Dice Legacy is a lot like the English language. It steals genres and mechanics from other games, smashes them together, and as a whole, creates a fully functioning language. Uh, game. It is best described as a real time strategy, resource management, rogue-like game where the main characters are the dice you roll. So if you like dice, or have an itch since your weekly games of Dungeons and Dragons ate on hold while we’re in lockdown, Dice Legacy is worth a roll.
Roll up, roll up
The aim of Dice Legacy is to build a successful, thriving city that wards off the dangers of winter and mercenaries alike. What you roll determines where each dice can be allocated, and in a lot of ways it feels like the dice replace the party members, or units in a traditional real time strategy game. You might not be assigning peasants to hunting food, but you are rolling dice to see if you can gather resources. You start with five peasant dice in most games, but can have up to a total of twelve. There are six pretty self explanatory dice types. Peasants, citizens, merchants, monks, soldiers, and mercenaries. Each different dice type offers a different selection of die faces. Soldiers aren’t able to repair buildings, but they can fight off enemies, or raid other villages. You don’t need all the dice types at once, so you’re able to focus on a certain play style depending on where you are in the game. Soldiers are great, but if no one attacks you until the second half of the game, and you have no food, you’re not worth raiding in the first place.
Dice Legacy opens on a procedurally generated halo world with much less Flood, and a lot more snow. The oncoming winter is your first enemy, soon to be followed by mercenaries and a tutorial system that pops up with helpful hints a little too late, or far too early. Your first try at a game will probably mostly consist of fumbling around until you get a hang of the many, many mechanics you need to master in order to really dig your teeth into the game. Definitely start on peaceful or normal mode to get your bearings, and then, once you’ve learnt what you’re doing, you can really take on the challenge of resource management and city building.
The last unexpected enemy is tiny writing. I played on the switch, mostly in handheld mode. The game played fantastically, with no crashes, or lag and it looked fantastic. Unfortunately, being in handheld mode did make reading everything harder, especially with so much information on screen. I definitely recommend playing on a bigger screen if you can. The controls on switch were a little strange with the analogue stick being used to navigate the main dice menu, but the d pad being used to navigate the sub menus for no apparent reason. I was often left trying to flick through a menu that just didn’t seem to cooperate until I remembered I needed to swap. Sometimes gaming conventions are there for a reason.
Reroll the dice
Once you get a little deeper into the game, you’ll realise that there is not a lot of variation in ‘levels’, as the main thing you do is play the same story at higher difficulties. It can be really fun, overcoming and creating the perfect strategy and facing new challenges you didn’t expect. But it does mean that if you want new content, you’re not gonna get it. There are different scenarios such as ‘The Great Winter’ which has a never ending winter season with just one summer to prepare, and ‘Red Tape’ where building is slower. They add flavour, and change how you play, but you’re still on the same storyline, just slightly more difficult in a way that’s not just the AI being more aggressive.
Also adding flavour is a selection of different leaders. These guys all have different abilities and starting dice. Some lean towards soldiers and fighting, some lean towards merchants and trading, and a few towards building and knowledge production. Picking a different leader mostly feels like you’re picking the right tool for the job, rather than changing up the game.
Not exactly a Legacy to Die for
Dice Legacy offers a unique, blended gaming experience, once you’ve spent the time to learn the ropes. The port to switch falls down with the controls being unintuitive, but it does run extremely well on it. The major thing Dice Legacy is lacking is replayability in the form of new levels, or different storylines. But if you like rolling dice, crushing your enemies, and worrying about how much stone you need to build a monastery, Dice Legacy is an easy game to get sucked into.