We're looking for new writers to join us!

Leo’s Fortune

Leo’s Fortune

Written by Chapel Collins on 10/1/2015 for XBO  
More On: Leo’s Fortune

Leo's Fortune is another title that began its life as a mobile game, but you shouldn't let that discourage you from checking it out. Leo's Fortune is a very well crafted platformer, and it's a platformer in a very classical sense. It's divided into five acts of four levels, each loaded with puzzles and gorgeous visuals, each with it's own specific theme, and each with an overworld map with which you track Leo's progress. To say Leo's Fortune is simple wouldn't be incorrect, but it would be more accurate to say that it's refined. It's a small game that really only does one thing and is over nearly as quickly as it began, but it does that one thing very well and is enjoyable from start to finish.

The first thing that immediately grabbed me, and I'm sure many others, about is just how amazing Leo's Fortune looks. All of the visuals have been scaled up to 1080p for consoles, and it is nothing short of gorgeous. Some of the backgrounds look almost photorealistic, and with the amount of detail involved it's hard to believe it was ever a mobile game. I've heard a lot of people compare the visual presentation to that of Donkey Kong Country, and it's something that I thought while playing it as well; the usage of pre-rendered, 3D graphics placed into a 2D playing field give it a great sense of depth. Each act's theme is also really well realized and distinct, which made progression from one act to the next exciting. Each time, I wanted to see what beautiful landscape was coming up next, with my personal favorite being the desert ruins of Act 3. This is truly one of the most gorgeous games I have played in a long while, not only in the quality of the graphics, but also in the presentation and art direction.

The story of Leo's Fortune was a surprisingly heartfelt tale of the pitfalls of avarice and narrow-mindedness, told primarily through the thickly Russian (or, at least Eastern European) accent of our fluffy hero Leo and his fabulous moustache. In the beginning of the game, Leo's vast stockpile of gold has disappeared, and as he follows the trail of coins to try to find its captor, he muses about which of his greedy family members was the one to take it. Because of the music and the fluffball characters, it feels very much like a fable or fairy tale, and the way it's presented as a stage play gives it a lighthearted tone, almost as if it were a puppet show. The music compliments the stage production aspect as well. I could easily see the score being the score of a musical. Each act's music meshes with the theme of the act perfectly, too, with a shanty sounding piece for the pirate themed level, a mysterious Eastern sounding piece for the desert, and so on. It does tend to get repetitive though, as good as it is, and sometimes when solving a complicated puzzle, I would mute the TV so I could think in silence.

These puzzles are almost all extremely well crafted puzzles, as well. Leo's Fortune's gameplay is physics based, both in the way Leo moves and the way the puzzles are solved. Leo's movement is occasionally reminiscent of the 2D Sonic the Hedgehog games. He slides across the ground, and sometimes you'll have to build up momentum in order to go up ramps, through loops, and launch over chasms. He can also puff up with air, which is how you jump, but it also allows you to float or glide through the air. The puffing up is actually a little more than just a jump, though; when Leo puffs up he deflects away from whatever surface he's touching, which usually just means a jump from the ground, but can also mean bouncing off of ceilings and walls. This adds a bit more dimension to the puzzles, as if you're not careful, you may accidentally launch yourself into a trap while trying to jump away from it. The floating is also sometimes required to move through passages while avoiding obstacles.

The physics of the puzzles reminded me of games like Limbo. There is a lot of pushing boxes onto dangling platforms to adjust their suspension, or putting weight on one end of something in order to jump from the higher end to where you need to be, or using switches to change things in the environment to allow you to progress. Also like Limbo, I found most of these puzzles to take the perfect amount of time to solve. They were complex enough that you had to think, but not so complicated as to slow the great speed and sense of momentum the game has. It really ramps up the challenge in the last couple of levels, though, to the point where it was actually a little jarring. I died more times in one puzzle on the last level than probably everywhere else in the game combined. A good checkpoint system and a very quick respawn time keep this from being frustrating, thankfully, and aside from a few weird encounters with the physics of the jumping from time to time, the puzzles never moved past challenging and into annoying.

The only problem I really have with Leo's Fortune is the length. It's a very, very short game - I completed the whole thing in one sitting, in about two and a half hours. There are 24 levels, including the bonus levels, and most of these are meant to be completed in 5 or 6 minutes, usually less if you want to complete the time challenge. Each level has 3 stars that you can get, one for completing it in a certain time, one for completing it without dying, and one for collecting all the coins in the level. I never missed a coin, and if you set your mind to it the other two challenges could probably be completed in a few more tries, so there isn't a terrible amount of incentive to come back and play again. This is the only way you can tell that the game was a mobile game before its console reincarnation. It does feel like it was meant to be played a few minutes at a time. That's not to say it isn't fun enough to play more than that; I beat it in two hours because I didn't want to stop playing it. Despite the fact that it is so short, it does flow extremely well and never loses steam, even up until the very end.

Leo's Fortune is a lovely game and a beautiful game, but a brief one as well. If you enjoy platformers, it's definitely worth the low price of admission. Even if you don't really enjoy platformers, it's still probably worth it. The game oozes charm, and the visuals and art direction are so perfectly done that it would be a shame for any gamer not to see it. Just be aware of what you're getting into. It doesn't have the content of Rayman Legends, or really even an Xbox Arcade platformer like the previously mentioned Limbo. Even though it's now residing on the Xbox One, it might still be best to play Leo's Fortune as if it were a mobile game - slowly and casually.

Leo's Fortune is very, very short, but the small amount of content that is there is focused, charming, and wrapped in an absolutely gorgeous package.

Rating: 8 Good

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.

Leo’s Fortune Leo’s Fortune Leo’s Fortune Leo’s Fortune Leo’s Fortune Leo’s Fortune Leo’s Fortune Leo’s Fortune

About Author

One of my earliest memories is playing Duck Hunt on the NES with my older cousin. Pokemon Yellow and Ocarina of Time were the main time sinks of my childhood, and both series remain two of my favorites to this day. Xbox Live got me much more interested in FPS and other competitive and cooperative games, and nowadays I find myself enjoying cooperative games more than any others.

Aside from video games, I spend my free time writing, playing, and recording music and ritualistically binging on Netflix. View Profile