Nick Anderson has just successfully broken into the insidious Stryker Corporation’s deepest facilities, wherein he finally found the focal point of his mission: the legendary gauntlet containing the soul of Havoc (a dragon). With gauntlet now in hand — or, perhaps to put it more accurately, on hand — Nick Anderson has one of two paths to choose from: he can either sneak his way back out, or he can lay down a swath of total destruction. Thus goes the premise to Legendary Strike (out now, $0.99), an Endless Runner from Tuff Husky Entertainment which — depending on how you’re feeling at any given moment — is actually two completely different games in one package.
In Legendary Strike’s Evasion Mode you’ll aim to jump and slide your way past Stryker’s various security systems, while occasionally augmenting your progress via the gauntlet’s mythical powers. Meanwhile, obliteration minded players can instead choose to toss caution — as well as all of their enemies’ corpses — to the wind as they attempt to escape Stryker by smashing everything in Destruction Mode. Coins earned by playing either of these game modes will be pooled together into one large cache; however, any upgrades purchased with these coins will be specific to precisely one mode or the other.
Evasion Mode — which is the more traditional of Legendary Strike’s two modes — allows players to leap upwards by swiping up, and slide across the floor by swiping downwards. Players may additionally perform a double-jump by swiping up twice in rapid succession, although — unlike most other games with double-jumping functionality — these two swipes need to be performed as close together as possible (which will initially throw many off). Players may — during all of this — additionally strive to gather the many coins strewn all about all the Stryker Corporation (apparently evil corporations can’t be bothered to ever put their cash away, and instead leave it curiously floating all over their hideout).
Apparently the Stryker Corporation was quite ready for someone such as Nick invading their base, and have wisely chosen to place many incidences of the exact same trap next to each other. Once Nick has begun an evasive maneuver he may not repeat it until after the animation has fully ended, which generally won’t leave him with enough time remaining afterward in which to immediately avoid the exact same hurdle all over again. What the Stryker Corporation didn’t expect — however — is that Nick can immediately cancel from an epic slide into a mighty leap (as well as vice versa), and then promptly re-cancel that jump back into an all new slide to cleverly deal with devious traps like this.
Although not exactly all that unique or ground-breaking, the action found in Legendary Strike’s Evasion Mode does a decent enough job of being a passable Endless Runner experience. There is — however — one giant glaring problem that I truly hope is remedied in the near future: chiefly, that the entire game lags up for a split-second each and every time you gather up any of the aforementioned floating coins. Between the game’s rather low-key presentation — and the fact I was tackling this on an iPod Touch 5 — I highly doubt this dilemma rested with my hardware, leaving only Tuff Husky’s coding to blame.
Whereas iTunes is already filled to the brim with Endless Runners where you leap and slide your way past various obstacles, it is Legendary Strike’s annihilation centered Destruction Mode that is far more noteworthy. Herein Nick uses the gauntlet’s legendary prowess to smite every last Stryker Corporation agent foolish enough block his way, thus taking care of two birds with a single stone (or — if you prefer — with a single gauntlet). Thankfully, Destruction Mode additionally doesn’t suffer from the bizarre slow-down issues that constantly plagued Legendary Strike’s Evasion Mode (although this might be due to the lack of oddly floating coins, with Nick instead being paid for defeated foes).
Dragging a finger from Nick out in any direction will cause him to fire an energy blast in that self-same direction, which — should it connect — has the ability knock any nearby Stryker agents out of the sky. Nick will have to be careful — however — as the majority of Stryker’s agents are actively using jetpacks, meaning that Nick’s shots will often miss if he doesn’t take care to properly lead his attacks based on the enemy’s momentum. Naturally these airborne targets will be all too happy to return fire back at Nick Anderson if given half a chance; unfortunately — unlike Star Wars’ Storm Troopers — these agents of evil are all top-notch marksmen, so it will pay to take them down as quickly as possible.
Sometimes Nick will be faced with an entire swarm of jetpack using soldiers all at once, at which point — if he wants to survive — he’ll have no choice but to unleash the dragon’s full fury in one fell swoop (thankfully you’ll know when as these guys are always in red). This is executed by dragging your finger across the screen — passing through each enemy along the way — until there’s a yellow reticule placed over the entire lot, at which point releasing the screen will summon forth a fiery serpent bent on taking them all down. Finally — on rare occasion — Nick will be faced with singular super heavy units, and these can be defeated by holding your finger on them until a massive ice-blast is released (but be careful, as they almost always show up with other enemy agents backing them up).
In either of these two modes you’ll occasionally find power-ups – either just lying around in Evasion Mode, or dropped by yellow soldiers in Destruction Mode — which can temporarily aid Nick on his quest. These include things such as temporarily invincibility -the ability to transform into a dragon, jetting far forward for a brief period of time — to even having fire rain down from the sky, and most of these can be found in both modes. Whereas collected power-ups will immediately be activated when grabbed in Evasion Mode, they get stored up for later — to then be activated, via tapping, at your leisure — at the screen’s bottom when playing Destruction Mode.
I’ll admit that I certainly enjoyed the Destruction Mode quite a bit more — in particular its offbeat destroy everything motif, compared to the far more common genre norm — but, then again, this might also have something to do with the aforementioned coin-lag issue. Presumably the coin-lag issue will be remedied in the near future, after which — although not necessarily ground breaking — the more traditional Evasion Mode should be far more playable as well. The only remaining point of disappointment to discuss would be that Legendary Strike — despite having an upfront cost — also offers to sell coins via IAP, although my initial time with it suggests that you can easily grind for all the upgrades.
iFanzine Verdict: In a unique twist, Tuff Husky Entertainment’s Legendary Strike tries to be two wholly different Endless Runners — one where you avoid everything, and the other where you obliterate everything — all contained within one tidy package. Although the more offbeat Destruction Mode is certainly where Legendary Strike shines the best, the Evasion Mode should probably shape up once the aforementioned coin-lag issue is finally remedied. Although Legendary Strike is admittedly not the absolute most top-tier Endless Runner ever made, it’s still a very functional game that — again, ignoring the coin-lag issue — manages to bring some new ideas to the table.