PEGBRJE: LOVE and Legend of Hand

Those are spikes. That little character must land

LOVE is a pixelated platformer made by Fred Wood, a solo dev out of Texas. This title follows a small character for players to pilot through 16 levels of platforming challenges in a retro environment. At first glance, it appears like many other platforming titles, with few mechanics to worry about; until one realizes that there are no checkpoints. Instead, players make their own.

In the pursuit of accessibility, LOVE is a game that allows players to choose where they wish to respawn as they go by creating a checkpoint at the press of a button. Rather than having set places, players place their respawn location at their current location to return to, and with no cooldown it allows for constant save points in a level. Of course, there are some caveats to this as players can’t put these points in the air, and putting them in the path of dangers gets them destroyed. For those of us that find platformers extremely stressful, this is an absolute godsend of a feature. The biggest fear associated with platforming is that one tiny misstep will wipe massive amounts of progress, but with this feature I was able to add constant checkpoints during the most stressful moments in order to make these terrifying areas more manageable.

LOVE is a smaller title, but features numerous gamemodes to try out the title. The default, Arcade, gives players 100 lives to finish the game — even with this large amount of lives I still didn’t make it to the end. The one that scared me the most was definitely the ‘yolo’ mode, as it gives only one life to complete the entire game and I just don’t see that being possible for myself. For those that enjoy customization, LOVE also features a bunch of options to import personal assets and creation tools to create new levels to share amongst friends and family. I don’t have much else to talk about, it’s a solid title that spawned a sequel and an upcoming threequel. If anyone is looking for a platformer that anyone can just jump onto, this is definitely a fantastic title to try out.

Legend of Hand is a point-and-click fusion adventure made by Cloak and Dagger Games, a trio of developers from the UK and NZ. Players in this adventure are the ‘Hero’, a fighter that players can name themselves that won the tournament on the mainland for their fighting prowess. Summoned by the Grandmasters, they are given a new quest to seek out this legendary warrior known only as Grandmaster Hand who has gone missing from the 4 islands they govern. Tasked with finding this legendary individual, the Hero will have to travel from island to island to search for clues as to where they have gone and if they can be retrieved.

Legend of Hand has players utilizing many retro styles from eras before my time, as the Hero will need players to click and interact with objects throughout the world to discover their properties and abilities. Like with many point and clicks, solutions to each problem will be multilayered puzzles, such as the first real challenge to get inside the dojo of the first island. It involves many steps to get specific items, and even then some items are rejected when players think they’ve found the solution. For many unfamiliar with the genre, this style of puzzle solving may be a tad jarring thanks to the obtuse nature of trying to find a singular solution that seemingly has no ties to anything else, but following the threads will slowly unravel the answer.

The other half that I was not expecting is an homage to retro fighting games in a turn based martial arts competition, which can be initiated via dialogue. Hero may be the one challenging another to a duel, or they may challenge the Hero, but the results are still the same; players will have to decide a fighting style and begin combat. These fighting styles have different movesets that can be expanded by learning new moves throughout the world to give some slight customization options for players. Once a moveset is picked, players go into combat against the enemy and select their move in a turn-based combat style, where the green number is damage done to the enemy and the red is self-inflicted.

It’s a peculiar title, as Legend of Hand is a nostalgia trip for a different era, with a unique artstyle to compliment it. I’m not certain this style is for me, but I did enjoy the moments that I did play while attempting to figure out the Legend of this Hand. If you are into point and clicks from the past, this is a title to try out and see for yourself.

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