If you’ve listened to any episodes of Truly, Madly, Geekly, then you’ll already know that I’m a pretty big fan of Doctor Who, so it’s no surprise that I’d jump on the chance to take a look at anything relating to the series. If it’s a video game, a book, or anything in between, it will almost certainly find its way into my greedy hands. So when it was announced that the BBC would be making a mobile game based on the hit series, and that it wasn’t a simple cash-grab because of the 50th anniversary celebrations, but rather the definitive jumping on point for any potential future Whovians, I was in there on the ground floor.
Doctor Who: Legacy is essentially a Match-3 type game with a Doctor Who theme and story; however, things are a little bit more complex than just matching the colours and winning. Your party is made up of a selection of characters from the Doctor Who universe, who are found and added to your collection through the progression of the story, and are then assigned a colour that relates to the Match-3 aspect of the puzzle.
The aim of the game is to face-off against various Doctor Who villains from the TV show, and in order to attack you have to match at least three of the board’s gems together based on which character you want to attack. For example, if The Doctor is the character assigned to blue (which is usually the case) then you’ll have to match at least three blue gems together in order to attack the enemy using him. Tapping on the various enemies brings up details about them, as well as which attacks they’re protected against and which they’re vulnerable to. This can be useful for finding out which of the gems you should be matching together in order to come out with the best result.
Once all the enemies are dead, you’ll complete the level and continue through the story to do it all over again. This normally would be seen as rather repetitive – and on a gameplay level, it is – but because you’re essentially interacting aspects of the TV show, collecting characters for your party and learning facts and trivia about Doctor Who along the way, it takes a lot longer than normal to start to feel like a grind. Learning about each of the characters in your party is a doddle too. Tap on the companion you wish to know more about, and you’ll instantly be taken to the “Companion” screen, where there’s a wealth of information about that character, complete with first appearance, affiliations and more. It’s a treat for anyone who knows nothing about the Doctor Who universe, but it’s even interesting for the Whovian who thinks they know everything.
While the story in Doctor Who: Legacy is new, it’s something that will appeal more to Doctor Who fans than people new to the universe. The Doctor and his companions have to travel backwards through time in order to stop the Sontarens from taking over the Earth. It’s a story that’s been crafted more so that the player can experience characters from popular episodes of the TV show. It’s not the greatest story in the Doctor Who cannon, but it’s not terrible either. The story is told through a series of comic book style static pictures, using the likenesses of each character but with an anime style twist. It’s a little bit jarring to see the characters illustrated like this to begin with, but it doesn’t take long to get used to it, and once you do it’s actually rather appealing.
VERDICT: Doctor Who: Legacy is an interesting addition to any casual gamer’s mobile library, but it will only really appeal to hardcore Whovians or people interested in getting into it. Still, it’s a fully featured match-3 game with enough of a twist to keep you invested for a while. BBC have created a game that’s worthy of the Doctor Who brand and have once again proven that they have the 50th anniversary celebrations well and truly under control. Roll on December 25th and the Doctor Who special – who cares about anything else happening that day?
GOOD. A game that scores 7/10 is worthy of note, but unworthy of fanfare. It does many things well, but only a few of them incredibly well and, despite a handful of good qualities, fresh ideas and solid mechanics, it fails to overwhelm.
Review code provided by publisher.