Recently named Apple’s Game of the Year Runner-Up (missing out to the excellent Threes), Leo’s Fortune is a gem of a platformer, and without a doubt the best game featuring a moustachioed ball of fluff ever made.
Leo has lost his fortune, and it’s up to us, the player, to recover it, whilst uncovering the culprit behind the treasures mysterious disappearance. The story is slight, yet effective in providing background to the globe trotting adventure. The cutscenes feature a simplistic grey scale colour, with Leo narrating in his bizarre Eastern European accent (think Borat meets Aleksandr the Meerkat), which contrasts nicely with the beautifully colourful levels you’re given to explore.
The levels themselves are inventively created, starting off fairly simple to negotiate, before the latter levels crank up the difficulty significantly, but importantly without it ever feeling unfair when you skewer yourself on one of the many traps. To navigate the levels you’re going to need a combination of good timing, and precise control of the intrepid explorer that is Leo.
Controlling Leo is surprisingly intuitive for a touch screen game, with the left half of the screen being used for directional controls, and the right for inflating or deflating Leo, allowing him to glide gracefully between spikes, or to squeeze carefully between narrow gaps. Oftentimes it’s a case of alternating between big Leo and little Leo expertly that is the difference between success and failure, meaning skill and patience is a must. Leo can feel a little floaty to control, particularly initially, however a small meter showing the speed you’re applying to his directional movement as well as forgiving checkpoints help to combat trickier puzzles becoming frustrating.
The obstacles themselves won’t win prizes for originality – you push blocks, use timing to manoeuvring falling traps and leap spikes, however everything is simply executed with such perfection that it is a joy to breeze through the 20 levels. It’s there however that we find Leo’s Fortune’s greatest flaw – it’s all just too fleeting.
The game can be finished withing just a few short hours, and though each level features a three star system (one for collecting all of Leo’s gold, for perfect runs, and for beating the set time), only the perfectionists amongst us are likely to go back to replay each level for said stars. Upon completion of the game, you are also awarded “Hardcore Mode”, wherein you are tasked with getting through as many levels as possible without dying. This is fun, but quickly leads to repeating the same levels a number of times. Again, with the outstanding level design that’s not a bad thing at all, but a bit more longevity certainly wouldn’t have gone amiss.
Short but sweet, near perfect platforming.
Rating (out of 5):