Dark Legends Hands-On Preview

Spacetime Studios has already proven that free, 3D MMORPGs can work on the iPhone or iPad– just look at the extraordinarily success of Pocket Legends and Star Legends. But while Pocket Legends featured cutesy fantasy animals and Star Legends had sci-fi spaceships, their next game is a lot darker and more mature.

Dark Legends is a vampire-themed MMORPG, and like the first two Legends games, it’ll be free to download and play. You’ll only need to pay money if you want to buy upgrades for your character or extra health packs, but it’s completely optional.

You start Dark Legends by customizing your character, a recent vampire convert who finds him or herself in the middle of a public anti-vampire campaign. Vampires are exposed and hunted in this world, so nobody will think twice about witnessing a bloody rampage on the streets.

Before you jump into combat, you’ll have to progress through a few non-interactive cutscenes, which use a bit of your day’s energy. You’ll also have to wait before jumping into some missions, which you can speed along by paying the rarer premium currency. The first cutscene we saw were simple– just our character scoping out a target, earning a few experience points and gold coins at the same time. This led us into the larger, more familiar instance of a street filled with poisonous zombies.

Combat felt much better–and gorier– than in Pocket Legends. You can now press down to charge your vampire’s main attacks and magic spells, which adds a bit more depth. You can also use cool dark magic abilities, like summoning a swarm of rats to nibble at your enemies, or exploding their guts with a burst of blood.

The characters in the game are more proportional, which lends the game a slightly more realistic look. We were reminded of the Bloodrayne series due to the more violent, mature visual style. Also like in Bloodrayne, you can occasionally leap onto an enemy to drain them of blood, which refills your combination magic and health pool.

Dark Legends will launch in the next few months, and it’ll be a Kindle Fire exclusive for two weeks. After that, the iOS version will be submitted to Apple for approval. If you like bloody vampire stories like True Blood, and the online combat of World of Warcraft, keep an eye out for Dark Legends.