The sense that roguelikes and lo-fi RPGs belong on PC is a strong one. It’s hard to deny that the genre owes its entire heritage to the powerful brutes of the gaming world.
But it was never the power of PC that made roguelikes feel at home there. It was just tradition. Roguelikes stayed on personal computers not because they were best suited to the platform, but because it was their comfort zone.
Legends of Yore may not be the bravest or best RPG on Android, but at least it tries to break with tradition, if only in terms of platform.
But the roots remain plainly visible. Legends of Yore slaps you bang into the centre of a town with almost nothing. The three classes – Warrior, Archer, and Wizard – offer you a base weapon to take on enemies, and venturing beyond the town quickly becomes a room-clearing dive into randomly generated dungeons.
It's very casual by roguelike standards, but still unmistakeable in its design.
As each floor passes you slowly but steadily level-up, and although it's satisfying to banish all snakes, blobs, and so on from the floor you can’t help but feel the combat is a little underwhelming.
Both movement and fighting are controlled with the D-pad. Equipping and using items is handled using the touchscreen, which works well.
When you're next to an enemy, the ‘turn’ is taken for you when you drive towards them, with you dealing and taking damage at the same time. It's not a system that will appeal to everybody, but it'll be instantly recognisable to roguelike fans.
But combat isn’t really what these games are about. Finding new weapons, spells, and armour, and grinding up the ranks so that you're at a high enough level to use a piece of treasure is what carries you through.
You don’t descend into dungeon after dungeon because it looks pretty (although the minimal aesthetic does give Legends of Yore some charm), and you certainly don’t keep going because it’s new or intelligently designed.
You keep going because you want to see your tiny square hero level-up and deck himself out in all sorts of trinkets. This is very much an old skool roguelike, with absolutely no visible embellishments or innovations - for better or worse.