Text adventures fill a very weird niche in modern games – the majority of the industry has moved on to rich graphics and intense gameplay, so giving the player reams of text is now a risk instead of the norm.
True Legacy doesn’t care about that, and instead throws walls of words at you, telling an epic sci-fi tale in a near-future Hong Kong, with graphics used sparingly to pepper the scenes.
It presents itself cleanly and in an interesting fashion, but it suffers from some frustrating puzzles and a story which is disappointingly bland and difficult to follow.
All these moments will be lost in time
True Legacy tells the tale of a Hong Kong detective, Claire Thornhill, who’s out to solve a murder case which is wrapped up in conspiracies, big corporations, and incredibly advanced technology.
You work your way through by scrolling through text, picking up key bits of info, and occasionally solving a puzzle to learn some new information or progress further in the story.
There’s occasional branching points, which either take the story in a new direction or teach you something else, and the text literally twists and spins as you read, much like Simogo’s classic DEVICE6.
You’ll encounter a few graphics here and there – largely used as scene-setting backgrounds or for the rare puzzle – but mostly it’s you, a black screen, and some white text.
It’s clean and easy to read and spinning your device around to read new text isn’t too much of a chore once you get used to it.
Like tears in rain
What is difficult to get a grip on is the story itself, which is full to the gills with techno-babble and characters who are briefly mentioned but never explained.
Words and people you might not know are underlined with blue, and tapping on it will give you a quick description or definition, but it’s never really enough to explain what’s going on.
What this ultimately means is that you’ll lose the thread of the story early on, as you get bogged down in underexplained technology used to flavour a narrative that you’ll have seen before.
The puzzles can also be a nuisance, not helped by a total lack of a hint system, and no digital notebook to jot down pertinent information. If you’ve not got a pen and paper handy, you may be scrolling backwards for a while to find an important clue you missed earlier.
Time to die
All in all, True Legacy has all the basics of a great text adventure. It looks wonderful, it’s easy to read, and it at least attempts to provide context to its confusing terms.
But the story itself is lacklustre, and the puzzles, while rare and sometimes optional, can prove a little tricky for the casual player.
It’s always exciting to see a new text adventure on the market, but it’s a genre which lives and dies by its writing – and True Legacy’s just isn’t quite good enough.