Leo’s Fortune is a grand adventure on Android and iOS. In a market that normally hesitates at spending over .99 cents (at least upfront) for games, Leo’s Fortune asks you to pay an uncommon $4.99. But with a higher price tag, can you expect a higher quality game?
The higher than regular asking price coincides with the higher than regular visuals. There’s no denying this is one of the most beautiful apps I’ve ever played. But the beauty is in more than the art style and fidelity. Leo’s Fortune runs at a solid 60fps. Ignoring the recent web drama over frames per second, it’s easy to see Leo’s Fortune is better for its 60fps gameplay. Moving, jumping, floating, and just taking in the visuals are all enriched with the smooth frame rate.
“We would not settle for 30fps.” said 1337 + Senri, the team behind Leo’s Fortune.
Leo himself controls well. The game has two simple controls; The left thumb goes back and forth to move, and the right thumb swipes up and down to inflate/deflate or jump. The game uses its simple controls to its advantage in concentrating on beautiful levels to traverse with obstacles requiring skill over precise ways to approach them. Leo’s Fortune proves good controls can exist on a mobile game when you embrace the touch screen rather than fight it with on-screen controls and tapping.
Environments range from a decrepit desert to a storm swept port town. Occasionally I would slow down just to take in the scenery. The use of foreground objects makes the world feel more immersive and 3-dimensional, a feeling that’s, for the most part, completely non-existent in the mobile gaming space. The presentation alone of Leo’s Fortune helps alleviate some of its more significant problems.
The puzzles are too simplistic. There was never a moment in the game where I had to stop and think about what I needed to do to get from point A to point B. The challenge came in navigating around the course to get to where I needed to go.
Simplistic puzzles are normally suited for a mobile game. Mobile games are made to be played in small bursts; for example, standing in line or waiting for the microwave to finish cooking. But Leo’s Fortune’s puzzles don’t require even a brief moment of thought before knowing what to do, and at times I would question having them in the first place. However, the puzzles are never boring, just simple, and playing around with the physics made for great platforming. Swinging from a hanging platform or using leverage for a boost feels satisfying to pull off.
Leo’s Fortune lacks any toggles for music or sound. For $5, there really isn’t is an excuse for not having such a basic feature that exists in most free games. It might seem like a small feature to not have, but mobile games are for on the go, and having the option to supplement the game’s music with a podcast (did you know TechRaptor started its own podcast?) or play your own music would have been nice. With that said, the game’s music is perfectly serviceable for the atmosphere of each level.
Levels rarely feature deviating paths, and there is little incentive for players to explore outside of the occasional off-screen token for the completionist player. Once the game is finished, “Hardcore” mode puts your skills to the test with a one life, no continue play through of the entire game. Beyond that, there isn’t much to see after the game is finished beyond its gorgeous art and levels.
The story of Leo’s Fortune is told through desaturated flashbacks as Leo attempts to deduce the thief who stole his fortune. Each story segment is no longer than a minute or so, and gets to the point quickly, letting you get the story and get back to the gameplay. The story has a feel-good, whimsical tone the whole way through, and I was always captivated by what Leo had to say.
Leo’s fantastic voice acting is leagues better than a number of characters I’ve seen in console video games, anime and animation. Leo’s murmurs and mumbles as he traverses the game make him more than just an avatar for the player. Hearing his cries of excitement after beating an obstacle or commentary on the level are a joy to hear. He isn’t quite Glados or John Marston in terms of fully realized characters, but given that a protagonist in a mobile game even has a character beyond his physical design is something to respect.
The most respectable feature of the game is that there are no in-app purchases. There are 19 main story levels within 5 chapters and every additional level is unlocked based on your performance.
Every person who knew I paid $5 to try Leo’s Fortune had the same reaction.
“I can’t believe you paid five dollars for an app!?”
Yet any time I pulled my phone out for a quick level on the bus or while waiting in class, I often got a diffrent reaction from people.
“Woah, what game is that, that looks really fun?”
My point is that games can be priced outside our established schema. Skyrim and Alien: Colonial Marines both cost $60 at release. One game is significantly more well received than the other. Skyrim is worth more than Alien: Colonial Marines. Similarly, Leo’s Fortune is worth more than Candy Crush. The price of one game does not mean a higher priced game is overpriced just because it is in the same category.
Leo’s Fortune is worth $5. It isn’t the best, or longest game I’ve ever played on my phone, but I would happily pay $5 for a quality game like Leo’s Fortune, than get 10 free apps that I’ll play twice and never use again.