Die Die Die, My Darling
HIGH An interesting take on city-building gameplay with roguelike features.
LOW It might take a while to get the various mechanics down.
WTF Don’t get distracted or your city might burn to the ground!
Dice are the bread and butter of any serious RPG player — one wouldn’t dare to leave the house without a bag full, for fear of getting caught without them for a quick D&D match! Jokes aside, dice have also been appearing more often in videogames lately, sometimes in cartoonish form (Dicey Dungeons) or in more serious ones like Hand of Fate and its sequel, but in Dice Legacy, they are the backbone of our little kingdom.
In Dice Legacy, the player interfaces with the world from a disembodied ‘god view’ perspective and is tasked with building a colony on a strange vertically-oriented, ring-shaped world. They must provide food, collect resources and build shelter for all the inhabitants of the land, all in real time. This is easier said than done, since everything relies on the luck of the dice — each one represents a character that can be sent to work, and their ability depends on the face they land on after a roll. Rather than the traditional numeric 1-6 pips, each die has skills.
At the start, there is only the basic class (Peasant), which mainly does manual labor. Upgrading it further (to Citizen, for example) can also unlock schools, universities and a whole different set of economic buildings. One twist is that a die can only be rolled a limited number of times before it’s depleted. More can be created (born?) but the player has to always try to keep ahead and make more than are being used up.
Dice Legacy seems simple at first — roll some dice, place the ‘workers’ in slots where they will do their jobs, and repeat. However, there’s a layer of complex mechanisms with a hint of roguelike gameplay hidden underneath, since rolling dice is also the only way to defend the city from attack. Seasons also play a part, and winter can be punishing on our dwellers — they may end up frozen while working in the cold.
The gameplay in Legacy can be addictive, but it suffers a bit from having to constantly balance the durability of the die and the need to have different classes and faces available. There’s also little automation at play — each resource must be gathered manually, and when faced with so much to tend to, I wonder if perhaps having the option to play turn-based might have eased some of these rough edges.
Graphically, Legacy goes for a pseudo-medieval steampunk RTS look, which is solid despite there not being much to look at outside of some well-done environmental and weather effects. I am still in the dark regarding the choice to employ a ring-shaped world, though. Basically, the player can see the rest of the world in the distance shrouded by fog and everything is on a slope curving upwards, it is indeed like climbing the inside of a ring. It’s a neat visual effect, but that’s all it seems to be since it doesn’t come into play as a mechanic.
In the end, Legacy is an odd little title which might end up disappointing both fan of RTS and those looking for something more casual, since it sits right in the middle of these two flavors. That said, I do recommend it to those not afraid to try something a little outside of their comfort zone.
Disclosures: This game is developed by DESTINYbit and published by Ravenscourt. It is currently available on PC. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on PC. Approximately 3.5 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode and a single run of the game was completed. There are no multiplayer modes.
Parents: The game is rated T by the ESRB for Alcohol Reference and Fantasy Violence. Its violence mainly comes into play when invaders raze our buildings to the ground while attacking our die, but even so, I think it can be easily recommended to the teen audience.
Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available.
Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: This game features little spoken dialogue, while the rest of the game is text based. No audio cues are needed for gameplay. Text cannot be altered or resized. In my view, the game is fully accessible.
Remappable Controls: The game is controlled via the mouse with some additional keyboard shortcuts, and it is not possible to remap the controls.