Being completely covered in blue (or greenish blue, whatever) fur is not enough for Leo, the protagonist fluffball in Leo’s Fortune – he also has a stylish mustache. Leo was a well-off ball of fuzz when suddenly bam. All his gold was stolen. The thief made one mistake, though. A trail of coins could lead Leo to his fortune, but only if you can navigate this lush world brimming with danger.
At its most basic, Leo’s Fortune is a side-scrolling platformer with a few physics-based puzzles. This has been done before, but the clever and often amusing nature of this game makes it stand out. Each level has a variety of obstacles and traps that you must contend with, all the while picking up gold. You can advance to the next level simply by finishing, but there are three optional challenges in each level – collect all the gold, don’t die, and complete it in a certain time. Each objective grants you a star, which combine to unlock special bonus stages.
The puzzles in Leo’s Fortune are incredibly fun, but maybe a little too easy. I find myself getting excited when Leo intones, in his non-specific eastern European accent, “Ah, it’s some kind of puzzle.” You might have to move some boxes from one place to another to activate a lever, or use your own mass to control a machine that moves weights around for you. It’s mostly about moving mass from one place to another, but there’s usually a neat twist unique to that section of the game.
It’s not all puzzling in Leo’s Fortune. Some levels are heavy on platforming and avoiding dangerous spiky objects. It takes a little practice to control Leo’s near-weightless jumps, but you’ll get it figured out. After getting comfortable, you can skip through levels, barely touching the ground.
The story isn’t terribly deep, but it serves as sufficient background across the game’s 20 campaign levels. Much of the tale is laid out at the beginning when you first load up Leo’s Fortune, but the game is actually using this opportunity to download additional resources while you’re occupied. That’s pretty smart.
It can be annoying to play a precision platformer with touchscreen controls, but Leo’s Fortune is pretty forgiving. A small miscalculation isn’t always going to send you tumbling into an abyss or drop you on to a floor of spikes. I mean, it will sometimes, but it’s possible to recover by puffing up like a balloon and maneuvering out of danger.
You get around by sliding left and right on the left side of the screen. Leo doesn’t walk, or even roll. He just sort of… goes. Dragging up on the right half of the screen inflates Leo like a beach ball, which is essentially a jump. Dragging down lets you dive downward at an accelerated rate to depress switches and levers. These controls also work for managing your depth in the game’s underwater sections. And I should point out, the underwater sections are excellent (it’s easy to make underwater platforming annoying, just ask Sonic).
I like the swipe controls, but there are also buttons you can enable. The nice thing about the default control scheme is that you can’t miss the buttons because there aren’t any. That’s a nice thing to have in a platformer.
I want to hug Leo. He looks like the softest ball of fluff in the universe, and keep in mind this is agame. It’s really incredible how real these graphics look. The textures are amazingly detailed and there’s not a hint of aliasing to be found. The realistic rendering of lighting and weather add to the experience immensely as well.
I’m also impressed with the effective use of layered backgrounds and foregrounds to create a feeling of depth. It’s easily one of the most polished visual experiences on Android. The devs get a big thumbs up for supporting immersive mode on KitKat as well.
There aren’t a ton of levels, so the environments are quite distinct as you move through the game. You don’t have a chance to get bored with any particular look or style of traps, because things are always evolving. It almost feels wrong to complete the time-trial objective in each level because the amazing, detailed environments in Leo’s Fortune are meant to be savored.
Should You Buy It?
Leo’s Fortune comes out tomorrow (July 10th) and will cost $4.99. Happily, that’s it. There are no in-app purchases with which to contend. If all you care about is finishing the game, Leo’s Fortune will take a few hours to beat. There is no limit to the number of times you can kick the bucket, and it has only 20 levels. The challenge comes in collecting all the stars, which is not easy. There is also a hardcore mode that includes no extra lives, so a single death starts you back at the beginning.
Already showing up on Android TV!
This is very close to the perfect touchscreen platformer, so it’s definitely something you should consider picking up. I’m not too concerned about the somewhat easy puzzles, but I wish there were more levels in Leo’s Fortune. The game is so insanely gorgeous, I just want more of it. I hope someone steals the furball’s gold again.