It's rare that a new game from King gets us excited at Pocket Gamer. Not because they're bad, but because they've fallen into something of a pattern recently. You know what you're going to get, and if that's all you want you're rarely disappointed.
Which makes Legend of Solgard such an interesting prospect. Rather than the casual fare we've come to expect, it sits closer to the midcore centre of the spectrum. Yes, you're still matching stuff, but there's a thick RPG vibe here to keep you engaged.
The mixture of what King does best with something new actually makes for an exciting experience, and while it might not have the depth of some of the best match-stuff RPGs on the App Store, it's still well worth checking out.Ragnarok and roll
The game is all about trying to stop the end of the world. You're a hero with a special disc who can summon monsters to fight for her. Combine those monsters into groups of three or more, and they'll activate.
That's all happening at the bottom of the screen. At the top stand your foes. You don't just need to attack the minions though. More often than not there's a crystal portal with a sizeable health bar that you need to smash as well.
Matching your monsters in different ways gives their attacks more power or changes the way they react. Match three in a vertical line and they'll charge at the enemy when a timer runs down. Match three horizontally and they'll become fences that defend you from enemy assault.
There's more to it than that. Matching in squares, L shapes, and crosses all have different effects. And you can combine matched and unmatched creatures to make them even more powerful. There are other bonuses to discover too, like getting a boost when two creatures of the same hue attack at the same time.
As you fight you'll unlock new monsters, and upgrade the ones you've got. There are four different colours, and the different beasts and characters in each shade have different roles to play. Building a balanced, similarly levelled team is key here.
There's always something to do in Legend of Solgard. Daily challenges give you a reason to come back, and there are special events, raids, and competitive multiplayer leagues to dive into. That's alongside the massive campaign and the special quests that pop up from time to time.Can't do it
The game does still suffer from some of the problems of the casual games that came before it. There are levels here that feel like they're stacked against you from the onset, and times when you think the game is being a little more calculated in its delivery of monsters than it needs to be.
But things like that are par for the course in this sort of game, and they don't detract too much from the entertainment and strategy of the rest of the game. It won't be to everyone's tastes, but Legend of Solgard is a game from King that players aren't going to be ashamed to be caught playing.
Throw in a neat art style, some clever twists on the norse myths, and the fact that it's rare the game stops you in your tracks, and you've got a midcore puzzler that deserves its place among the best of the genre.