The Legend of Evil is an extremely basic tower defense game. It’s beautiful landscapes and monsters make it appealing to the eye, unfortunately, the horrendous unbalancing throughout the game makes it hard to tolerate for long.
In The Legend of Evil, you’re tasked with building towers, summoning monsters, and using said monsters to annihilate waves of humans in an attempt to fulfill some prophecy that comes around once every 10,000 years. That is basically the entirety of the game. With one other “Rogue” campaign option that offers players a mini-campaign of sorts, The Legend of Evil doesn’t offer a whole lot to keep frustrated players coming back.
The biggest downer is that, on paper, this title has some potential to be a truly enjoyable tower defense game. The execution is where this game fails. At the start of the game, there is barely any tutorial on what you’re expected to do. This wasn’t a huge issue, having played my fair share of Souls-like games, I was fine with figuring out the controls on my own. To my surprise, the lack of controls is what ended up being the most baffling part.
You’re dropped on a map with areas where Towers can be constructed, a Monolith sits on either side of the field, one for you and your monsters, one for the humans. The goal is to construct enough towers to produce enough monsters to make it through the stupid amount of human enemies and destroy their monolith before they destroy yours. Your towers can be either offensive (they create monsters) or defensive (they can slow enemies or bolster monster production).
The more you upgrade your towers the faster you acquire souls, the faster you gain souls, the faster monsters can be produced. This cycle is simple in concept but again, flawed in design. The issue isn’t with the production of materials to improve my towers, nor was it with the monsters that were created. The issue comes from the blatantly unbalanced waves of enemies you need to deal with while trying to push out bigger, better monsters.
Each time you begin a match you start with 100 souls. This is just enough to create the very basic first monster. Their production time is relatively fast, especially compared to the next few you get, and they do a fine job of being an even match for the basic human enemies. The unbalanced issues come in to play after your second or third campaign level. As you gain new monsters and the enemy waves become harder to deal with, the thought would be that there would be a way to construct your new monsters in a way that would allow you to put up a decent defense at the beginning of the match. Sadly, this is the farthest thing from the truth. Your starting souls do not increase, but the cost of these new monsters do, and it is here that we arrive at our first glaring issue.
Most tower defense games allow player freedom that lets you play the game your way. It gives you tools to take on incoming forces, but the freedom to take out those threats with units that work best for you. The Legend of Evil doesn’t really grant you this freedom. You’re forced to summon the basic monster unit every time and use them as a way of harvesting more souls. You can then use those to start building other towers which produce new monsters or end up being defensive. There is almost a risk/reward element here since everything costs souls.
Choosing whether to make a defensive tower or change the tower you already constructed to start producing bigger, better monsters is a choice you will constantly encounter. The problem here is that while all of this is going on, wave after wave of enemies will be thrown at you and if you don’t time it right they will push through your monsters in no time and crumble your monolith.
Due to the cost of your bigger and better monsters, you cannot summon them at the start of a level, meaning you’re forced to summon the only unit you have enough souls for. You then need to either put those souls into slowing enemies or increasing monster/soul production, OR construct a new tower with new monsters to help take out the ever mounting threats. The souls you get don’t really feel like enough to make this an easy decision, and the overwhelming number of enemy units makes it hard to make on the fly choices when one stray enemy can easily destroy your monolith. So, you’re left with more of a puzzle game than a tower defense game.
To make things even more stressful, there is a timer that is always counting down. Regardless of if you have more monsters on the field or how close you come to destroying the enemy tower if the clock runs out before that tower is destroyed you lose the level. Some of the most stressful aspects of this game come from this clock, which never feels like it has enough time on it. The later fights can get intense and feel like they would benefit from the game letting you truly building up your defenses. Instead, they end up feeling rushed and just as frustrating with that timer constantly counting down to 0 in the background.
All of these elements make it feel like the game is working against you. Instead of letting you acquire monsters and use them as you see fit, the structure of the game says otherwise. It almost feels like there is a required way to win, and doing things that go against this one way will result in almost certain failure. It’s unfortunate really because there truly are some redeeming qualities in this game.
The environments are beautifully handcrafted lateral maps that hearken back to the 8-16 bit era of gaming. In addition to that, every item and character on the map comes with some lore which, if interested, offer interesting, and sometimes comical, backstory to whatever items you’re examining. All of these are collected in a lore book that you can access and read through at your convenience. In the Rogue mode version, you can spend coins to upgrade and customize your monsters. Upgrading them alters their appearance slightly, which is a unique detail they didn’t need to add, but I’m glad they did. However, these subtle details do little to distract you from the glaring issues the game brings with it.
Rogue Mode is absolutely the better variant to enjoy with this title, even if it is just as unbalanced as the main campaign. Beating each level rewards you with coins which you can then allocate as you please. The upgrades carry over to each level throughout the 8-level “mini-campaign”. There are a plethora of upgrade options here, obviously some are way better than others, however, their high price points make them undesirable over their weaker, cheaper options. There is one monster for around 1200 coins, and I’m sure he is an absolute tank, but at that price point and the small time frame in which I have to use him, I found myself never really saving up for him, when there were so many other choices that could benefit my loadouts now.
As it stands, The Legend of Evil could greatly benefit from a patch. More specifically, it could benefit from having a timer for ONLY challenge runs, if at all. If the enemy waves are going to be this hard then the monsters I make should have more HP to absorb more than one hit. My monsters should be able to hit enemies behind them, not just whats approaching them from the front. As I previously stated, just one human that gets through can easily, and rapidly, destroy my monolith. A better tutorial would make it more accessible as well. While these changes might not sound like a lot, the game would greatly benefit from them, and be a much better game for it.
I might just suck at tower defense games, but I think the greatest part about a tower defense title is the ability to play YOUR way. Balancing issues aside, the restrictive aspects of having to start every level with the same monster severely impacts the way I was forced to approach each map. Tower defense games thrive off of being able to control and use the units you want to use, and walking away with a win you gained by beating the level your way. The Legend of Evil has yet to realize, or utilize, these fundamental aspects of the genre, and unfortunately ends up being a shell of the game it was meant to be because of them.