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Doctor Who: Legacy (November 2013) Review

Doctor Who: iOS and Android app

Developed by: Tiny Rebel Games and Seed Studio
Published by: Tiny Rebel Games LLC under license from BBC Worldwide
Doctor Who: Legacy

Reviewed by Louis Rabinowitz for The Gallifrey Times

Doctor Who apps are hard to come by. I’m sure no-one remembers 2010’s mediocre effort The Mazes of Time, and for a show now fully invested in zealously integrating itself with the 2013 world (#SaveTheDay being a prime example), it’s interesting to see that Doctor Who: Legacy is the first proper Doctor Who app in a while. So, does it succeed? Read on to find out!

Legacy has a great hook – play through some of the Doctor’s most recent adventures (this reviewer has come up against Nightmare in Silver, Asylum of the Daleks and The Snowmen so far, but Series 6 is also available) with a crack team of Doctor Who characters who you can level up and develop new skills. It’s quite the pitch, but it also sets some fairly high expectations for it, which Legacy mainly meets.

The style of gameplay in Legacy is deceptively simple – there’s a grid of gems on the bottom half of the screen that you swipe around to get chains, which in turn cause damage to enemies such as Cybermen, Daleks or er… snowmen. It’s more fun than it sounds, and involves a great deal of strategy – you can seal your own defeat with the wrong tactics, or score a huge combo to smack down the enemy in one in just one go. It also demands attention, with the enemies having cooldowns until they attack.

Legacy actually has a plot of its own – Sontarans invade the Earth and cause time paradoxes, but it’s mainly an excuse to whizz back through Series 7, and later Series 6 of Doctor Who as viewed through the prism of selected episodes. The attention to detail is fairly impressive, with locations such as the Dalek Asylum instantly recognizable from the impressive design. Graphics are also rather good, with characters such as the Eleventh Doctor far more recognisable than the Doctor’s usual guise in Doctor Who games.

Where Legacy comes up trumps is the skewed fun the app has with Who lore. It’s a lot of fun to face off against the Great Intelligence in his lair, but it’s even better to fight Reapers (from Father’s Day) on Hedgwick’s World or have a play-through of The Snowmen interrupted by a battle with the Silence. The unpredictability leads to a lot of fun moments – but that’s not to denounce the more linear episodes, which are still frantic fun.

The ‘team’ mechanic is also smartly implemented, starting off with characters such as the Eleventh Doctor and Vastra, but eventually unlocking the Tenth Doctor and far more characters from the New Who era. The game lets you replay any level, so there’s the chance to take the Tenth Doctor, Jenny, Rose, Porridge and Captain Avery to fight against the Statue of Liberty.

There’s a small problem with Legacy though – content. While there’s a lot of content available at the moment (25 hours, fact fans), only Series 7 and Series 6 are available to play at launch, but further characters such as classic Doctors and companions are pending. On the bright side, Series 5 is coming in a free update soon – and with the entire 50 year history of Doctor Who to use, it’s unlikely that the developers will be running out of ideas any time soon.

Overall,  Legacy is far from a sandbox game, but it’s essentially a big sand pit to muck around with your favourite Who characters from your favourite episodes in clever and enjoyable puzzles. To hell with continuity, you can take your team to any point (of the ones that are provided) in Who for battles with a cornucopia of villains. It might be a tad repetitive, but Legacy sure has some legs in it, and is quite the bundle of fun.

The Gallifrey Times Rating: 9/10
Thanks to BBC Worldwide, Tiny Rebel Games, Seed Studio and Indigo Pearl for the review copy of the game. Also, the key phrase for the final code for the Historical Pack is ‘Legacy’. You’re welcome. Tell us on Twitter quick!