Sunday, March 27, 2011


Legie is an adventure game by Czech indie developer Sudokop. I was bored and thought I'd give it a try, but I'm afraid that was a mistake.

I keep notes on games I might want to try, and as I say, I was bored. So I downloaded the Legie demo. I'm not crazy about adventure games, but I liked the fact that this one seemed different. You play an assistant bartender whose initial duties involve wiping up vomit. Heh, heh. Your character really doesn't seem to be the heroic type.

But the demo is very short. About all I could tell from it was that the English translation is terrible. But that's not such a big deal. And although I've seen the full game advertised for up to $17, it was only $5 on the Sudokop website. It had to be worth that much, right?

Sadly, no. OK, tastes vary. And let me point out this review on Bytten which gives it an 85% rating. I can't imagine that, but who knows? Maybe you'll agree with him more than with me. Let me tell you about my experiences with the game, such as they were. (Warning, there are spoilers below.)

Money is extremely tight, at least at first, and the game seems designed to make you waste what few coins you get. You can make three or four coins - nearly doubling your total - through gambling in the tavern, but then the gambler refuses to play anymore. However, he keeps your bet!

Anyway, the demo ends when you leave the tavern. There's not much to do inside it, but there's not much to do outside in the town, either. There are several other doors, but they're all locked. There's a well, where you're told to cut the rope, but you have no knife or other tool with which to do that.

The blacksmith sells a few weapons and a couple of pieces of armor, but he only takes gold for them, not your pitiful handful of "metal coins."

There's also the "Cheater," where you can buy wine (apparently, this restores your health, though that's not indicated anywhere), torches (at one coin each, and they don't last long at all), and tobacco (no idea what that's supposed to do). But you really can't afford to buy anything much.

Now your immediate goal is to find out what happened to the missing wagonload of beer. I'll admit that there's a fairly clever way of getting out of town. But otherwise, there's really nothing much in the town at all. I went around and around trying to find something I'd missed - and maybe I did - but there just doesn't seem to be much there.

Outside the town, there are also few places to go. Most of those are also quickly explored, without much result, but you do find the missing beer. Unfortunately, the whole wagon - horse, driver, and all - have been caught in a flood. You tell the driver you'll return with a rope.

But you can't, not in time to save him. Since that's a plot element, apparently you can't save him. You still can't get that rope from the well, either. But now you can buy a rope from the Cheater, for four of your precious coins.

Note that you couldn't buy the rope ahead of time, because it's not an option before you find the wagon. And no matter what you do, it's always too late to save the drowning man. This seems to be just a trick, to get you to waste four coins (which left me precisely one left, as I recall).

That seems especially the case since you can now attempt to tie your new rope to the well. But if you do that, you drop it down the well, and it's apparently gone for good!

So far, you've had virtually no choice in anything, and you still don't. The one difference, after you fail at retrieving the load of beer, is that one formerly-locked door will now open for you. That doesn't do much except give you your main quest, apparently. Try as you like, there's really only one path for you, into the mine.

Note that you still don't have a weapon, a shield, armor, or any money. If you haven't wasted any, you'll have a torch or two, and that's it. Now, if you enter the mine and turn left, a bat will kill you. If you turn right, you can find a club, which finally gives you a weapon.

However, that didn't seem to do me any good, anyway. Combat is "real-time" (unfortunately), and clicking on the bat didn't seem to do anything at all most of the time. Occasionally, I'd hit the bat with the club, but that didn't seem to do anything, either. (Who knew bats could take so much punishment?)

I couldn't afford wine for healing, even if I could manage to drink it in the heat of battle. So the bat just proceeded to kill my character. The second time the bat killed me, I quit the game for good.

Legie has a neat - or at least an unusual - premise, but that's about all it has going for it. It's far more frustrating than it's fun. It seems to be horribly linear, and the game seems designed to trick you out of the few coins you can actually find. And the combat, from my brief experience with it, seems badly flawed.

There's a good game in there somewhere, I suspect, but right now, it's not worth $5 (let alone $17). I'm sorry to say that, because I like to support indie game developers. I really do wish Sudokop the best of luck. But Legie is a real mess. There are free games far better than that.

... And I think I'll go play one of them now. Crush the Castle is a simple little online game that seems similar to the cellphone hit, Angry Birds. There's a sequel, too, and they're both free. If you want to idle away a few minutes in mindless fun, you could do worse.

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