As Appy Entertainment sees 2 million SpellCraft School of Magic downloads, they prepare to release their next social game, Animal Legends. We spoke with Paul O’Connor, Brand Director at Appy about their new game and their experiences so far in the App Store.

Animal Legends is both a city builder, and an RPG battle game and has some amazing artwork and a huge number of character customization options. As you level up through the game, your animals gain special powers and equipment to help you fight through ever increasingly difficult levels in a Pokemon type battle arena.

Animal Legends will be released this week worldwide and Appy brings some new things to the social game scene. Not the least of which is a social game that is really social. The multiplayer is tuned for the mobile landscape where users play a bit here and there throughout the days. In Animal Legends, as you include your friends in your world you can use their built up creatures. Both sides get a little extra reward for doing so.

Paul O’Connor from Appy Entertainment gives us the background story of the game that revolves around the triumph over an evil Vampire Frog, Skulk. “In Animal Legends, the evil Vampire Frog, Skulk, has cast a blight upon the land, and you and your friends must defeat him by clearing back the poisoned forest, building up your fantasy kingdom, and questing for loot and glory in battle with Skulk’s minions. The whole game is slightly unhinged, with rampaging Rhino Warriors, giant Ogre Bunnies, and other half-savage, half-funny animal opponents. The tone and story are light and the game is welcoming to casual players, but it is crunchy under the surface, allowing players to explore different towns and character builds, and to kit out parties with their friends taking advantage of the combos and special powers in the game’s tactical battle system. Our motto at Appy is “Deadly Serious About Stupid Fun” and Animal Legends has the distinctive polish and sense of humor that we’re known for. Our release video should give you a sugared-up taste of what the game is all about.” Here’s that video:

Interesting, an unhinged game about animals battling an evil vampire frog. Where did that come from? We asked Paul a little about the influences for Animal Legends to get some idea. “We are fantasy geeks of long standing, and the love of the genre that was poured into SpellCraft School of Magic is in Animal Legends. We have deep roots in creating fantasy worlds, reaching back to Oddworld and our own creation of Darkwatch in our High Moon Studios days, and our CEO used to be editor-in-chief of Malibu Comics, which brought all sorts of crazy original monsters and heroes to life. Animal Legends has been an opportunity for us to bring all these deep nerd obsessions together to brew up a new kind of RPG for this new touch-based, mobile computing generation.” Deep nerd obsessions indeed, but the game still remains quite accessible. It’s easy to get into and progress even if you aren’t familiar with RPG games.

Hit the jump for more on Animal Legends, screenshots, and more from Paul from Appy on this new game.

The artwork in Animal Legends is great and very creative. We asked Paul about who created the art. “The visual DNA for Animal Legends was developed by Appy’s Creative Visual Director, Farzad Varahramyan, who then oversaw creation of art assets by outsourcing studios and our own in-house artist, Michael Albano. Animation was by our Project Director, Emmanuel Valdez, and Executive Producer Steve Sargent provided our memorable and funny sound effects. Artistically this is the most ambitious Appy game yet. The Animal Legends design was led by Game Director Rory McGuire, who joined us in the final months of SpellCraft development and did a bang-up job on his first full game for us.”

In Animal Legends, each of the beautiful characters you create has their own specialty. Some are brutes and can take a lot of damage, while others can really mount strong attacks. From Paul, “The Rhino Warrior is your tank — he can take a lot of damage, and dish it out too, especially after unlocking his Shield Bash and Battle Shout abilities. The Raccoon Rogue is kind of a sniper, dealing a lot of damage, but is even more effective in a party setting, because his attacks set up other characters to do double damage to the bad guys. Your Owl Wizard does massive damage with area-effect lightning spells but is also vulnerable to attack and will spend a lot of time in the hospital if you send them into battle alone.” In addition, we can look forward to more characters in the game as it is updated over the coming months including a Hippo Berserker, and perhaps something called a Bulldog Dwarf.

But back to the multiplayer. In a mobile world, you may not be online at the same time as your friends, so it’s important to execute multiplayer in a way that each benefits, even if they are not playing that the same time. In Animal Legends, “Your friends just need to opt into playing the game — they don’t have to be online or offer consent for you to use their characters. It’s good for your friends because they get a share of the loot and experience. If you assemble enough friends, you will have no shortage of heroes to fill out your parties.”

We asked Paul for some tips for first time players of Animal Legends. “The missions offered by the game provide a good guideline for an optimal path through many early levels (and always reward a bit of currency as they are completed). If we have an insider tip it would be to get your second hero — a Raccoon Rogue — up and going as soon as you can afford it, because the synergies and combos between a Rhino Warrior and Raccoon Rogue are a heck a lot of fun (and will help you advance through the game much quicker).” Paul continues with a good tip to help you level up as quickly as possible. “You should also rope in as many friends as possible because borrowing friends’ heroes is your secret weapon in Animal Legends. Even if your rogue is stuck in the hospital for an hour, you can still summon a friend’s character and put the wood to an Ogre Bunny!”

Animal Legends is a free to play game from Appy Entertainment. It will be out Thursday for all your battling pleasures.

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