Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad Air
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
When a game starts with a gentle and vaguely ethnic voice talking about “good mornings” and “purple light,” players know that they’re in for something unique. But lavish production values and lovingly realized characters are just the beginning of the greatness that is Leo’s Fortune. Tilting Point and 1337 & Senri set out to make a mobile game as fun and fantastic as something on consoles. Fortunately, they succeeded.
Players take control of Leo, a brilliant inventor and adorable elderly fuzzball, as he attempts to reclaim his stolen treasure. It’s impossible to oversell how delightful his design is. Imagine a grandpa’s beard that suddenly came to life. That’s just the start of Leo’s Fortune's amazing aesthetics. The game’s graphics have an old-world whimsy full of wartime, turn of the 20th century, Eastern European influences. Also, with its stage motif, the game draws from the early world of cinema that Martin Scorsese sought to recreate in the movie 'Hugo.' On a technical level, the naturalistic environments like desert ruins and ocean floors, or more industrial ones like a fiery underground furnace, have exquisite lighting and immaculate textures. However, the art style is so strong that the impressiveness of the visuals just adds to the wonder instead of being boringly photorealistic. With all that eye candy to take in, the fact that the feature film-level soundtrack and professional voice-acting equally amaze just speaks to their quality.
Luckily for players, all of that awesome presentation is in service of an awesome experience. Leo’s Fortune's simple controls have players swiping to the sides to move, up to inflate/jump, and down to land hard. From that foundation, the game’s 24 levels offer a plethora of incredible physics-based environmental puzzles and old-school platforming challenges. Often times players will have to wedge Leo into tight spaces and inflate him to activate some kind of machine like a pulley or a pirate ship cannon. They’ll also frequently be sending him through looping tunnels to build up momentum like classic Sonic the Hedgehog. Some levels also test the player’s reflexes, like a section where Leo must jump “upstream” across a crumbling stone column. Parts like that don’t always work well with touch controls, but the game does feature controller support. Besides, there are a generous amount of checkpoints and one mediocre task doesn’t negate the numerous stellar setpieces.
In a market full of cheap clones and thinly-veiled cash grabs, it’s always nice to get a reminder of how there’s truly nothing keeping mobile games from being just as great as their console cousins. Leo’s Fortune is that next reminder.