Block Legend DX – What We Think
Block Legend DX is mainly a Bejeweled-style puzzle game, featuring elements of JRPGs mashed in. “Mash” is the operative word, as you’ll be doing more button-mashing than strategizing.
Initially, there are only four heroes that can be selected, each possessing different starting stats. In place of a story, the game presents players with various quests that are completed by performing certain in-game tasks, and your hero will be attacked periodically on his journey. The game ends when the hero’s hit points reach zero.
The selected hero appears in a frame at the top-left of the screen, as well as on a progress bar located at the top. He will continuously trot to the right as tiles fall into a well in the middle of the screen. By clicking on a tile that matches one or more adjacent tiles, they are cleared. Points are collected based on the element that is depicted on the destroyed tile. The more tiles that are linked, the more the point value increases, and destroying a set of tiles of the same type immediately afterwards nets a combo bonus.
Between combat sequences, it’s advisable to collect as many experience type tiles as possible. This is the only way to get your character to eventually level up.
Let A Tile Be Your
Umbrella Bastard Sword
During a combat sequence, experience tiles transform into physical attack tiles, indicated by a sword. Destroying sword tiles unleashes an attack, and should the block of swords contain a golden sword, a critical strike is achieved. This will not only unload a powerful strike against your foe, but will also claim several surrounding tiles.
Other tiles include magic tiles, vitality tiles, gold, and treasure tiles. Non-combat sequences provide an opportunity to replenish your lost vitals and is the optimal time to earn coins and treasures. Once the target beast has been dispatched, the trek to the right continues.
Occasionally, a village will be reached, and here the player can purchase items and weapons or take on additional quests of varying difficulty. Purchasing upgrades, spells and weapons requires either cash or star tokens, the latter earned by completing quests (basically performing a predetermined set of actions during play) or by defeating a boss enemy. Star tokens can also be used at the start of a new game to unlock new hero characters.
The Hero In All Of Us?
Short of a vague silhouette, there really isn’t any indication of what characters can be unlocked, and some of the choices made me regret spending the tokens. My first two unlocks were a doctor character wielding a giant syringe, and a basketball player…neither of which I would consider to be typical JRPG hero. To further muddy this system, each additional new character is going to cost even more star tokens, which means an even longer slog before they can be selected.
While RPG elements are present, calling this a true RPG game is a stretch. Things just move too quickly to really take in what’s going on, and any progress is largely up to the luck of the draw. To succeed, I found it necessary to constantly be scanning the tile well for matches, so I rarely knew what I was fighting or what kind of effect my strikes were having until the foe was dispatched. Boss enemies attack even faster, and I found if I so much as took my eyes off the playfield long enough to see how many hit points my target had remaining, I had been been trounced to within inches of death’s door.
The Tiles You’re Dealt
As is typical of puzzle well games, if there are no instances of matching adjacent tiles, the playfield gets shuffled. For whatever reason, this results in a hit point penalty to the player. Given the randomness with which the tiles fall, this just seems excessively unfair.
The quest system is also flawed by the undetermined order of the tiles, and completing some of the goals is near impossible as a result. I completed quite a few of the easier ones, but even these accomplishments weren’t through any exercise of strategy on my part.
Blocked From Greatness
The DX version of the game brings a local versus mode, which can offer up some competitive fun, though the choices of characters are limited to the ones that have been unlocked in the quest mode.
Games such as Puzzle Quest have previously mixed puzzle games and RPG elements, and have done so with a lot more polish and expertise. The overall tone of Block Legend DX is scattered at best. While there are some special attacks, you generally have one at your disposal, which does little to diversify the action. It has limited questing, unlockables, and a versus mode, but these elements are fairly lackluster. Even the retro-themed graphics and soundtrack do little to raise this title to anything above a mediocre experience. The blocks are all there, but they just don’t fall into place.
Watch the launch trailer for Block Legend below: