King's Bounty: Legions iPad Review
- Light on the overworld strategy, but still fierce on the battlefield.
- 'Patrol' system gives players incentives for regular breaks.
- Stiff animations and toned down 3D graphics; hold-overs from browser version.
- Early gameplay relatively 'same-ish'; poor incentives for sticking around for the long-term.
Free doesn't have to mean a developer is trying to pinch your pennies by depriving you of gameplay - King's Bounty: Legions keeps the core combat of the series alive, making each time you play fulfilling.
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While it's hard to complain about the price of freemium games, the content is often questionable and reliant on gating players towards its paid-for features, arguably by devious means. There are many exceptions to many rules and King's Bounty: Legions is just such a game. Either playable on the PC through Facebook or via iOS on your iPad, it's a scaled down version of the popular turn-based tactical title that retains the combat and trades resource management for crafting and 'energy'.
Before you run away, lets talk about what you can do when you can't do anything as it's one of the major flaws of the freemium system. Although many titles burden players with energy that can be restored at a price (King's Bounty is no exception there), players are not penalized for these breaks in the gameplay. Instead your merry band of soldiers can be sent to 'patrol' for a set period of time (anywhere from 1-20 hours), earning gold, experience and even items while you're away. It's far from a perfect solution, but it makes downtime productive and potentially profitable - you actually have a reason to stop playing.
As for the nitty-gritty, you'll find yourself traveling from town to town, picking up quests from various folk along the way (most often involving the destruction of another band of monsters) and being rewarded with gold, experience and even new units to add to your party. Should you lose some of them in battle you can replenish your ranks for a nominal fee of gold and energy and as you level up you'll be able to hire even more units and possibly elite ones to specialize your team.
Combat itself is played out in a turn-based hex-grid field with units taking turns based on their 'initiative'. Most units feature a special attack that can be used to your tactical advantage, though spell scrolls can also be used by the player to change the outcome dramatically.
The graphics are decent enough, though the somewhat lower resolution models and textures seem to have been carried over from the browser version. This does make for speedier loading, but the size of certain UI elements does make it feel like it was designed for an even larger screen than the iPad.
The real crux of whether or not it's worth playing will be up to how you normally use your iPad. You'll need to be constantly online and that may be enough to make the game too much of a hassle. If not, then there's no harm in trying King's Bounty: Legions, especially if you're after a light tactical title.