Game: Dice Legacy
Genre: Strategy, Puzzle, Adventure, Simulation
System: Nintendo Switch (also on Steam)
Developers | Publishers: Ravenscourt Games | Koch Media
Age Rating: US Teen | EU 7+
Price: US $19.99 | UK £ 15.99 | EU € 19,99
Release Date: September 9th, 2021
Review code used, with many thanks to Tinsley PR
Dice Legacy is a dice-based survival, strategy city-builder from Ravenscourt Games. My kind of game I thought when I saw the promo video for the game. Or is it?
The premise of Dice Legacy sees you in the role of a King without a kingdom who has been shipwrecked with some subjects on an unknown island. You and your people must strive to survive. The difference in Dice Legacy is, it is rogue-like in which you create your own medieval city. And your citizens are all dice! These are Dice that can die, rebel or are unable to defend your settlement from enemy attacks. When that happens, then it’s time to start over!
When you start the game you can pick a different game setting for the difficulty. There is Pacifist for those that want a peaceful run. Standard which equates to normal, legacy, hard and extreme are the other difficulty settings.
Pick a Dice
The dice that represent your workers, be they explorers, carpenters, scholars and so on, each have an icon and a number on them. The map you are on, which by the way is a sort of small-wheeled world that can only be travelled along a vertical axis, is rather strange. On the map are various places of interest that appear, such as forests and mines, to be combined with certain dice to obtain resources.
The tasks your dice can perform are based on the icons that are showing on each die. For instance, If you want to gather resources, you’ll need a die showing the “gather resource” icon. If none of the dice you have is suitable for your needs, you can re-roll them. However, re-rolling the die depletes its durability. If the die’s durability drops below zero, it perishes, that is the end of that die! Dying citizens/dice affect the happiness of your other citizens/dice and they can start to die too. Luck also plays its part in how the dice will roll.
The dice in Dice Legacy have different skills, once they have learnt them from the skill tree that is. Peasants are your normal starting dice and they can do everything from build to fight. The more specialised citizens you have are required to research their new skills.
Monks serve as workers and healers and help remove wounds from dice that hurt in combat. Merchants deal with trade and wealth accumulation. Soldiers are specialised combat dice. However, soldiers can also work as builders!
Luck of the Dice
Anything and everything you do, whether it’s gathering wood or stone or constructing a new building, use one or two dice with the correct icon. You also require the specific side of the die to show in order to be able to allocate it. For example for mining stone, you’ll need to roll your die until you get the right symbol for that activity, the little axes. Each roll reduces the life of your die by one, making it risky if you need a specific symbol to be rolled.
You have the option to lock a die so it can’t be rolled, this minimises the risk of losing durability. Fortunately, dice can be replenished by resting at a cookhouse. But there is a catch, of course. Food requires you to farm with dice and hunt with dice so ultimately to get ahead you will have to sacrifice a die or two.
Winter is the enemy, that’s when all your dice can freeze and become unusable. You can build a steam heater to keep them warm, but I found that forced me to place all my buildings around the heater. If the buildings were placed too far away, everyone froze to death. The winter mechanics basically enforces your village layout into being clusters of buildings tightly packed around your heaters, and vast empty space everywhere else on the map.
Combat and Luck of the Dice
At times the game will throw enemy troops your way that reside on the other side of the rolling map. They’ll start by sending handfuls of attacks your way. But as you expand further along the map, their attacks increase both in frequency and in strength. As with everything in Dice Legacy, you’ll fight your battles with dice. How to handle the ever-increasing threat of attack is up to you and the luck of the dice.
More than a few Niggles
Dice Legacy is a very frustrating game, partly due to the game UI and due to the way the game mechanics are explained to the player. My first niggle is the tutorial or lack of tutorial. There is a tutorial that appears on the screen at the start of the game, it is basic. It lets you know what buttons to press to perform a particular action, such as to move the camera. There isn’t anything to actually explain the finer mechanics of the gameplay to the player.
Unfortunately, if you are new to the genre you would be lost as knowing the button presses is one thing, but knowing why you are pressing the button and what you actually do in the game to play it are two different things. In the end, I managed to work out what to do, as thankfully this isn’t the first game I have ever played! But plodding along in the game trying to figure out what you are meant to do is not the most auspicious of starts at all.
There is an encyclopedia in the games’ menu, the first time you check the encyclopedia for help it is completely blank. As you play the game and say accidentally perform an action in the game, for example, you manage to work out how to build a house, once the house is built a page opens in the encyclopedia informing you in more detail about the action you have performed. To me, that is back to front, as the help pages of the encyclopedia should be available to read from the games’ beginning.
Visuals and Controls
Visually Dice legacy is fine, the game changes seasons and it’s shown in the visuals with appropriate colour changes in the surroundings appear. I quite like the look of the game with the medieval setting.
Dice Legacy is controlled with the joy-cons, there aren’t any touch screen controls in the game. The size of the text in the game is tiny. I had to use the zoom function on the Switch every time I wanted to read something on the screen. One of these fine days, developer’s might realise that not all gamers have perfect vision and will cater for them by increasing the text size in games!
The game UI is just fiddly. At times the menu’s would pop up on the screen and wouldn’t go away no matter how long I held my finger on the minus button. Making the whole experience of playing the game into a battle to be able to see the screen, very frustrating.
If you have read this review up till now, I thank you, you will probably have guessed by reading the review that I am not about to give Dice Legacy a really high score. The UI and the game’s lack of a proper tutorial need a lot of improvements to receive a higher score than..
Final Verdict: I’m Not Sure