App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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I’m the kind of person who can usually tell what playing a game will be like from a video. There are just certain “tells” that I’ve come to recognize that hint at things such as poor controls, high replayability, and so on. So I thought I knew what I was getting into when I started playing Quantum Legacy HD for the first time. I was expecting a simplistic time-killing space shooter. What I got was an unexpectedly strategic arcade-style space shooter that’s not so much a time-killer as a time vampire. Because it sucks up lots of time. Get it?
Quantum Legacy HD is touted as an on-rails space shooter, and for the most part that’s an accurate (if understated) summary. Players flit from zone to zone taking down any hostiles they find. Which is fairly straightforward because everything is hostile. Every so often bosses will be encountered, some spanning multiple bouts over the whole level while others are one long fight, and once they’re down it’s usually Mission Complete. New playable ships can be unlocked every five missions and can also be fitted with three different weapons and shields (each with varying effects) that become available through leveling up or simply progressing.
The controls are simple with one button for shields, another for shooting, and tilting to make very slight course adjustments, but it’s the delicate balance between these elements that makes Quantum Legacy HD much more complex - and by extension, fun - than it might initially look. Both firing and cowering have limits, so holding either button for too long can result in overheating followed by some very tense moments of inactivity. Running out of shields with a mass of projectiles incoming is a situation worth avoiding. So careful use of each tool is important. It’s also important to balance them out as they can’t be used at the same time. Enemies are bound by these same rules, however, which makes what would have been a typical dogfight something much more strategic.
There was an odd hiccup at the end of the first mission where the final encounter wouldn’t trigger for me, resulting in several minutes of drifting around until finally deciding to restart, but I was able to progress after a few tries. A more constant problem for me would be the voices. In short, they’re terrible. In long, they sound satirical but it pushes things too far and just end up being annoying. Especially Blair, and Blair talks a lot.
I never would’ve expected Quantum Legacy HD to have strategic elements hidden underneath the arcade on-rails shooting, but it does and it’s all the better for it. Scouring the galaxy for badguys ends up being quite a bit of fun. The kind of fun that just about any iOS gamer can enjoy.