Legends of Andor The King’s Secret Review

By Chris / January 30, 2019
andor - banner

Battle evil minions as you unravel a series of legends in this solo adventure game.

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Platforms

Android & iOS

Game Length

15-30 Minutes

# of Players

1

Game Publisher

KOSMOS

App Developer

@USM_Info

Our Rating

Multiplayer Options

  • check
    Local Pass-and-Play

Overview

Legends of Andor The King’s Secret is a solo adventure/quest game from Daedalic Entertainment Bavaria. The players untangle a story by playing through a series of legends (which is the name given to the things most games would probably refer to as ‘quests’) as various sets of heroes, battling monsters and attempting to complete objectives. Games end when a hero dies, time runs out, the castle is stormed, or all objectives are completed. The game time varies widely in Legends of Andor depending on the legend and whether it is your first or tenth attempt in completing it.

Legend of Andor is played across a large map with various terrains and some interactive effects like fog which hides enemies or an objective. The map is separated into small sections which heroes and enemies move across. Note that this app offers a new series of legends within the Andor series, it is set in the same world as the physical game, but the story is new and spread out over 12 legends.

A legend (or quest, or game, if you prefer) in Legends of Andor begins by assigning turn order to the heroes involved in this particular legend. It is impossible to know an optimal starting order on your first attempt of a legend, but once you know more about it, this step will involve some strategy. There are usually gold coins and/or items to hand out to your heroes to start as well. Once the game starts, each hero takes their turn which usually involves some combination of moving, fighting, and interaction. Players use their heroes to attempt to complete the given objective for the legend. Objectives will be added and updated over the course of most legends.

A legend is successful if you complete the objectives within the allotted time, measured in terms of days. Time plays a big role in Legends of Andor. On a large scale, you usually have a set number of days to complete the legend. On a small scale, each hero gets seven hours per day to take their actions at no cost. Each space you move costs one hour and each turn of battle costs an hour. You are allowed to use up to ten hours, but those last three will each come at a cost. At any point on their turn, a hero can choose to rest for the night. They will take no more actions during the current day, and once all heroes have chosen to rest, the current day ends and the next begins.

The other big thing to note as far as time goes is that each time you defeat an enemy, you lose a day. This is probably the first lesson you will learn playing Andor; you will lose if you try to take out all of the enemies scattered across the map.

Along with time, willpower is the other primary component of Legends of Andor. Each hero starts with a certain amount of willpower and it controls their ability to do things, particularly in battle. The number of dice you get during combat is tied to willpower. Willpower also acts as hit points during battle It can also be traded in order to carry out more actions if there is something critical that can’t wait until the next day. Willpower can be restored by visiting wells which are placed throughout the map, by using special items, or by collecting it as a reward for a victory in battle. Managing willpower is a strategic crux of the game.

Battle is fairly simple as each hero and enemy has their own strength number which acts as damage points. On top of that, everyone rolls dice and, generally, takes the largest number showing. Strength plus die roll combine to form the attack for the round. If there are multiple heroes or enemies, their numbers are pooled together and whichever side has the higher total deals damage equal to the difference between to two attack numbers. If the heroes total 20 attack and the enemies total 15, the enemies will be dealt five damage which drains their willpower. When a character’s willpower is down to zero, they have lost the battle. Each round of battle will cost heroes an hour, which can cost willpower if they are over their daily time limit, so things can go downhill quickly in a long fight. Should a hero run out of willpower, they will lose one strength point, if any hero has their strength depleted to zero, the legend is lost for all.

That was a lot to cover, but it is worth noting how simple of a game Legends of Andor is at its core. Move, fight, collect. The basics of the game can be taught incredibly quickly. The fun and difficulty enter when you have to try to balance time, willpower, and objectives.

It is worth noting, briefly, that we didn’t cover some key points of the game. Heroes have their own special abilities, there is an entire item trading/collecting system which enhances your heroes, and a few other odds and ends that we don’t have the space to cover here. It should also be noted that nothing from one legend carries over to the next, this is not a character development game, each legend starts over with basic stats and only the items given to you for that specific legend.

Is it any good? YES! This game really hits a sweet spot for me in that it is way less complicated than many other questing games, but provides a stiff challenge. A good comparison for me is that Legends of Andor plays like the boardgame version of a good video game platformer. You will go into a new legend blind, not knowing what strategy will be needed. You will probably lose, but you’ll learn a little and try again. Repeat this process a number of times and eventually you’ll prevail. Legends will require you to split up your party in many different directions to carry out the tasks needed in the allotted time. Finding the balance of who to send where, when to send them, and what items they need to help is the key problem to solve with each new legend. As a big fan of platformers, I found this sort of trial-and-error in a board game setting to be an incredibly satisfying experience.

The game wouldn’t work if it weren’t tough, and Legends of Andor delivers there. The timing on these objectives is often incredibly tight to the point of forcing you to be very diligent about time management and which hero is going where and when. The battles on their own aren’t particularly tough if you pool your heroes together, but properly planning things so you are able to pool your heroes is the challenge. There are certainly many out there who are better at these kinds of things than I am, but I’ve personally not come very close to winning a legend on my first try which makes it very satisfying when I do crack the code and complete a legend.

Barrier to Entry

Legends of Andor features a tutorial, a text tips & info section, and rule popups once you start playing the normal quests. The tutorial breezes by quite quickly, but surprisingly does a really good job of explaining the very basic aspects of the game. It is enough to get you started on the first quest. From there, the game will feature popups as new rule wrinkles are encountered. This usually works out well, but there are some isolated cases where things aren’t explained as clearly as I would have hoped.

There is also a Tips & Info section which lays out some basic strategy for new players as well as outlines the differences from the board game for experienced players, those differences are listed later in this review.

Overall, the game does a great, efficient job of getting you going with the basics. Most everything after that is well taught through popups, but there are some holes. After playing a few times, the game should be well understood.

andor - map

Game map

andor - menu

Main menu

andor - loot

Collecting post-battle rewards

Look and Feel 

Legends of Andor looks fantastic. The graphics won’t make you think of a modern PC or console game, but they are impressive in the realm of mobile ports. The menu features nice 3D models which get you started off on a good note. In game, the map defaults to a top-down 2D view which looks good and is easy to understand once you have learned the various icons. You may also zoom down to an angled 3D view which results in the characters, and other tokens, popping up into nice looking 3D statues. These carry over into battle which has some nice animations. Again, this won’t be confused for a PS4 title, but in the field in which it lives, Legends of Andor really stands out in terms of graphics.

Control wise, things are mostly well done, but there are some odds and ends that show up as annoyances. Most actions are click-and-confirm, with a few drag-and-drop mixed in. For the most part, they work well, but they work less well without an undo button. The movement, for example, has you clicking on a map location and then clicking again to confirm the move. Okay, click-and-confirm is fine, but the tutorial teaches you from the very start to simply double-click to move. So “click-and-confirm” just became “quick double-click.” This would be more acceptable if there were an undo button, but there is not. As a result, especially early on, I made some really dumb, game-changing moves with no ability to back out. This is especially frustrating because an undo button would work really well for most actions in the game.

Other smaller annoyances are trying to figure out what items do. Certain things require a hold, others a click to bring up their explanations. These are things that will fall by the wayside as you play more, but also present an unnecessary nuisance to new players.

Multiplayer

This is an easy one: there is no multiplayer. As the game is cooperative and uses multiple heroes each quest, you can easily turn this into a pass-and-play game by sitting around a tablet, but the game is billed as solo.

Online play in co-ops is something I haven’t found great need for. In this game, as it is based on the physical game but uses new quests, I could see fans of the physical game desiring the ability to play with their group online, but that’s about the only case I can make for online play here.

Single Player

When there is no multiplayer, the single player section can also be pretty easy: everything described so far is single player. The game has 12 legends to play through, and each can be played in Normal or Challenging mode and they tell a larger story across those legends. You must defeat the current legend to move onto the next. There are no achievements or unlockables to chase here, the game is simply to play through the legends. Know that the Challenging mode is very challenging indeed.

andor - hint

Helpful rule hint

andor - battle

Taking down a minion

andor - victory

First legend complete!

What Else?

The app outlines the specific rule differences between the physical game and the app. I will list those below for those who are interested:

  • Dwarves’ special abilities changed to being able to convert willpower to strength points in battle
  • Farmers can’t be picked up or put down in passing
  • Hero ranks are not used for starting order on the first day
  • Enemies revealed in the fog will attack the hero in the first battle round
  • No unlimited lives, once one of your heroes drops to zero strength, the quest has failed

We have no information on whether this is in the plans or not, but this game really sets up well for extensive expansion content. Slap another 12 quest story down and I’m sure many, many people will be willing to pay. It will be interesting to see if they take the app in that direction going forward.

The Wrap Up

Legends of Andor is a great questing/adventure game which has been given a high quality app. I only have minor quibbles to discuss here. Those include a few rules going unexplained, some control weirdness, and lack of multiplayer. The lack of an undo button might be the biggest issue in this app. The app is fairly bare bones, if you are looking for more than to simply play the game, you won’t find much else.

I really enjoy how simplified the basic gameplay is compared to others in the genre. That, combined with the game’s trial-and-error learning curve for each new legend, really hits a sweet spot for me in the adventure gaming world. Legends of Andor is highly recommended if you want to play through a fun story and don’t mind taking a few lumps as you learn along the way.

Legends of Andor The King's Secret is a great adventure game that works by keeping things simple and it has been given a great app implementation.

What we like


- Simple to learn gameplay with difficult and deep adventures

- Graphics are top notch for a mobile board game

- Fun story to follow, and completely new for fans of the board game

What we don't like



- An undo button would be nice


- No extra features


- Some users might wish for online multiplayer


Our Rating

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