Legacy Of The Beast is a rare thing. Usually, the best-case scenario when a metal band decides to make their own video game is something like Guitar Hero: Metallica. You’re far more likely to end up with Kiss’ Psycho Circus. It was a huge relief to find that Iron Maiden’s new free-to-play mobile game holds their fans in as much reverence as the fans have for the band.
At its double-kick-pedal-beating heart, it’s a turn-based strategy RPG with some action elements. You’ll follow the adventures of long-time Maiden mascot Eddie as he attempts to find out why his soul has been shattered into shards and scattered across time and space. With the help of a fellow Eternal – immortal beings that exist outside of space and time – called the Clairvoyant, Eddie must defeat the evil forces and save all of time and space. It’s all inspired by the lyrics, song titles and artwork from Maiden’s extensive back-catalogue and it is every bit as metal as it sounds.
The crux of the gameplay is a battle system that combines turn-based combat like you’d see in a classic Final Fantasy with Eddie and two companions facing off against mad cultists, flaming demon dogs, and more hell-spawn. You take your turn to attack and can then unleash a myriad of special abilities from magical shields to healing magic to special attacks. Attacks also incorporate some basic action elements that add a nice layer of skill to the gameplay. It might just be tapping repeatedly or timing your taps to improve the effectiveness of attacks but it’s quite satisfying.
As you fight your way through the universe world by world, Eddie and his companions level up and you’ll even unlock more companions with different abilities to help Eddie in his battles. As you recover shards of Eddie’s soul you’ll also unlock his many personas; each one giving access to a new Eddie themed around an Iron Maiden album. For example one of them is Pharaoh Eddie whose look and abilities riff on the Powerslave record.
The real kicker of Legacy Of The Beast is the music. It’s all been remastered and reworked from original Iron Maiden recordings. As Maiden’s older tracks haven’t been recorded in forms that can be easily digitised, many of the classic tracks that appear in the game have been drawn from live recordings, which have been remastered and feel like they were recorded in a studio. The music is a triumph and arguably some of the best audio that has ever been created for a mobile game.
The game’s universe is pretty big and the developers plan on expanding it with regular updates. As of now, there are four worlds – the Ailing World, Kingdom of the Sands, Battlefield and Underworld – and they’re all Maiden themed. There’s already a fifth world being teased which is called Night City and apparently on its way soon. Visually, it’s also a bit of a treat. Having played it on a Samsung Galaxy S5 and an iPad Air 2 the game plays really smoothly and the graphics scale nicely for whatever platform you’re playing on. The good news is that it looks pretty good even on an older device like the Samsung S5.
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Being a free-to-play game there are microtransactions – small in-game purchases that can help you make things move a little quicker. They’re purely for people who don’t have enough time to do things the usual way and definitely not mandatory. Legacy of the Beast doesn’t force microtransactions down your throat either, which is mightily refreshing.
First impressions of Legacy Of The Beast are pretty good. The gameplay is light enough that casual players can get in on it and deep enough that it can amuse all but the most hardcore of gamers. The music and visuals gel really well to create a nicely cohesive world out of the vast array of different guises that Eddie has adopted over the course of Iron Maiden’s long career, which is an impressive achievement. If the developers can keep this up then Legacy Of The Beast may just live up to the legacy that Iron Maiden have created for themselves.