Game Info:

Lode Runner Legacy
Developed By: Tozai Games, Inc., O-TWO inc.
Published By: Tozai Games, Inc.
Release Date: July 13, 2017
Available On: Windows (macOS and Linux planned)
ESRB Rating: N/A
Genre: Puzzle Platformer
Mode: Single Player
Price: $15.42
(Kinguin Affiliate Link)

Thank you Tozai Games for sending us this game to review!

When I was (much) younger, one of my friends introduced me to Lode Runner when he mentioned that his mom liked the game very much. As a result, when I saw Lode Runner: The Legend Returns for Windows 3.x all those many moons ago, I picked up the CD and understood what she saw in the game – a simple concept that was genuinely fun to play, and required quick thinking to succeed.

There were a couple more sequels on PC, with the last one being Lode Runner 2 (which is a very different game). Imagine my surprise when I went to play this game again, and found that there hasn't been a substantial update on PCs since the 1990s, and that my old copy isn't so easy to play on modern computers anymore. Thankfully, consoles have fared a bit better, with Nintendo, Xbox, and mobile platforms getting more recent releases. Nevertheless, this series started on PCs (Apple II was the original), and it sure is great to see it return once again with Lode Runner Legacy.

For those who have never played Lode Runner, the concept is rather simple: your goal is to grab every coin in the level, while also avoiding death. Once you do this, it unlocks the level exit, which you must make your way over to and climb to get out. That's pretty much it, but you are rather restricted in how you can move and what your tools are. For one thing, you can move left and right, or up and down ladders. But you cannot jump at all – so if you can't reach it, you can't get there. Also, you can destroy blocks directly to the left and right side diagonally below you (assuming they are destructible), but not underneath, above, or next to you. Given your limits, every time you move about a level it requires very careful planning, because it is very easy to trap yourself or accidentally kill yourself.

Lode Runner Legacy

Strong Points: Long overdue return of the classic gameplay formula; nice graphical update; level, item, and character editors; online leaderboards
Weak Points: Limited custom resolution options
Moral Warnings: Technically you can kill bad guys by embedding them into a brick; online custom items could theoretically be obscene

You see, when you destroy a block, it starts to fade back in. Once that completes, anyone in that spot will die, including yourself. So you have to move fairly quickly, avoiding self-made traps. Also, since you can only break blocks diagonally below you, dropping down to get something can require significant planning, since you can't just break one block and drop down if there is no escape from wherever you land.

Most levels have moving enemies in them. You can break blocks and have them fall inside as an easy way to avoid them (which may lead to their death), or if your footwork is fancy, you can stand on top of them. This can be tricky because they can move under your feet, and lead to unexpected deaths if you aren't careful.

Each level plays out like an action puzzle, which can be fairly quick on its own, and there is both a timer and point system that judges how good of a job you do. There are online leaderboards, which is always a fun feature, and encourages replays. I loved seeing my name on there (since I had the opportunity to play the game pre-release) though since the game has now been released, the hardcore fans quickly eclipsed my scores (well, most of them, as of release date).

Lode Runner Legacy
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 88%
Gameplay - 17/20
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 8/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 98%
Violence - 9/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

There are four main game modes, along with some editors to round out the package. There is the adventure mode, which attempts to wrap a very simple story around the game, while gradually introducing more and more new enemies and other challenges to round out those fifty levels. There is also a puzzle mode, which is more about solving the level the only way possible (usually) in the fastest time, rather than the focus on points. There is classic mode, which makes our character look much simpler, and includes all one hundred and fifty original Lode Runner levels. The new levels have our hero take up more space on the screen, so a smaller classic character was necessary.

The final game mode is world levels, which are user created levels, which integrate with Steam Workshop. In these levels, there may also be user created characters or items as well. As you would expect, there is an editor for each of these types built into the game, so if you fall in love with this classic, and love making levels, there is a ton to do here. I am sure other Lode Runner fans would also really appreciate it – with Steam Workshop integration, the potential content is virtually limitless, dependent only on the creativity of the players.

Lode Runner Legacy is a competent and long overdue revitalization of a true gaming classic. The older releases have had hardcore fans for decades, and for good reason. Despite some minor flaws, like limited resolution support (720p and 1080p only), lovers of puzzle games everywhere should take note: a time-tested classic is back. While I prefer playing games like this in short spurts, it fits that purpose quite well and is always entertaining. Highly recommended.

About the Author

Jason Gress

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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