There’s a lot going on with Re:Legend, the strange but charming new title from Kickstarter upstart Magnus Games Studio and publisher 505 Games. It might even have too much going on to appreciate at first: I heard it compared to Fantasy Life, Rune Factory, Monster Hunter, Monster Rancher, Story of Seasons, Stardew Valley, and Ever Oasis. And there are others– if I listed them all, I wouldn’t have any time to talk about the actual game. And, bizarrely, all of those comparisons are accurate.
I was guided through my time with Re:Legend by Gan Dong “DC” Chee, the Director at Magnus. The strangely-named game plucks elements from just about every genre imaginable and dumps them into a massive vat of neon chibi jungle juice. I don’t know if it’s an action-RPG, a farming game, a monster raiser, or any other number of other things. While no one element stands out, it seems like there’s enough going on here to make Re:Legend a worthwhile distraction.
I’d love to give you a play-by-play of my hands-on demo with Re:Legend, but there’s so much going on here I’m worried my brain will melt. But there were some highlights. Taming and raising an adorable blue dinosaur, one of the creatures known as a “Magnus” that players nurture to maturity. Players can even evolve them à la Pokémon by feeding them different foods that produce different results on a branching evolution path.
There’s farming and fishing in Re:Legend, although I didn’t get much time to test the depth of either mechanic. I could mount my adorable magnus and use him as a watering tool for the plants, a special ability that will differ based on the creature you choose to tame. The farming seemed fairly basic: sow your seeds, water, pluck, rinse, repeat. And that’s a theme I noticed during my hands-on with Re:Legend. None of the mechanics felt like they had a huge amount of depth, but there was enough variety that the sheer number of mechanics kept things feeling fresh.
The demo ended with a boss fight where I got to put the game’s combat through its paces. It’s fairly basic: your character has a simple bread-and-butter combo that feels tight enough, but hits lack impact. Most of the fun came from the boss’s diverse moveset. AOEs were telegraphed with clearly-labeled cones reminiscent of Final Fantasy XIV. DC compared their ambition with boss fights to Monster Hunter, but it was much, much simpler than that.
One negative about Re:Legend: the interface. It’s confusing and ugly. There’s way too much going on, and the menus and HUD items look like a cheap mobile game with an abundance of huge, garish design elements. It just clashes, and the interface took up too much space on the screen. I was told that these HUD elements would be scalable, but that doesn’t fix the ugly aesthetics. It’s a shame because Re:Legend‘s presentation is great otherwise, with a very charming set of character designs, fantastic music, and cute, colorful visuals. If they overhauled the game’s interface, pared back unnecessary design elements, and went with a more clean, minimal UI, it would hugely improve the game’s overall presentation.
I wasn’t blown away by Re:Legend, but it certainly has considerable merits. I did have fun with my time in the short demo, but I was concerned that the game might grow repetitive. I wonder if some of the mechanics might be a touch shallow, and the game’s interface needs a serious overhaul. But, while there are issues with the game, I do think Re:Legend could absolutely hit the spot for fans of games like Rune Factory. But there’s also a lot of competition in this space now, with two Rune Factory titles coming to Switch soon and hit games like Stardew Valley continuing to expand. It takes a lot to stand out. But there’s no doubt that Re:Legend has got a lot of charm, and with more polish and time, it could be a real winner.
Re:Legend is coming to PS4, PC and Nintendo Switch, and you can expect to see it in early access later this year.