills Are Greener: Why Can’t We Be Friends?

Sep 19, 2011

It’s funny to think that while iOS and Android are these seeming rivals in the mobile market, there are developers out there asking why the two platforms can’t just make up and get along already? And by getting along, I mean in the most fun way possible – playing games with each other! There’s an uptick in the number of titles that are supporting play between their iOS and Android versions.

Recently-released Muffin Knight features cross-platform multiplayer that works perfectly between the disparate operating systems; one person just creates a server, and the other player can easily discover it and join. There are no compatibility issues, everything just works as it should. It’s a wonderful and fun experience. Star Legends, the MMO from Spacetime Studios, takes cross-platform play to a whole new extreme: by logging into the same account, the same character can be used, no matter what platform is used to log in. This makes Star Legends the first game I’ve played that can be played on all 4 of my primary mobile devices: my iPad, my iPod touch, my Android phone, and my Android tablet that I have access to. I can also play with people from around the world, and it doesn’t matter what platform they are on. It just works. This game is also why I harp on cloud-based saving for developers over on iOS, especially; if this game can let me carry my progress between different operating systems, why can’t I track my physics puzzler progress between platforms?

However, Apple may be one of the biggest stumbling blocks to the iOS and Android multiplayer compatibility lovefest. In particular, Game Center may be the biggest stumbling block, because it is exclusive to iOS. Muffin Knight, one of the aforementioned cross-platform games, will support online multiplayer through Game Center, excluding Android players from the fun. Game Center is sort of a double-edged sword for developers; for users, it’s the most intuitive experience, but it also locks games into that OS. OpenFeint does exist with cross-platform tools to make this a reality, but developers rarely ever integrate any Feint features beyond just standard leaderboards and achievements. At least one developer has intoned to me privately that this is because many OpenFeint features lack documentation for proper implementation.

The lack of quality cross-platform tools may be what ultimately dooms the hope of cross-platform multiplayer; either developers will be forced to develop their own tools for matchmaking, or be locked in to one platform, limiting the audience of their game. As more developers embark on the quest of cross-platform play, it will be interesting to see if new tools come out for developers to take advantage of the unique opportunities cross-platform play can provide them and their users.

Star Legends: The Blackstar Chronicles Review

Star Legends: The Blackstar Chronicles Review

Aug 30, 2011

Star Legends: The Blackstar Chronicles is a mobile MMORPG from Spacetime Studios that may be technically the game that has had the longest development cycle in mobile gaming. Though the game was originally meant for traditional computer platforms, it got stuck in development hell and was only recently unearthed after the launch of last year’s Pocket Legends. This game uses a similar backbone, supporting play between users of different platforms, including iOS and Android players.

Star Legends‘ story has players taking on various missions for several corporations aboard the Blackstar spaceship. Players choose from three classes: the hulking Commando, the skill-based Engineer, and the Operative that primarily targets single enemies. The combat system involves an auto-firing weapon, and skills that the player can map on the main screen. Star Legends is free to play, with Platinum available for purchase that can be used to obtain additional money, items, and enhancements. Star Legends is thankfully built for mobile gaming; it is very easy to just log in and go to a mission, with players joining as they may. The game also offers options for friends lists and Guild management for deeper and more organized play sessions. Still, this is a game that can be played very casually on a whim for short play sessions. Don’t be afraid to leave the house!

However, Star Legends‘ cross-platform gameplay is perhaps its greatest strength; players can load up any client that the game runs on, be it an iOS device or an Android device, phone or tablet, using their same character and platinum when logged in to the same Spacetime Studios account. This platform agnosticism is perhaps the most impressive part of Star Legends; the game just works, no matter what system.

This is a free to play game; while not spending money is certainly an option, Star Legends is not afraid to give advantages to those who do spend money. By spending money, players can easily earn additional experience, boost their stats, and even get better items at the very beginning. This may put some people off right away, though nothing is necessary. Combat can be very finnicky at times, especially targeting special abilities. If the enemy targeted when an ability is used suddenly dies, the next enemy isn’t targeted, leading much ability usage to go to waste. While mashing the attack button to lock on works as well, it just doesn’t feel as clean. It is possible at times for enemies to overwhelm players to the point where it is impossible to respawn without enemies instantly killing the player. This is supremely annoying, to say the least. The game seems to have limited amounts of gameplay past level 25, though it is likely that Spacetime Studios will add more in the way of content as time goes on, especially as they supported Pocket Legends long after release.

Star Legends is as much a feat of technical impressiveness as it also successful as a casual MMORPG experience. This is a genre that is teeming with potential, but thanks in part to games just wanting to directly copy World of Warcraft, has become stale, and overly demanding of players. Getting more of a short-burst gameplay experience, and feeling like I don’t need to be overly committed to a game is rather refreshing.

Star Legends: The Blackstar Chronicles Now in Open Beta

Star Legends: The Blackstar Chronicles Now in Open Beta

Aug 9, 2011

Star Legends: The Blackstar Chronicles, the long-awaited and long-in-development MMORPG from Pocket Legends creator Spacetime Studios is inching ever closer to release. After the recent ‘closed’ beta for Verizon V CAST users, the game is now available as an open beta on the Android Market. Users can install the game for free from the Android Market, create a character, and buy Platinum (the game’s premium currency) for upgrading their character and purchasing in-game items. The game is also one of the top recent releases according to Yahoo’s Appolicious. It appears that there isn’t a way to recover characters from the closed beta, although they still exist in the system, as I discovered when I tried to re-register a character name I used in the closed beta that wasn’t available. The full game is coming soon, and will be released on the Android Market as well as potentially for iOS. Stay tuned to Android Market for a review of the full version when it releases.