For those who don’t know, Lode Runner legacy is a remake of the 80's classic, where you take on the role of a lone adventurer tackling forces of evil to collect coins and save the day. That's it, simple and to the point. Remember this title came from an era of where classic adventures didn’t need a story, just a guy collecting objects and avoiding various obstacles. This is more akin to one of Rare’s titles and focuses on creating a simple dynamic to enhance gameplay and develop and mixture of lateral and platforming elements.
This retro revamp retains the original design structure of the 80's classic but adds in modern elements to appeal to a new audience. New additions include a beautiful visual style that's inspired by its retro counterpart and a ton of extra gameplay features.
As the Lode Runner, your task is to gather a number of tokens throughout various stages, while avoiding a number of different threats. The concept is simple yet highly enjoyable for those looking for fun platformer with lateral elements and pretty visuals. Taking place in single stages, the Lode Runner will have to traverse along altering platforms and ladders to reach tokens, with a majority of levels being designed neatly and with a natural sense of flow.
The Lode Runner might be similar to the likes of Mario but has one defining feature in the gameplay. Players will be able to shoot the floor beneath them and create holes, thus destroying blockages on route or to create access to an opening below them. As the core gameplay mechanic, this allows traversal aspects into the level design and also a form of defence/combat. Most levels harbour lateral challenges, while others include some form of combat that usually includes evading enemies and traps you'll have to avoid. This can be done by luring an enemy to your position, shooting the floor to create a form of trap and let the NPC drop in. You can use them as a form of walkway before the gap is filled a few seconds later, thus eliminating the enemy.
What did cause a problem with my experience was a total lack of instructions on how to play. It took about 15 minutes to discover that I was able to shoot a hole in the floor, thus knowing the core function and centre of gameplay. I understand this is meant to be a causal and fun game but at least have a text box saying what keys do what or a keyboard map in the options menu. I'm not familiar with the game as I've never played the original so I didn't know about this core mechanic. I was for the 15 minutes trying to jump until I realized my character couldn't.
There are 50 levels in total, each expanding in design and complexity. There are new elements introduced over the course of the campaign including traps and enemies. It's a shame that the enemy behaviours don’t differ much from one another that that there are no dynamics in the level design. Overall, not enough is brought throughout the campaign to keep in interesting or avoid it feeling somewhat repetitive. The saving grace would the expansive nature to the level design, that grows in scale and complexity which does help keep the sense of challenge alive but only in last dozen or so levels.
The main highlight for me was the puzzle campaign, which hosts a series of different challenge rooms that focus more on a lateral element. This campaign kept things simple but managed to gradually push my skills in lateral thinking with a host of cleaver and often challenging puzzle rooms. There's an immense amount of content waiting to be played with different modes and features that'll keep you invested. There's leader boards along with a map creation tool, item and character creation and a mode that allows you to share maps you’ve designed and play maps others have made.
Lode Runner is a vastly enjoyable platformer with a ton of content, including the original game from 1983. Sadly there is no co-op mode which would have been amazing, yet maybe for a sequel or update, the developers could consider it. Lode Runner doesn’t push the bar in terms of dynamics but rather keeps things simple and fun for all players to enjoy.
++ Tons of content
+ Simple yet enjoyable gameplay
+ High replay value
-- Slight repetition in main campaign
Check out the Lode Runner Legacy Steam product page here
A Steam copy of Lode Runner Legacy was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.