Version Reviewed: 1.0.2
Device Reviewed On: iPod touch 4, iPad 1
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Star Legends: The Blackstar Chronicles is a mobile MMORPG from Spacetime Studios that may be technically the game that has had the longest development cycle in mobile gaming. Though the game was originally meant for traditional computer platforms, it got stuck in development hell and was only recently unearthed after the launch of last year's Pocket Legends. This game uses a similar backbone, supporting play between users of different platforms, including iOS and Android players.
Star Legends' story has players taking on various missions for several corporations aboard the Blackstar spaceship. Players choose from three classes: the hulking Commando, the skill-based Engineer, and the Operative that primarily targets single enemies. The combat system involves an auto-firing weapon, and skills that the player can map on the main screen. Star Legends is free to play, with Platinum available for purchase that can be used to obtain additional money, items, and enhancements. Star Legends is thankfully built for mobile gaming; it is very easy to just log in and go to a mission, with players joining as they may. The game also offers options for friends lists and Guild management for deeper and more organized play sessions. Still, this is a game that can be played very casually on a whim for short play sessions. Don't be afraid to leave the house!
However, Star Legends' cross-platform gameplay is perhaps its greatest strength; players can load up any client that the game runs on, be it an iOS device or an Android device, phone or tablet, using their same character and platinum when logged in to the same Spacetime Studios account. This platform agnosticism is perhaps the most impressive part of Star Legends; the game just works, no matter what system.
This is a free to play game; while not spending money is certainly an option, Star Legends is not afraid to give advantages to those who do spend money. By spending money, players can easily earn additional experience, boost their stats, and even get better items at the very beginning. This may put some people off right away, though nothing is necessary. Combat can be very finnicky at times, especially targeting special abilities. If the enemy targeted when an ability is used suddenly dies, the next enemy isn't targeted, leading much ability usage to go to waste. While mashing the attack button to lock on works as well, it just doesn't feel as clean. It is possible at times for enemies to overwhelm players to the point where it is impossible to respawn without enemies instantly killing the player. This is supremely annoying, to say the least. The game seems to have limited amounts of gameplay past level 25, though it is likely that Spacetime Studios will add more in the way of content as time goes on, especially as they supported Pocket Legends long after release.
Star Legends is as much a feat of technical impressiveness as it also successful as a casual MMORPG experience. This is a genre that is teeming with potential, but thanks in part to games just wanting to directly copy World of Warcraft, has become stale, and overly demanding of players. Getting more of a short-burst gameplay experience, and feeling like I don't need to be overly committed to a game is rather refreshing.