Merlin’s Legacy Delivers Some Magic

Posted: May 3, 2009 in Adventure

I’m always a sucker for fantasy games involving wizards and spells, but of course, whether the game is worthwhile or not is another story. I would say Merlin’s Legacy falls into the worthwhile category especially if you enjoy strategy games. The game focuses on dueling wizards and provides flexibility in customizing spells and magical powers. Of course, Merlin’s Legacy also comes from the same devs of Hooter’s Crazy Eights (note: this was part of my research).

Visually, Merlin’s Legacy has decent cartoon-like graphics and animation. While there is no background music, the sound effects are more than adequate. The game is set up like iShoot except without the turn-based approach. Merlin’s Legacy is played in landscape mode and requires you to pan the screen to see the entire length of the duel. Ideally, the devs would have included a zoom function so the entire area could be viewed at once, but it’s not a big deal. The storyline is that Merlin has been killed, and you take on the role of a young wizard who wants to fill those shoes. But you must battle other wizards who are just as eager to inherit Merlin’s legacy (hence the game title). Honestly, the story is a bit contrived and adds minimally to the overall game. But, you get a new chapter of the story as you progress from battle to battle.

Merlin’s Legacy offers three modes of play: Quest, Tournament, and Endless. The only unlocked mode is Quest and has three levels of difficulty: Easier, Normal and Hard. Quest is the campaign mode and consists of 20 levels of wizard encounters (yeah, I know it sounds funny, but that’s the only way to describe it). In Quest, you begin with three spell slots of which Magic Missile and Summon an Imp Monster are included. You have two additional spots for more powers which are unlocked as you progress through the levels. There are 15 total spells in Merlin’s Legacy which are earned through victories over other wizards. The spells are divided into three categories: Druid, Elemental, and Necromantic. These spells include Missile (shoot energy bursts), Creature (summon creatures/monsters to attack), Wall (create force field of energy or thorns to block attacks), and Trees (send trees to attack) among others. Each of these spells uses up your wizard’s strength or mana so you have to plan accordingly.

Also, there are a number of magic artifacts that intensify powers of the wizard in control of that artifact. These artifacts appear on the terrain in later levels. This works by sending a creature to acquire the artifact. It’s literally a back and forth affair since it’s likely your creature will be destroyed before it reaches the enemy wizard. Of course, then the enemy creatures can bring it back towards you. Artifacts include the following:

Lightening Wand—increases the damage of Missiles
Magic Boots—increases the speed of attack creatures
Magic Potion—reduces the amount of mana needed to invoke the spell
Death Mask—automatically defeats the wizard it comes in contact with
Orb of Explosions—a bomb that destroys everything in its vicinity

In Tournament mode, the structure is similar to Quest in that you battle a number of progressively difficult wizards except that all 15 spells are now available at once. Each win boosts to your powers which can then be used in Quest mode. Endless mode is continuous duels to see how long your wizard can survive.

Merlin’s Legacy also includes Feats and Stats. Feats are achievements such as summoning more than 300 creatures, destroying a wizard with a creature, destroying multiple creatures with a specific spell, etc. Stats offers basic information such as win/loss ratio, and highest level completed based on mode. The feats section is rather creative, and it would be interesting to how good I am at summoning 300 creatures in one game. Merlin’s Legacy contains a useful if not plain-looking tutorial section under Help that provides game tips, controls, and spells.

The gameplay in Merlin’s Legacy is relatively straightforward. I suggest you play Easier mode initially to get a feel for the game. It’s rather simple, and you can easily defeat opposing wizards. Normal and Hard obviously provide more challenging gameplay that require a bit more strategic thinking.

The strategy involved consists of two parts: choosing the right spells to cast, and knowing when to cast them. As mentioned, before each battle, you can choose up to five spells and rotate them with other available spells. A brief description is provided on the strength as well as the mana required. On the gameplay screen, you will see health bars for both you and the enemy wizard as well a separate mana bar so you can monitor when a particular spell can be cast. At the bottom of the screen are your spell icons. In general, when summoning a creature, a tap is all that is required. For more proactive attacks such as Missile spells (magic missile, ice, fire), you first select the spell and then tap the location where you want to cast the spell which is signified by a red arrow. A good tip is to estimate where the enemy creature is headed and target ahead. In terms of wall spells, they generally default to right in front of your wizard. But you can also target their location in a similar manner and is signified by a blue arrow.

In terms of content, Merlin’s Legacy can be rather fun especially when it comes choosing spells. What the game does need is some variety in the wizards themselves. While the environments change, the wizards all look relatively the same. Another option would be the ability to customize the physical attributes of your own wizard, possibly even add a female wizard. Additional levels and spells would be welcome, and the gameplay can be somewhat repetitive for some. In general, Merlin’s Legacy is a fun, casual game that offers a good amount of challenge.

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