I discovered Doctor Who Legacy when some of the kids at a homeschool convention saw my Tardis necklace, and told me all their favorite Doctor Who games and episodes. When one of the kids showed me this game on his iPad, and I saw the screen full of colored gems, I asked if it was a match-three.
“How did you that’s what you do?” one of the kids asked. “Wait, have you played this before?”
Oh, my sweet summer children.
Doctor Who Legacy is a strategic match-three, where all the powers and characters relate to the show. As you play the match-three boards, you’ll unlock doctors and companions, and each character has a special ability. Martha Jones increases healing by 15%, and the Eleventh Doctor can use A Fast Plan to attack. One of the companions is a cute little Adipose, with the ability to change black gems into yellow gems. That’s because adipose stem cells are pluripotent and can become all different things. (I hope you laughed, because that joke is the only enjoyment I got out of that science class.)
How did you know this is a match-three, Ms Meg?
You’ll get one doctors and up to five companions on your team, while the rest of the unlocked characters hang out on the Tardis, probably having the best party ever. You can only use one team at a time, but you can make and save multiple teams, so you could have a team with your favorite doctors and his real companions, and a optimal team for defeating levels of Weeping Angels, and also a team of Beloved and Underused Companions. (I stole that idea from a twelve-year-old, and I am not sorry.)
Each puzzle level progresses the plot, and for dedicated fans, you can also buy the related episode right through the game.
The game is freemium, powered either by 30-second invasive adverts, or an in-app purchase to unlock the a Fan Area with new content. There’s so much free content to play, so many levels and characters and upgrades, that unlocking the Fan Area is only really tempting as a way to make the advertisements stop. I had a long conversation with Harold about whether this is an ad-supported game or the freemium model where the game is deliberately unbalanced, and players are extorted to fix the balance. Actually it wasn’t so much a conversation as it was me ruminating on monetization methods and perceived value while Harold reads a comic and murmurs agreement periodically. Relationships are great!
Also, players who pay unlock Donna Noble, so there’s a serious value add for players who purchase. I’m glad that she’s so much of a fan favorite.
Are you really sure? We didn’t get this dialogue approved by all those brand managers just for you to skip it!
If you don’t want to read the dialogue (which is quite good, but definitely doesn’t hold up the second, third or sixtieth times you replay the level trying to get the Martha Jones rare drop), this pop-up reminds you that without the story, you’re playing a clever match-three.
I tend towards simple puzzle games while I’m unwinding… where most people would read a little, but if I start reading I’ll be up all night finishing the book. Anyway. My friend Jennette talks about playing a few rounds of Candy Crush in the evening, and I’m finding that’s what I do with Doctor Who Legacy: Stretch out and defeat a few Daleks before bedtime.