Hidden Dragon Legend (Review)
The story of Hidden Dragon Legend is a serviceable, but not particularly original setup, but the same can be said about many aspects of the game. For example, you’ll find that the visuals in Hidden Dragon Legend don’t look bad, especially for an Indie title. There are some beautiful backdrops behind you as you play, featuring ancient Chinese temples, mountains, and – yes – the bamboo forest.
Look closely at the character models, however, and you’ll be less impressed, even in cutscenes. Animations also could be smoother, for example, your character floats oddly on top of the ground when he walks. But it helps that you are always moving, and developers Oasis Games try their best to vary the scenery as you go.
The two things you’ll do most in Hidden Dragon Legend are platforming and fighting. Platforming, using jump and double-jump actions, is a bit imprecise, and I found myself falling off edges a fair bit at first as I got used to this. It is nice that levels are often designed so that you can take multiple routes above or below to get around, and there are even some bonus chests in which you can find extra health potions.
And you’ll need those health potions because combat is simple but can be tricky in an unfair way, especially as you progress. After you have gone a certain distance in a level, everything stops and you must take on a group of enemies, a Boss, or maybe both before you can continue. Taking on a single enemy is straightforward, and there are in theory lots of moves available including light, heavy and ranged dagger attacks at your disposal. You can also punch upwards using the left stick, throwing your opponent in the air and allowing you to pummel them like a ragdoll.
Progressing on, your character discovers more and more of the facts of his story and unlocks hidden powers (that’s the upgrading system, although I didn’t feel like it added a lot of difference to combat). Much like other aspects of the game, the production values, including music and voice acting, are passable but not outstanding. You won’t find yourself particularly fascinated by the narrative, but it acts as a competent enough basis for the combat and platforming.
Hidden Dragon Legend is not a terrible game, and it does try hard at times. Some decent art design and combat mechanics offer the potential for a bit of enjoyment. However, it doesn’t present enough variation in gameplay to stay fresh, and the combat – a major part of the game – begins to break down when things get hectic. Irritation, frustration, and maybe boredom will begin to seep in after the initial fun, making this platforming adventure less than legendary.