Doctor Who: Legacy (iOS) Review

You know what Doctor Who needs? A good video game. You know what it doesn’t need? Yet another tepid match three puzzle game.

Doctor Who Legacy: On the plus side

Doctor Who Legacy is, at its core, a match 3 puzzler. Match three or more of the same colour orbs, and your chosen characters — always one Doctor and then a number of companions — will attack whoever is onscreen. Do so fast and effectively enough, and they fall, whether they’re Cybermen or Daleks.

The scriptwriting is... not exactly Neil Gaiman standard, to put it politely.
The scriptwriting is… not exactly Neil Gaiman standard, to put it politely.

Doctor Who Legacy uses a cartoon style for its visuals which is mostly pleasant, with a strong early focus on the current series and, unsurprisingly, the fact that it’s the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who and the hype factor is strong.

It’s fully licensed, so you get the proper themes, proper enemies, proper episode titles. It’s described as a “labour of love” by the developers, and I do get what they mean by that. As a longtime Doctor Who fan and a gamer, I’ve been waiting a long time for a good Doctor Who game.
It’s also free — sort of — which is pleasant enough.

Doctor Who Legacy: On the plus side

The best way I can show what’s wrong with Doctor Who: Legacy is with some gameplay, and that’s something that the 20 minute “trailer” shows off in abundance.

Side tip: A trailer is a short summation video of your product or service. The key word there is that it’s meant to be short.
That aside, while I can’t fault the characters or art style, the simple truth is that Doctor Who: Legacy is just another match three puzzler. There are loads of these things out there, many of which do match-3 puzzling in a more compelling way than Doctor Who: Legacy can actually manage.

Tap, tap, tap. The small playing area doesn't help with developing strategies, either.
Tap, tap, tap. The small playing area doesn’t help with developing strategies, either.

I won’t lie: There is part of me that’s outright annoyed that the Doctor Who IP has been matched to a simple puzzler, because there’s so much more that could be done with the concept, but that could well be a licensing issue. I don’t know, but anyone expecting an exciting adventure through time and space (hey, that sounds good…) will find the going a bit bland.
Right now you can go through seasons 7 and 6, with more promised to come, but when each adventure is just the same small match field over and over again, the impetus to do so rests solely on seeing the cartoon visuals for each enemy and companion type.
One royalty cheque, made out to "The Estate Of Mr T.Nation", coming right up!
One royalty cheque, made out to “The Estate Of Mr T.Nation”, coming right up!

That’s where the IAP comes in, as you can buy “Time Crystal” packs to unlock additional characters to play as, as well as access a “fan area” within the app that promises random item drops. The new characters do have different abilities and can be levelled up — again, this is nothing new in the match 3 space — but the core gameplay just doesn’t want to make me want to do that.
Ladies, come inside my TARDIS and see my time crystals...
Ladies, come inside my TARDIS and see my time crystals…

That says a lot, given how particularly fanatical I am about all things Doctor Who.

Doctor Who Legacy: Pricing

Doctor Who: Legacy is a free app, and, as per a statement from the developers

-You can play through every adventure of the Doctors we ever release for free.
-No energy system to stop you from playing — play the adventures you want, when you want.
-As long as you want us to release new adventures, allies and enemies we will. We won’t rest until we’ve released an adventure based on An Unearthly Child.

Time Crystals on the Australian App store currently run from 99c for a single crystal up to $51.99 for 70 time crystals.

Doctor Who Legacy: Fat Duck verdict

Doctor Who Legacy isn’t an actively terrible game — but it isn’t a good game either, and in the match 3 puzzle space, the only reason it might stand out would be the use of Doctor Who visuals.
They’re nice, but they’re not enough to keep me playing, even for free.

To lose is to win and he who wins shall lose. Or in other words, I've won -- but I sadly don't care much.
To lose is to win and he who wins shall lose.
Or in other words, I’ve won — but I sadly don’t care much.

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