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When you find yourself absolutely enamored with an MMORPG, it’s not uncommon to long for a way to keep the adventure going when you’re far from your PC or laptop. Unfortunately, most games in the genre are far too complex and resource intensive to offer a comparable mobile experience.
Spacetime Games’ Pocket Legends for and does a remarkable job of squeezing down the essentials of the MMORPG experience onto your mobile device. It brings the hack and slash dungeon crawling of games like Diablo III to iOS, Android, and even Google Chrome. With online instanced gameplay that teams you up with as many as four other heroes to quest, battle monsters, and collect sweet, sweet loot, Pocket Legends makes a great, free addition to your phone or tablet.
Beginning Your Adventure
Character creation introduces you to Pocket Legends’ five distinct classes. You can choose from the hefty Paladin or Warrior, the nimble Archer or Ranger, or the spellcasting Enchantress. Each class has a distinct set of skills and spells that you’ll unlock as you level up. Put skill points into the ones you use most to enhance the combat style that feels comfortable to you.
Once you come up with a name for your hero, you’ll work through a brief tutorial to learn the basics. You can control your character by tapping destinations on the screen, and adjust the camera with a simple tap and drag motion. The game also includes a virtual thumbstick at the edge of the screen in case you prefer more direct control, and it’s a smart move to leave both options available simultaneously rather than forcing you to choose only one. I quickly discovered that tapping to move to enemies was really comfortable with classes that fight up close, but the thumbstick was a life saver for ranged archetypes that need to move one direction while shooting in the other in order to survive.
Questing Like a Hero
Once you get into the game proper, you’ll get to enjoy some of Pocket Legends’ smart changes to the standard MMORPG formula. Sure, the familiar floating exclamation points and question marks popularized by World of Warcraft guide you from quest to quest. You’ll take on the standard tasks of collecting items and killing monsters to get your pat on the head from needy townsfolk.
But the way Pocket Legends handles these familiar trappings on a mobile platform really makes the game shine. When you get a task, a simple tap on the “Go To” button takes you right to the zone where you can get to work at no charge. You also don’t have to worry about scouring the ground for gold or loot as you play, since every bit of treasure you generate goes straight into your inventory without any extra effort. Pick up too much gear in the field and fill your bag? Sell whatever you like right there on the spot without ever having to chase down a vendor. All of this streamlining makes the game really easy to play in quick bursts, even if you only have time for one quest.
With its lobby-like towns and adventure zones limited to five players at a time, Pocket Legends isn’t what you likely picture when you think of an MMORPG, but the experience still manages to feel full and lively. A big part of what makes it work is that you don’t have to choose to be in a party to find yourself in one. Whenever you leave town to take on a quest, all other players in the same instance as you are considered part of your party. This means gold and items get evenly divided, and if those players kill the monsters you’re hunting, you get credit too! It’s a system that ensures you don’t have any reason to avoid the company of others, and there’s always someone else around since the instances automatically refill as players leave.
Did you happen to run across a player who showed great teamwork? The game also sports the social features you expect for the genre. You can friend players and invite them to your questing instances if you need backup, and they can join you at the push of a button. Guild creation is available for the more committed if you want to join many players under a single banner.
A Trifle for a Treasure
Of course, any free-to-play MMORPG has to pay its bills somehow, and Pocket Legends is no different. The game is supported by a cash shop. If you want to get your hands on any of the fun toys, you’ll need to purchase some Platinum, the game’s premium currency, or earn it by completing sponsored offers available from a menu in the game.
In the cash shop, you’ll find the standard array of buffs to increase your efficiency, vanity items like alternate heads and non-combat pets, and even combat gear, though never anything you couldn’t get as a drop from enemies of your level. There are purchases for the big spenders too, like entire guild castles where you and your friends can hang out. There’s nothing sold for real money that feels like a necessity in disguise, and that’s a good thing. It’s a carrot for players who have plenty of money to spend, without being a stick for those who can’t afford the expense.
Hours of Adventure
You can enjoy a ton of cooperative adventuring in Pocket Legends without ever spending a dime. If you tire of the basics, the game even has crafting and player-vs-player battles to keep things fresh. It’s a remarkably rich package with an unbeatable price tag, so give Pocket Legends a try. You’ve literally got nothing to lose!
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For this article, Pocket Legends was played on a tablet running Android 4.0.3.
Image Credit: Beautiful Background by hmomoy.