Throughout my gaming life, I’ve always had a soft spot for side scrolling action platformers, so seeing a game like Hidden Dragon Legend certainly peaked my interest. Once I hit start to begin the game, I was excited to see what kind of incredible game I was in for. Sadly, what I got from this game was a mixed bag of both good and bad results.
It starts off with your character, Lu, waking up in a prison with no recollection of how he got there. As the story progresses so will your understanding of what’s going on around Lu; however, some of the cut-scenes felt generic with unenthused moments which took me out of the immersion in the game itself. That’s not to say the plot is bad, not by any means, but it felt uninspired in some cut-scenes and made me less interested in the story. Some of the voice acting also felt stale and forced. Thankfully when it comes to the story, there is also a lot of lore you can look into. It’s mainly provided through the items themselves, but it’s not forced upon you, which is something I personally like. The Chinese aesthetics and mythology is a nice touch, as not many games actually take place within China.
The backgrounds are gorgeous and are actually one of the best parts about this game. You can tell a ton of effort went into them, and it’s some of the best backgrounds I’ve seen from a side scrolling game for quite some time. However, the actual characters in the game leave much to be desired. Most of the characters look really plain and are forgettable. During combat even your character, Lu, sometimes feels stiff and awkward.
The biggest draw I had to playing this game was the gameplay. As stated earlier, I’ve always enjoyed side scrolling action platformers. Hidden Dragon Legend has a beat em up style when it comes to combat with smaller enemies, which is fine. The combat is decent, but when you get tougher enemies, it feels like you’re just chipping away at them. The special moves don’t really help and you’re honestly better off just spamming the quick attack button. The first fights I encountered were fun, but after awhile the charm wore off and battles felt tedious.
The best way to describe it is to say that the boss battles have some mixed moments. You can tell there’s inspiration from the likes of God of War, where you must wait for your opening before attacking. The issue comes whenever your screen is filled with lesser enemies and it’s just an onslaught against you. It gets frustratingly difficult and loses it’s fun factor in those moments. I ended up dreading the boss fights due to this gameplay element.
As for the rest of the gameplay, you’ll be mostly doing platforming, which, sadly, is very imprecise. You’ll find yourself falling quite a bit and sometimes mistaken the background as platforms. It’s nice that there are branching paths that you can take, although, there are still going to be moments where you’ll miss a jump unnecessarily. It happens to the best of us. Not saying I am one of the best, but you get what I mean.
There are also upgrades that you can get, but they never felt like I was buffing my character. Enemies pretty much always stayed the same difficulty throughout the game and it didn’t feel like I was progressing Lu. I mainly used my points on health because that’s what I needed the most. Especially when some enemies can become invincible for a time, go through your attacks, and hit you. That can be very annoying, especially during boss battles.
Overall, this was an ambitious indie title. It was a mixed bag, with some enjoyable and irritating moments; however, I still had fun with it at times, and games are all about fun, but it’s not without it’s flaws. The platforming drags it down, along with the tedious battles. It had a nice combat system, but didn’t feel fully fleshed out. If the game had added some more polish, this could have been considerably better. It felt like an average game with ups and downs, but there’s also bright spots for this indie developer that you can see through this game.
If you enjoy a game with a good level of difficulty, then Hidden Dragon Legend should certainly be a game to consider.
This review was written by a friend of the site who goes by the name Wolfkaosaun. Sean is a YouTuber who creates entertaining videos about new and classic video games with a fun flair, so we enlisted his expertise to cover this review. If you’d like to keep up with him we recommend checking his YouTube channels: Wolfkaosaun
The copy of Hidden Dragon Legend used for this review was provided to us by it’s Publisher, Oasis Games.