Legacy of a Thousand Suns is a strange hybrid of MMORPG and sci-fi novel, which first found life on Facebook and is now expanding to iOS.
There’s not much action involved, unless you count tapping the ‘continue’ button as action, but the alliance mechanics that see you teaming up with other players online help to set it apart from rivals...
Your day starts off pretty crummy, trapped in some tiny cell on a space carrier, but as normal in these sweeping space opuses, things quickly nosedive into brown-trouser territory as some malevolent group known as the Centurians attack the ship. You manage to escape with a feisty princess in tow, and from there your adventure begins as you traverse the galaxy to protect your royal cargo and defeat the evil dudes.
But hold up, because before you can get blasting them alien folk, you have to set up your profile. It’s a simple procedure – just choose your name, face and skin colour, and you’re ready to rock. As the game progresses, you’ll be able to kit yourself out with some cool uniforms and rather interesting make-up, but at the beginning you’re stuck with a rather skin-tight silver number.
The game’s single-player missions are presented as a chunk of text, like a section of a novel, and all you need to do to complete them is hit ‘continue’ until one of two things happens. The first is you hit ‘continue’ enough times to progress to the next level. The second is you run out of energy, which is depleted each time you hit continue. In that case you have to wait a while until your energy recharges – or pay real cash money for an instant recharge – and then keep on hitting continue. In terms of gameplay it’s basic at best, and the energy meter adds a rather unnecessary barrier to progression which breaks up the flow of the story.
At the end of each stage, you’ll come across a boss fight. These battles are slightly more interactive in that you have two buttons to hit – either ‘attack’ or ‘flee’. This is where your health, attack and defence stats finally come into play, all of which can be increased after gaining enough experience. Again, deeper interactivity is sorely missing, and it never feels like you’re involved in the battle, merely reading about it.
Join the Alliance
The real meat of Thousand Suns is the online section, which has you creating or joining an alliance of real-life players and taking on raids. You can chat with other members and check out their profiles, and the raids themselves are a handy way of building experience and finding new loot.
However, much like the single-player missions, progress is slower than a one-legged tortoise. Many raids take days to complete, with you hacking tiny chunks off a boss character’s health at a time. As an example, the weakest enemy we took on had 4500000 health, and every super-charged blow we dealt it took off around 1000 health. We then had to sit back and wait ten minutes before we could hit the beastie a second time. Even with a big group of you involved, you could take a break and mount a spontaneous expedition to find the lost city of Atlantis, and the raid would still be going on when you returned.
If you don’t mind the ridiculously slow progression, Legacy of a Thousand Suns has a decent enough plot to hold your interest (if you’re a sci-fi fan) and the online components are well handled. We’re not sure if we’ll make it to the end, or if there even is an end, but for now we’ll keep on battling...