Game Reviews

Legacy of a Thousand Suns Mobile

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Legacy of a Thousand Suns Mobile

Just what on Earth could possibly be the legacy of a thousand suns?

Limitless and completely clean power in the form of solar energy? A bounty of treasures, at the end of a trail marked by the aforementioned fiery sky balls? The worst sun burn in recorded history?

I imagine I'll find out in Legacy of a Thousand Suns Mobile, the latest of our week-long free-to-play reviews. From what I can see it looks like a card-battler with a sci-fi aesthetic, and it appears to be a port of the web-based original too.

Join me on my galactic quest as I endeavour to find out whether my guesses are accurate.

First impressions

Legacy of a Thousand Suns Mobile gets off to a bad start.

You begin the game, it asks you to create an avatar from a limited number of cosmetic options, and then it proceeds to barrage you with 12 pages of text explaining how the game works. There's no hands-on element to any of it - the game just coldly explains its systems and how it expects you to play.

Text tutorials are never fun, and while it's written clearly I had forgotten most of the information conveyed roughly two minutes after the introduction ended.

From what I've managed to piece together, and subsequently gathered through play, the game is an intriguing hybrid between a card-battler and something akin to a text adventure.

As with a card-battler - such as Rage of Bahamut or Transformers Legends - you have an Energy bar that depletes as you progress through the single-player campaign, and refills slowly over time. Also, you have a health bar for boss encounters in which, unlike other battles, the enemy fights back.

The meters keep coming: you have a stamina bar, which governs how often you can aid friends and take part in boss raids; there's also an honour bar, used for Boss Battles and when you're "summoned by the alliance" - whatever that means.

Then there's XP, which you gain throughout missions, credits to spend on items, and the Golden Suns premium currency used to purchase powerful items.

Needless to say, there's a lot to take in.

I'm not one for lots of stats, but having dipped a toe into the water I get the feeling you can ignore most of the numbers, most of the time. The core gameplay appears to be selecting the mission you wish to go on, and then tapping the 'attack' button until you win.

I'm a bit flustered already, but the game is hinting that it contains a long and involved storyline, which I'm eager to see more of.

Day 3: Gather round

Legacy of a Thousand Suns Mobile definitely has a story to tell. It's of the rip-roaring, space adventuring variety, with a bit of intrigue here, a lot of action there, and the influence of Star Wars everywhere.

It's well-written from what I've read so far, with an occasionally branching story that is easily consumable in short sessions thanks to its basic plot and pleasingly pulpy style. You get a few paragraphs of text for each mission in each area, and can go back and re-read them whenever you like.

But there are two problems with how the plot is presented though.

One of them is that you run out of energy extremely quickly. I found that I got minutes of play from Legacy of a Thousand Suns Mobile before being told I needed to pay for more energy. The story is quickfire and simple, but it can take hours to consume each chapter of the narrative because of this restrictive energy system.

The other issue is that the presentation is third-rate. The UI is unintuitive and messy, and scrolling the text is a hassle. Fonts alias dramatically, leaving the words jagged and hard to read, and when you scroll to the bottom of a block of text it pings back jerkily.

To give you a good example of how little care has gone into this element, when you move from menu to menu the score will change to a different theme. This sounds fine in principal, but some menu options have the same music as one another, and the result of switching between them is that you hear the same few bars of orchestral sci-fi over and over as the intro repeats.

It also seems like other players are having trouble understanding all the systems in play, as I have been.

I've joined an Alliance, simply to find out what benefit it is to my character. When I got into the text chat for my group a player by the name of Karalyne echoed my thoughts exactly by writing "what exactly does joining an alliance do?" I did not find an answer, and if you're reading this, Karalyne, I'm afraid I'm still none the wiser.

Similarly, I've figured out how to participate in raids - having joined an Alliance I can help achieve a group goal by spending Honor - but haven't the foggiest why I should bother doing this. I posted a Red Alert when in the raid, too, but again the reason for doing so is unclear.

In the next few days I really hope the energy system eases up and I can read more of the story contained in Legacy of a Thousand Suns Mobile, because at the moment it's the best thing about the game.

Day 7: Slow burn

Another few days, another couple of badly explained systems, another unfulfilling crawl forward through the story mode.

I can enter a Lab to create items from other items won in raids, but the ingredients are rare. Raids themselves are becoming more a part of my routine, but it's simply to level-up quicker so that I can be rewarded more Stamina and read more of the single-player story.

The same goes for PvP, though I can't figure out how to win consistently. My current strategy is to have good equipment and attack foes significantly weaker than me, but even that doesn't guarantee me success.

I'm currently spending all of the points I'm awarded from levelling up on improving my Stamina, just so I can continue playing for longer, but even that's not helping much. I am spending, no joke, about 60 seconds on each session I play, then waiting an hour until all my energy has recharged.

I could use the premium currency to purchase Stamina refills, but prices are ludicrously expensive for the minimal progress that comes with each purchase.

Though your character can be cosmetically and statistically altered, you never feel like they're "your character". But the other actors in the story are wonderful. Talia is especially likeable: she's resourceful, sarcastic, and tenacious, like a female Han Solo.

The writing is genuinely excellent, including the laugh-out-loud funny item descriptions. But the actual game of Legacy of a Thousand Suns Mobile, and the way it's monetised, does a disservice to the entertaining writing contained within.

Stingy and dull in equal measure, and with shoddy presentation, only the most patient of sci-fi fiction fans should bother.

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Legacy of a Thousand Suns Mobile

There's a good story at the heart of Legacy of a Thousand Suns Mobile, and it tries its very hardest, at every available opportunity, to stop you reading it
Peter Willington
Peter Willington
Die hard Suda 51 fan and professed Cherry Coke addict, freelancer Peter Willington was initially set for a career in showbiz, training for half a decade to walk the boards. Realising that there's no money in acting, he decided instead to make his fortune in writing about video games. Peter never learns from his mistakes.