I am a big fan of the Muppets and animals, so when I see something furry and bouncy, I tend to gravitate toward it.
The “Leo’s Fortune” game features a wee character who is all head and mustache, and not much else. Apparently, he had a fortune and he lost it and you have to get it back for him.
At first glance, Leo’s Fortune resembles one of those Temple Run games, where you really have to keep beetling along at your fastest speed so you don’t get caught, and try to accumulate coins at a rate of knots.
I particularly liked the look of the “Brave” Temple Run game, based on the animated film, but frankly, I felt exhausted after a while, sending my heroine flying into ravines and God knows what else because I panicked and turned right instead of left. It seems that Zoolander and I have a lot in common. I’m guess I’m not an “ambiturner.”
Leo’s Fortune does not require the player to go hurtling forward at a panicky sprint, so I decided that this game might be more my speed.
How it works
When you download the app from the App Store, it does ask if you want to go through the tutorial or if you just want to play. Regardless of what you choose, you’ll be taken through a brief story giving you the history of Leo and his fortune. He sounds Russian. After hearing it the first time, you’ll probably skip through it when you revisit the game to continue playing, and this can be achieved by tapping the double arrow icon in the top right-hand corner of the screen.
The tutorial is short and sweet. It demonstrates how you can use your thumbs on the screen to move Leo back and forth and then expand his little head into what resembles a round, blue balloon so he can gain height and adjust levers (more about the latter part later).
At first you will be taking him along green meadows and across brooks; jumping small distances and gathering floating coins as you go. It’s a very pretty land, and you might half expect Bilbo Baggins to show up somewhere in the beginning. That all changes the further along you move. Soon you’ll find yourself in what appears to be old mine shafts, with larger leaps to make, pointy sharp things that you’ll want to avoid, and rickety swings.
You’re still gathering coins, but now you need to sidestep being badly hurt at the same time. I avoid the word “killed” because Leo seems to be a tough old ball of fur. Even when he drops into the void or prangs himself on a nasty thorn and the screen goes red, he magically reappears at the last point where he was safe, and you just send him into danger once again.
What’s great about Leo’s Fortune is that it gives you a small bit of instruction, but then allows you to figure out tricks and levers for yourself. You’ll realize fairly early on that expanding Leo’s size with what appears to be air doesn’t just give him lift, it also allows him to push on switches that will lower bridges or remove spikes. The app takes you to water, but allows you to discover the straw for yourself, so to speak.
You will also learn that in order for the game to save any progress, you need to get as far as the next marker on your journey. Until that happens, every time you leave the game and then return, you’ll be back to where you started again.
Things get more complicated as you go along with bigger obstacles and convoluted trails, but the animation is great and will test your puzzle-solving skills.
When I played
As I mentioned earlier, I like this game because there isn’t a timer on it and you’re not racing away from your doom. You have time to go back and collect coins you might have missed or prepare to bring Leo hurtling from a distance so you can get him over a large ravine.
It took me a while to get used to the thumb gestures, I must admit. Anyone watching from afar would have thought I was furiously wiping a tough stain off my iPad screen. With two thumbs. And yelling at the same time.
I tried it a few times, got frustrated, and put it down, only to pick it up later and try again. Each time my gestures became less frantic and Leo began to go where I wanted him to. I was surprised in the early days to find that I couldn’t save my progress, and as I hadn’t made it to the second checkpoint, I kept returning to square one after switching off for a while. How could this be? I had been at this game for miles (or so it seemed).
As I became more savvy with the way Leo’s Fortune worked, I realized that I had really gone no distance at all. I had been taking my own sweet time, so it just felt like I had moved him over half a continent. I resolved to get better.
Leo’s Fortune is fun, addictive, and a beautiful-looking game. The animation is interesting, the landscape is always changing, and you will find yourself constantly challenged. With an infinite number of lives and lots of levels to explore, you’ll be chasing Leo’s Fortune for a long time to come.
Beautifully designed. Relatively inexpensive. No in-app purchases.
The controls can take some getting used to.
Leo’s Fortune Cost: $4.99 Seller: 1337 & Senri LLC Devices: iOS Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10 and older)