Developer: 2K Games
Price: $6.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

I’m no psychologist but after years of game playing, I have the distinct impression that there’s something very addictive about collecting stuff. I’m going to assume it’s some kind of primal instinct that resides from the hunter-gatherer days. A concept that I’d argue the Borderlands series of games has encapsulated perfectly. Everything about the games come down to either hunting prey or gathering loot. Borderlands Legends is the series’ first entry to the App Store and it continues that trend. It’s just unfortunate that it does so with little personality and insufficient variety to hold the player’s attention.

Sensibly deviating from the FPS path that the main titles followed, Borderlands Legends is a form of strategy game. It’d be tough to pinpoint it down to one genre, but combine tower defense style mentalities and more arcade style action titles and that’s almost what we have here. Combat isn’t restricted to certain grid patterns such as in something like Fieldrunners but the basic idea is similar. Players control four characters: Mordecai, Lilith, Brick and Roland, instantly familiar to those who have played the first Borderlands title. Notably, Borderlands Legends comes in somewhere in between the first and second title in the series.

The team is then used to tackle a series of randomized missions in order to level up and accrue new items and skills. While the Borderlands series’ strong point has never been its story, Borderlands Legends doesn’t even try with only brief descriptions explaining the purpose of each mission. There’s no narrative structure, however, nor any actual end game. It’s all just a matter of carrying on in order to get better equipment.

In a sense, this makes Borderlands Legends the best value for money possible, given that it’s endless. After a time, though, it becomes apparent that with no purpose, there’s a big problem with repetition.

The combat itself is fine, if occasionally fiddly. Players drag their finger around the arena to select enemies in order to shoot at them, or allies in order to aid them in some way. Each character has its own advantages and disadvantages such as Brick’s formidable strength making him an ideal “tank” while Roland serves the healer role well. There’s a level of strategy that evolves once new abilities are unlocked, ensuring that Brick holds the attention of the enemies while Mordecai picks them off with his sniper rifle. It’s fun at first, but once one mission has been completed, the gameplay fails to evolve significantly. There’s no chance for exploration as players are restricted to a series of one screen levels to take out the enemies, much like Horde or Survival mode seen in many other titles. These might lend themselves to 10 minute mobile gaming sessions, but they don’t lend themselves to extended play.

Borderlands Legends is a fun title for these brief sessions and it captures some of the spirit of its bigger siblings, but it’s all too shallow. A 30 minute session demonstrates everything that the game has to offer, with only new skills attempting to add to the variety. It’s not enough, though, and Borderlands Legends struggles to stand on its own two feet.

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