Oasis Games have been doing a great job of cultivating interesting games from the Chinese development scene. I haven’t always loved what they put out, but the games have been steadily improving in quality. I recently got to preview their upcoming 2D action platformer Hidden Dragon Legend, which is a product of Chinese indie developer MegaFun Games.
From a combat perspective, Hidden Dragon Legend is pretty plain. The player can dish out some sweet combo attacks by hitting weak and strong attacks, but enemies typically put up little resistance once they were hit. Once I got that first hit sword strike in, and had started a combo, the book had pretty much been written on the encounter. There are a bunch of unlockable combos, which should spruce things up, but the game will have to challenge players and give them a good reason to use such moves.
Sadly, the core combat wasn’t very engaging. It was fine mashing out combos, but I wasn’t getting a satisfaction out of slicing through a ton of enemies like in Dynasty Warriors, instead I just felt unchallenged. Some further enemy encounters added some variety (as I had to hit them from the back instead of from the front), but it never really challenged me much.
One thing that did stand out about the combat was the ability to use a grappling hook. I’m always a sucker for a solid grappling hook mechanic in a game (and I played way too much Bionic Commando due to it), and the one found in Hidden Dragon Legend is pretty fun. I mainly used it to pull flying enemies toward me, and then would use that sudden change in movement as a chance to jump into a combo attack. It’s all pretty slick and helps spice up what is otherwise a pretty ordinary action game.
One nice thing that I noticed during my demo was that the levels did encourage some exploration. It’s a pretty straightforward left-to-right action game for the most part, but occasionally there were alternate paths that the player could take. For example, by falling down slightly I was able to go to a floor of a building where a treasure chest was kept. If I had stuck to the rooftops I would’ve missed it entirely, so it’s nice to see the game rewarding players that poke around the environments.
Finally, the player is able to unleash some pretty cool looking special moves once they build up enough energy. I had four separate ones at my disposal, but I didn’t find myself using them very often since I wasn’t having much difficulty with the regular enemies. It did become very useful during one specific encounter, though, which I’ll details below.
Hidden Dragon Legend Preview (PS4) — Kung Fu Fighting
As I mentioned earlier, much of the combat required little attention from me, as simply mashing combos out was getting me through baddies. That wasn’t the case for the boss fight that the demo ended with, though. It was the first challenge that I got to go up against, and it’s no coincidence that it was the highlight of my playtime.
The boss was able to do a huge amount of damage with each successful attack, and my defensive movement was off at the start. For the first time in the entire demo, I was having to use my potions. The next thing I knew, I was just about out of them, and I had only taken a chunk of health out of the boss. That meant that I had to play near-flawlessly to win. It was a rough go for sure, but I managed to play more defensively sound and I learned his routines just in time to squeak out a narrow victory.
Hidden Dragon Legend wasn’t overly impressive, but to its credit the most interesting section was the last thing I saw. If each boss battle is as thrilling as the one I played, then this could be a very enjoyable 2D action title. It’s set to release September 19 on PlayStation 4, so players won’t have to wait all that long to see more of it.
Hidden Dragon Legend preview conducted at PAX West. Previewed on PlayStation 4.