I don’t know what Leo actually is. I mean, he’s clearly some kind of furball, but he has a moustache, which throws everything into question, quite frankly. Regardless, Leo is of Russian origin and is a rich furball who has suddenly lost all of his gold. As he sets out on a mission to recover it, the story tries to tell the tale of what is truly important in life, but not before he accuses his nearest and dearest of thievery.
Told through black and white cut-scenes that appear every few levels, Leopold’s story is a pleasant one that threatens to go dark a few times, but ultimately culminates in a very palatable, feel-good manner. It’s the voiceover that sells it so well, though, and even on the odd occasion that Leo mutters something during the gameplay, it helps add to the overall character of Leo’s Fortune.
It’s a side-scrolling platformer on iOS, by the way. But before you go running, know that it works for the entirety of the twenty levels (plus four bonus levels), especially when selecting the on-screen touch controls option. I found the initial control method rather awkward, as it involved swiping up or down to jump/deflate, and sliding left/right to move. This is thanks to the simplicity of the controls: Leo can move forward and backwards (left and right arrow), and can inflate or push himself downward, and that’s it.
Puffing Leo up doubles as a jump button, but when held down he also hover across larger gaps. Likewise, squishing into a ball can force Leo downwards at high velocity, or it can help him squeeze through a gap that would be otherwise blocked. The levels are highly linear, but offer unique puzzles contextual to the environment. One later chapter sees our impressively mustachioed hero traverse a land full of high winds, which is made trickier by plenty of spiky objects in his way, whereas another will see him go through a machine that is littered with awkward jumps that you can only make if you force a plank to lean, giving a higher point to leap from.
But Leo isn’t invincible, and one hit will see you restart at a checkpoint. These are regular and loading is minimal, which is important. What’s great about Leo’s Fortune is that you feel as though you learn a slightly different idea as you progress. At the beginning it’s all about making the jumps and avoiding a few spikes, but by the end you are using every trick in your arsenal to stay alive.
The best thing about it is that the controls work. It’s just twitchy enough to make if feel like a proper platform game, but not overly sensitive to the point that the moments where you have to glide through a litter of spikes is frustrating. Solving puzzles feels great, even if they are fairly rudimentary crate box or traditional physics-based ones that move the environment. Its difficulty won’t tax many gamers, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a fun ride throughout, and you won’t get through it without dying, either.
Each level has three stars available to achieve. As you progress through a level you will collect part of Leo’s Fortune back in the form of coins, if you get them all, you’ll unlock one star. The second star is for completion time (beating par), and the final one is for zero deaths. Each chapter hosts around four levels, and if you get five stars you unlock a bonus level. These are a break from the story, and feature ideas such as racing around a map as quickly as you can before a time limit runs out.
Finish the game and you’ll unlock hard mode, which turns Leo’s Fortune into more of a score attack game. Basically, hard mode means that one death and it’s all over, so you are tasked with completing as many levels as you can before that happens. It’s a nice reward for completing a game that takes around 90 minutes to two hours to complete, but it’s for the hardcore only.
VERDICT: Leo’s Fortune proves that on-screen controls can work well when the gameplay is designed around them. A visually stunning iOS game that runs smoothly and justifies the premium price, with no in-app purchases to speak of, means the game feels high budget despite it coming from a small team. Another good game, then, and one iOS users should be checking out as soon as possible.
VERY GOOD. An 8/10 is only awarded to a game we consider truly worthy of your hard-earned cash. This game is only held back by a smattering of minor or middling issues and comes highly recommended.
Review code provided by publisher.