Who would have thought that an iOS port could turn into one of the finest looking games on PS4 and Xbox One? 1337 & Senri LLC’s enchanting physics-based puzzle platformer might be a relatively short and thematically simplistic adventure, but for as long as its lasts, this charming, entertaining and utterly gorgeous video game proves that the step-up from mobile to home console can be made as long as the transition is handled with care.
While this is fundamentally the same game as the one released on mobile in early 2014, a tweak to the camera and a move to full 1080p visuals has done wonders for a game that was already blessed with fantastic art design. A good looking game on iOS has unquestionably become a flat out stunning one on Xbox One and PS4 with Leo’s Fortune’s striking 2D visuals proving a match for the more celebrated likes of Rayman and Limbo.
The first thing that will grab you is the presentation – beyond the gorgeous visuals, Leo’s fluff ball appearance, impressive moustache and strong Russian accent (or is that Transylvanian…..or French……or Polish?) all help to make Leo’s Fortune stand out from the ever growing crowd of 2D platformers while the stage play set-up, surprisingly entertaining story (all be it a slight one) and the impressively scored soundtrack all combine to create an experience that belies the games’ position as an ex-iOS exclusive.
As odd as the character design and set-up might be (a dastardly family member has done away with all of Leo’s hard earned riches), the actual structure is about as traditional as one could imagine. Made up of five acts of four levels (with 24 levels in all if you include the bonus stages), Leo’s trip through a relatively uninspiring collection of themed world might not sound that exciting on paper, but thanks to the obvious care and attention that has gone into their design and creation, even this collection of grassy, sandy and…..’piratey’ locations manage to make an impression.
As great as the worlds look though, it really is, Leo who steals the show. A fluffy green blob of a thing, he has to be amongst the most charming and memorable video game characters I have come across in quite some time. Yes, his accents all over the place, but that’s part of the fun, and when you have a character that can make you smile while sitting absolutely still (it’s something about his eyes), you know that you’ve got something special on your hands. Honestly, I thought I’d get bored of it, but I couldn’t tell you how many times my wife and I laughed at the simplistic but hugely effective character design throughout the brief but enjoyable campaign.
He’s not just good looks either – while the mechanics are relatively simplistic, the core mechanic that sees Leo puff up, beyond being incredibly charming, allows you to interact with your surroundings beyond the basic ability to move left and right. Used primarily as a jump, it can also be used to float and to interact with levers and panels. Yes, it’s nothing incredibly new, but like much of the game, it’s done well and imbued with a sense of charm that ultimately makes it more impressive than it otherwise might have been.
And that’s the key word here – charm. This is a well-made, enjoyable platformer that delivers an experience that is unquestionably more than the sum of its individual parts thanks to its bonkers but utterly delightful art design and its consistently solid physics-based gameplay. The puzzles themselves are rarely all that tricky, but they ramp as you progress without delivering the kind of difficulty spikes that can derail a game of this ilk.
Yes, it is a little short, and while the additional challenges per stage (best time / all the coins / no deaths), will add a bit of longevity for completionists, there is no getting around the fact that this was clearly geared towards quick-fire handheld gaming.
Still, despite that holdover from its original iOS design, Leo’s Fortune nonetheless remains a hugely entertaining platformer with great visuals and charm in abundance. I still have no idea where Leo’s from, but when you’re an adorable ball of green fluff with the kind of moustache that would make even the most manliest of men envious then, well, I guess you can be from wherever the hell you like.
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