Every journey must begin with a single step, and when you’re playing West Legends, an RPG from Axion Logic based on the literary classic, Journey to the West, you’ll find your first, fifth, ninth, seventieth, and even two thousandth step to be an enjoyable one.
West Legends plays akin to an action RPG where your characters wander out onto the battlefield and enemies will come at you from the sides. Tapping a character and guiding them to an enemy will cause them to go attack, and thankfully they will also automatically attack enemies that are close enough to them. This may not matter much in early levels, but in later stages with clusters of enemies, it’s nice to know the characters have some survival instincts. You start off with three characters; Goku, the monkey king, Sanzo, the noble monk being guided on his journey, and Pigsy, no further explanation needed. The three characters work well with Goku’s close combat, Pigsy’s ability to shoot projectiles, and Sanzo’s ability to keep the party healed at all times. There are several more characters to unlock through play, allowing players a fair sense of customization in their party.
The world map is divided up into different stages, each with its own title and humorous description. Some of the later levels seem to drag on a bit longer than you’d expect, but the gameplay keeps the player busy so it rarely becomes overly tedious. After each level, players will receive an item or piece of equipment to buff their characters, and soul orbs can be collected in battle to buy new equipment. However, the cost of items against the amount of soul orbs you collect means you will have to do a fair amount of grinding.
So the gameplay is fun, the story is clearly tested and true, and the game illustrates important events through small comic book segments generally before and after the level. Aside from that, each character is well designed with a sense of personality to them. The soundtrack is good, but unfortunately can start to feel a bit repetitive after a while. I would say my biggest complaint comes from the exploration of the world map. If you want to go back a few levels and maybe grind some, you’ll have to play all the levels backwards to get to it, and then play them again to get back to where you need to go. This can be a bit grating, though it does always provide money and experience, so one could argue that it balances out.
West Legends is one of those unique games where most people who play it will probably find their own fair share of nitpicks, but I feel that by looking at the sum of all the parts, it more than makes up for any minor complaints one would find. This is one fantastic journey that shouldn’t be missed.
+Smooth constantly moving gameplay
+Interesting characters with unique skills and powers
+The nice level of attention and detail into adapting this from the original work
-Fairly repetitive soundtrack
-Double tapping a hero will set them to be healed, but double tapping an enemy does nothing.
-More of the comic book story segments would have been nice
No monkeying around, this is a solid RPG game with a lot of meat on its bones. Axion Logic really has something special here.