Legacy Mystery Mansion: review

Ever since the humble beginnings of the likes of Tetris, it has been proven that a certain type of person will find immeasurable pleasure in lining up shapes for points. Slightly more recently this same simple notion carried over to what is referred to as the ‘match-three’ genre, the most well known of which probably being Popcap’s Bejeweled games. In the same vein as the aforementioned game, DNA-interactive’s Legacy Mystery Mansion is a match-three title available for iOS (iPhone and iPad) and also on Android phones.

The setting is pitched thus: you have inherited an ancient mansion from a distant relative (which may or may not be haunted to no discernible end either way) and must restore the building to its former glory by piecing together shattered antiquities. The entirety of this plot is given to you in the form of a letter when you begin the game, which admittedly isn’t exactly clear on what or how you are supposed to do much of anything. That isn’t to say that the match-three game type is complicated, just that it is not put forward in a conventional way.

When you are greeted with a grid based game board filled with four or five different types of object (which you can shift one space in any direction to try and create a row of three) you might instantly be inclined to aim for as high a score as possible like Bejeweled or others. However this is actually not the goal here. Scattered amongst all these shapes are unique parts of an antique, and the real goal is to funnel these pieces down to the very bottom of the board so that they are collected.

There isn’t clarity to explain this goal, nor is there any regarding the dice in the lower right (which mix up every panel on the board) or the brooms (which you can collect and use to erase a whole line in the grid). It feels like a couple of extra bits of text just mentioning these things would have gone a long way.

The mansion is broken into five areas, each having a different theme to the objects that appear in the game board and each of these areas have five total puzzles for a total of twenty five. These boards are varied well enough and colourful to a point, but the music feels like it drones on a bit and isn’t varied enough. Assuming only liberal use of the dice and brooms it can be quite challenging to get the antique pieces where they need to be – though it’s also safe to say that without using either you can frequently get stuck in a situation which you cannot win.

The game is clearly aware how important using the brooms can be, as you can buy them – as well as time boosters – from the in-game store for real money if you are so inclined; though we couldn’t possibly fathom why you would be. As an example: three brooms cost the same as buying the game.

Where fault can also be found is in the overall presentation of the game – it just comes across as boring. You might presume that if you are not a huge fan of the match-three genre this could be said for all of them, but it is obvious when an effort has been made and when it has not. Bejeweled is a colourful, loud, effect-laden match-three game with obvious goals, special gems and more to keep the player addicted. Even going further off the beaten track, effort can be found in a match-three game like Puzzle Quest which offered more by building an RPG structure on top. Legacy Mystery Mansion is as basic as it comes, isn’t fun enough, and perhaps worst of all misses the goal of creating the need to keep playing on.

Sadly, we struggled with some technical issues also. On iPhone (3GS model) the game would constantly slow to a crawl, stutter, and movements of the finger would struggle to be tracked – forcing a restart to fix it for a little while. The cause of this could not be pinned down, but we should point out that it did not seem to be present in the iPad version which we also tested.

Legacy Mystery Mansion is available for only £0.69 which is a reasonable price for a game which will not keep you coming back over a long period of time. However, compared to other superior match-three games also available at that same price it falls utterly short and should be avoided unless you are looking for a far more relaxed game within this genre.

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Written by Ian D

Misanthropic git. Dislikes: Most things. Likes: Obscure references.

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