Legendary DXP Review

By Chris / May 30, 2018
Legendary DXP - feature

Upper Deck's competitive co-op deck builder on your mobile device!

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Platforms

Android & iOS

Game Length

15 Minutes

# of Players

1-5

Game Publisher

Upper Deck

App Developer

@upperdeckent

Our Rating

Multiplayer Options

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    Synchronous  Online
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    Random Matchmaking
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    Cross-platform

Overview

Legendary DXP is the co-op deck building game from The Upper Deck Company with a competitive twist. Players build up a team of heroes to defeat a mastermind and their band of villains and henchmen. Once players have overtaken the mastermind, or the mastermind’s evil scheme comes to fruition, the game ends, this usually takes about fifteen minutes.

Legendary is a reskin of the popular physical game released with Marvel characters. Upper Deck used a new theme, creating its own characters for DXP (which stands for Digital Experience).

Legendary begins by selecting a mastermind and a few heroes which will make up your game. The mastermind has some rules and an evil scheme they are trying to act out, they have their own deck of evil enemies and events. Players have a personal deck which starts with twelve cards with weak recruit (purchase) and attack abilities, which will feel very familiar to deck building fans. Five heroes are placed on the table for purchase using recruit points, and a stack of hero cards are ready to take the place as those give get purchased or KO’d (trashed).

A turn in Legendary starts with the player drawing six cards. The top card from the villain deck is drawn and revealed. It may be an enemy, a scheme twist, a bystander, or a master strike. Enemies get placed on the table and must be defeated at the risk of them escaping. Scheme twists have immediate negative effects and they bring players closer to losing. Bystanders are captured by enemies and provide end-game points to whichever hero saves them. Master strikes are attacks by the mastermind themself, and don’t end up well for the heroes. Once the villain card is resolved, players play all cards from their hand individually to pool up their recruit and attack points. Recruit points are used to recruit heroes from the five showing on the table while attack points are used to directly attack villains and, later, the Mastermind. Cards used in the turn are discarded, six more are drawn, and the discard pile is shuffled and reused when needed, typical deck builder stuff. Play continues until the mastermind is defeated, which involves four successful attacks, or the mastermind’s scheme fully plays out and the heroes lose. Mastermind’s have high attack numbers (7 for the mastermind in the free game), so you must string together 7+ attack strength four times to win.

Legendary is, mechanically, like most other deck builders. The heroes have types which trigger abilities when played together and chaining together these abilities successfully is the most critical aspect to achieving victory. The basic gameplay is familiar; recruit better cards, KO weaker cards, and build up your deck over the course of the game to achieve the goal. The major difference is that this is a co-op against an enemy deck.

Legendary is very much a game within a game. The overarching goal is for you and your teammates to band together to defeat the mastermind. However, there is a point system which scores how much each player accomplished in a given game. The points aren’t just for bragging rights as they are used to hand out in-game currency at the end of the game which unlocks cosmetic items. The point scoring goes beyond simply trying to have the strongest deck, as some cards directly impact your teammates in negative ways; it can get cutthroat.

One issue I have with Legendary DXP that is more related to porting this particular system to digital than the actual port itself is the theme. This isn’t a review of the physical game, so I won’t go into detail, but the act of using a variety of Marvel heroes to overthrow a classic Marvel mastermind is a ton of fun. It’s not that the characters Upper Deck came up with for this digital version are super generic, it’s just that players don’t have the history with them as they do with Marvel characters, and the overall game suffers from that in my opinion.

My major gripe about the actual implementation is that the game requires a constant online connection to play. The game gives out in-game currency (more on that later) so the online connection is there to avoid cheating, but it would be great to have an “I just want to play the game on an airplane and don’t care about earning silver coins” mode. The issue goes a bit deeper as the servers will go offline for maintenance every so often, killing your game in the process. Also, solo games have a turn time limit (it is 60 minutes) which prevents you from stopping a game for a few hours and returning to it later.

Legendary is a fun system. It is a good take on deck building where you are facing an ever evolving swarm of enemies at the control of a powerful mastermind, it does a great job of conveying a large scale villain battle where heroes must band together to overcome the enemy. A well crafted team will complement each other’s strengths and provide some devastating turns. The addition of a competitive aspect adds some extra flavor to the game, separating itself from many other co-ops. The digital version, at this point, relies heavily on the point scoring system to provide replay value as there are a ton of unlockables to try to earn.

Barrier to Entry

Legendary DXP has a simple, great looking 10 part explanation of the basic rules. If you have played deck builders then this one will be simple to pick up and play. If not, the explanation here should be enough to get you going. In either case, some of the controls aren’t fully explained, but you should have the hang of it after a game or two. The app links to a PDF rulebook which is a complete rundown of the game and should look eerily familiar to anybody with the physical Marvel game.

Legendary DXP - game 1

Game board

Legendary DXP - menu

Main menu

Legendary DXP - heroes

Choosing which heroes to use

Look and Feel 

This app looks great. The graphics are bright and vibrant, they really pop from the get go. The artwork is custom for the app and all looks great. The characters might be lacking in depth but they sure look great on your screen. Controls work well, with the ability to drag-and-drop when it makes sense or click and confirm in all cases.

The downsides in this area are really the menus. Specifically, you can be browsing something and if you are idle for a few seconds, the game will refresh and kick you out to the main menu. This doesn’t happen in a game, but if you are browsing your unlocked items, for example, this can be frustrating.

Multiplayer

Once you pay to unlock the full game, you can play real-time games online with random players or against friends with a two minute turn timeout. Multiplayer games work the same as solo games except the added importance of the individual scoring mentioned earlier; those who score the most get their rewards quicker. There is also a Gauntlet mode, a 3-5 player game which rewards players with packs or silver, depending on how well they did in the online game. Note that you get one free Gauntlet play per 24 hours, with the option to purchase more using in-game gold (which can be purchased using actual money).

Single Player

The only game mode you can play in the free version is a solo game. There is one Mastermind and one scheme so every solo game has the same enemies without buying the full game. This is a true freemium game; the very basics are available to try out, and if you like what you see, buy the full game to unlock more. Purchasing the full game will unlock an advanced solo mode along with the customization allowed by the additional masterminds and villains. As the game is a co-op, there is no AI necessary. The AI is in the villain deck, with difficulty and randomness built in.

Legendary DXP - gauntlet

Entering The Gauntlet...

Legendary DXP - game 2

Tough decisions

Legendary DXP - victory

Victory!

What Else?

Like most deck builders, Legendary DXP is made to support a slew of expansions. The base game is just a taste of the action with 1 Mastermind and scheme. The $4.99 “Pro Version” unlocks the full game, including: online play, play vs friends, Gauntlet mode, three Masterminds, 7 schemes, and 25 villains. This brings the total up to match what is included in the base physical game. There is also an additional expansion available, Heroes of Skycrest, which adds more villains, Masterminds, heroes, and schemes. This currently runs about $3 and is a reskin of an early Marvel expansion.

Separately, there is an in game currency/reward system. The wild thing here is that you can win physical games by unlocking card packs and getting lucky. There are posts on Reddit with people showing off physical games they won in this app. That is a very cool feature, to say the least, even if these types of unlocks are extremely rare. Reward packs come bronze, silver, and gold and have the appropriate level of difficulty in unlocking and matching rewards that you would expect from their names. The rewards, outside of the physical games, are purely for show. This unlocking aspect will be ignored by many players, but it’s clear that there is a deep collection piece to this game that I’m sure will be a big hook for many players, and kudos to Upper Deck for adding this feature. Going for more points becomes a major factor when playing online and the games become quite cutthroat with players going for those rewards, this certainly gives the games a different feel compared to a strict co-op.

The Wrap Up

Legendary DXP offers a fun co-op deck building game in a fantastic looking app. With the full game unlock purchase, there is a fair amount of replay value in the scheme/Mastermind combinations. Add in the available expansion, along with those surely to be released down the line, and there is going to be a lot of depth in this game. If you are into virtual collecting, the reward/unlock system here is extensive and will keep you busy for a while, and playing for the points to get these unlocks really does change the game from a strict co-op. The biggest implementation downside is the always online requirement.

Legendary DXP will be a perfect fit for some. Fans of the Legendary system who don’t care about the Marvel theme, like chasing unlocks, and especially enjoy the point scoring system will find DXP offers everything they like about the physical game in a quality digital package. Fans who find themselves more invested in the Marvel theme and prefer playing the game as a true co-op rather than competitive co-op will likely find DXP falls a bit short. As for us, we fall more in the latter category. With so many strong deck building options out there, the Legendary system simply isn’t at the top of our list when we want to scratch the deck building itch, but that’s not to say it won’t be at the top of yours.

A quality implementation of the Legendary system, the app adds a collection aspect to keep players hooked.

What we like


- A good implementation of the Legendary deck building system

- Great looking app with appealing visuals around every corner

- The unlockable/collectible aspect will provide incentive for logging many plays

What we don't like



- Always online requirement


- Without Marvel characters, the excitement level drops


- Some menu jumping quirkiness


Our Rating

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