Review: Leo’s Fortune HD Edition

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His precious gold stolen by an unknown thief, the mustachioed hairball with a Russian accent named Leopold sets out to reclaim his looted fortune over 20 levels full of bottomless pits, spiked death machines, saw blades, and all manner of inventive puzzle contraptions. At least the ne’er-do-well behind this cunning pilferage was kind (or neglectful) enough to leave some gold coins in his or her wake of theft to guide Leo to his prize like a trail of bread crumbs. Upon reaching the end, the simple story actually closes on a surprisingly sweet, heartfelt note.

Like many games of mobile gaming lineage, Leo’s Fortune is a puzzle-platformer streamlined around a simple control scheme and set of mechanics. Rather than perfectly flat terrain, Leo largely must traverse sloping landscapes presented in nigh-photorealistic HD beauty. I’m assuming due to an inherent power of static cling generated by his majestic mane of bluish-green fur, Leo glides across the ground and up and around curlicue ramps with ease, a perfectly timed tap of the jump button propelling the fuzzy guy that looks like something Furby might cough up across gaps or up to higher ledges. It’s hard to describe in words or even get a true feel for by watching video, but there is a graceful ease with which Leo slides and floats along that just puts a smile on your face.

On top of his ability to stick to surfaces, Leo can puff up his body, turning himself into a furry balloon capable of floating, or becoming large enough to activate switches or get himself stuck between the walls of a narrow tunnel like a nasty hairball clogging up a shower drain. Conversely, after puffing up, Leo can shrink to quickly slam back to the ground or condense his weight so that he will sink in water rather than float. This inhale/exhale mechanic brings some clever platforming into play, for example jumping and slamming to counter-balance a seesaw, or dropping like a stone to the bottom of a pool of water and then puffing up to rise to the surface and launch out of the water to reach a platform or soar over an obstacle.

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Despite his engineering background, the puzzles laid out across the lush forests, snow-capped mountains, and dimly lit pirate coves Leo must navigate to reclaim his pot of gold never quite reach Rube Goldberg levels of complexity. However, you will have to put on your thinking cap to overcome the game’s many physics- and mechanism-based challenges that require thoughtful manipulation of switches, pressure plates, weighted scales, crates, planks, anchors, springboards, and trapdoors.

This mix of clever puzzles and twitch, momentum platforming puts up a healthy challenge. The game certainly doesn’t approach the masochistic nature of platformers like N+ or Super Meat Boy, but the difficulty is high enough to keep you from blowing through without sending Leo to hairball heaven more times than you’ll be able to count. Fortunately, frequent checkpoints and unlimited lives mitigate any feelings of die-and-retry frustration.

Players interested in putting their skills to the test, however, can undertake the arduous task of achieving a perfect three gold star rating for all stages. Each level has three bonus objectives for collecting all coins, clearing the stage without dying, and beating a designated speed run time. Collecting the coins is cake to do on the first try, but the other gold stars are much harder to earn, which is good because the game’s meager selection of 20 levels (plus four unlockable bonus stages) flies by in around two hours. Most players will likely need a good five to six hours to gold star everything.

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Additionally, speed run enthusiasts will be glad to know that the game does offer online leaderboards for completion time bragging rights. And for hardcore platforming specialists, beating the game unlocks a hardcore mode, which throws down the challenge to finish as many stages as possible in a row on a single life. An achievement awaits as the reward for completing all 20 stages without dying in hardcore mode, but there is a reason why currently only 0.8% of players on Steam have been able to accomplish this feat.

If I hadn’t known beforehand, I never would have suspected the game’s smartphone and tablet origins because it plays so well and is so aurally and visually enchanting that the experience is able to stand on its own merits regardless of the mobile device, PC, or home console it’s played on. Though small in stature like its diminutive protagonist, Leo’s Fortune is a puzzle-platforming treasure. Take William Devane’s advice: invest in gold.

BuyIt

Pros:
+ Lovely graphics (Seriously, this began as a mobile game?)
+ Leo glides and jumps with silky smooth precision
+ Inventive puzzles
+ Enough challenge and replay to keep you coming back

Cons:
– Only 20 levels

Game Info:
Platform: Reviewed on PC via Steam, also available for PS4 and coming soon to Xbox One
Publisher: Tilting Point
Developer: 1337 & Senri
Release Date: 9/8/2015
Genre: Puzzle Platformer
ESRB Rating: Everyone
Players: 1
Buy From: Steam or PlayStation Store

Source: Review code provided by publisher

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!