Despite avid mobile gaming and plenty of opportunity, I don’t often play many tower defense games. They just seldom click with me. The Legend of Evil looks to change that by putting you down in the action in a side-scrolling tower defense game where you try and subjugate the forces of the living humans with demon towers in this incredibly adorable tale of evil. March across the world of the living spawning in your demon towers to fight your way across each level.
The gameplay of Legend of Evil is pretty straightforward. You play as an evil figure, named Bill, who seeks to stomp across the country-side taking out the living by building demon towers spawn minions. Once a tower is built a timer pops up underneath them that show when the next minion will spawn in. Once spawned they will trot across the map and fight any humans they encounter to try and reach the other side of the current stage. There is also little extras as you go, some buried gold you can dig up as a bonus, new tower nodes as your forces march onward. Each level feels like it was made to be fairly bite-sized and this works great, especially when playing on the go.
The side-scrolling nature of this means you need to also be aware of how far away you are from towers if you want to upgrade them. The game helps by making your main character immaterial. You can dash around the screen since you don’t interact with the humans and it allows you to scout out what’s coming without putting yourself in a dangerous spot. As humans are slayed by your forces they also drop additional souls you can collect. Finding gold or clearing levels also gives you currency you can use between the levels to upgrade your units and towers. Unfortunately losing a match doesn’t allow you to use what you would have gained from the level to power up.
The game features quite a bit of progression in unlocking new minions, new tower types and powers. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to push through the complete campaign because if there is anything to be said about this game, it is that it is hard as hell. As soon as you are dropped into the stage you have to build and build frantically before the first wave of humans pushes across the screen and steamrolls all your units destroying you incredibly quickly. Each map allows you to switch to an easy mode, which also reduces the types of rewards you can achieve, but even after dropping every map into easy mode I still find myself losing a handful of times before I can find a strategy that keeps pace with how quickly they drop more and more enemies on you.
Bloodborn, Hollow Knight, Hyperlight Drifter are a few examples of tough games that I love. These games have a difficulty to them, but they also do one very important thing that I think The Legend of Evil falls short on. Those games all telegraph, very clearly, what you’ve done wrong, or how you’ve messed up. Being hit in any of those games is made to feel like and sound like a devastating event. The games also work hard to reinforce the mechanics they want you to learn, generally in a way to make sure you’ve mastered it before they move on to the next thing. However when I find myself losing over and over in The Legend of Evil it never feels very clear what went wrong. Most levels have me spawning in two towers, getting a resource tower up, and then suddenly watching a large mass of humans just march across everything I’ve built without a second glance. That’s after I’ve already dropped to easy mode. This doesn’t make the game fun with its challenge, it makes the game frustrating.
The Legend of Evil, despite its gameplay and progression system just didn’t connect with me. The incredible difficulty without much signifiers of what I had done wrong just rubbed me the wrong way. There is a certain audience that a hardcore tower defense game could garner, but it instantly had me pushing off playing more so I could play something a little softer, like Hollow Knight or Dark Souls. With Swords and Soldiers 2 also coming to Switch soon it’s really hard to recommend The Legend of Evil without a better difficulty balance.
Note: GameOctane editor Beau Severson received a digital code from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing this game. Any code or product intended for reviews is distributed to the team to review and stream for our audience.
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Unique take on castle defense
Lots of progression and unlockables
Very steep difficulty ramp
Could use better tutorialization