We’ve all heard of Robin Hood. However, if you haven’t, allow me to elaborate. This mysterious outlaw stole from the rich and gave to the poor. He had a band of merry men to help with this task, and he was driven by his moral compass. Now, you may wonder why I’m talking about a ye olde thief with a heart of gold. Well, The Legend of Tianding shares many of its key ideas with this historical character. As such, this is one game that is full of action, dilemmas, and a healthy amount of one-upmanship.
Developed by Creative Games Computer Graphics Corporation and published by Neon Doctrine, this is a side-scrolling adventure platformer. What’s more, it has oodles of fighting elements, an incredibly distinctive art style, and a captivating story. Moreover, it supports multiple languages, making it accessible and authentic.
The Legend of Tianding is based on real events.
I’m a sucker for a real events strapline. These enticing words make every moment pop while making the experience more interesting. The Legend of Tianding is set in the early 1900s in the Japanese-occupied lands of Taiwan. Subsequently, the locals are treated as slaves and their Japanese overlords care not. Instead, they revel in their newfound powers and are oblivious to the damage they are causing.
Thankfully for the locals, a legendary outlaw is on their side. Whenever the balance of rich and poor comes into question, Liāu Thiam-Ting steps forward and saves the day. Consequently, you control this hero as he undertakes many dangerous missions across 6 interesting chapters. Throughout his adventures, he must learn new combat techniques, find collectables to improve his powers and help the locals as best he can. On top of this, you must tackle an array of goons, overcome insane bosses, and complete quests and side hustles to keep things moving along.
A classic approach.
As I leapt platforms and tackled countless goons, I was reminded of Streets of Rage. Yet, The Legend of Tianding is much more refined and eloquent in its approach. Furthermore, there are many more secrets to discover and plenty of collectables to find. However, the ebb and flow of the core concept are extremely classical in their approach. Effectively, the episodic game pushes you through a semi-linear world towards a larger-than-life boss. Once you overcome him and his underlings, you complete your mission and progress.
This is the crux of the gameplay and its simplicity won’t disappoint you. Instead, you’ll love the drip-fed mechanics, the blend of special abilities, and the game-changing collectables. Alongside this, the combo-based combat is attractive, interesting, and enjoyable to master. Furthermore, you can steal weapons to turn the tide of battle in your favour. These basic ideas shouldn’t have been so impressive. However, the slick presentation alongside the vast arsenal of guns and Kung Fu moves will fascinate you.
Beggars, secrets, and side quests.
Though much of the action focuses on the hard-hitting combat and the main story, there is still room for other key elements. This is where the Robin Hood idea comes to the fore. The local villages are full of beggars and peasants desperate for help and money. Consequently, you have a choice. You can choose to run past every vagrant, or you can give away some of your hard-earned cash. If you choose to be generous, you’ll be rewarded with skill, weapon, and attribute upgrades. As such, these minor improvements increase your likelihood of survival while making you a badass killing machine.
If the idea of helping stinking beggars turns your stomach, then maybe you’ll concentrate on completing side quests instead. These simple missions demand that you purchase goods or find items in previously visited locations. Thankfully, they’re not too pressing and can help with your progress and character development. Alternatively, you can spend your time searching for secret locations and hidden chests. These treasure troves are loaded with gold and plenty of collectables. Consequently, taking your time to search every chapter thoroughly is both rewarding and essential.
The Legend of Tianding looks incredible.
The Legend of Tianding delivers a wonderful platforming experience. Moreover, its story is fascinating, fulfilling, and laced with emotion. However, these pails into insignificance when compared to their visuals. The stunning Manga imagery combined with its comic book flair was unbelievably good! The action flits from open gameplay to comic book cutscenes at the drop of a hat. Subsequently, this will resonate with fans of Anime or Manga. On top of this, the interesting backdrops, the vivid colour palette, and the smooth animation make this a treat to play.
Using subtitles to decipher narration isn’t for everyone. Yet, for me, this works perfectly with the theme and the genre. Furthermore, Asian music adds character and authenticity to the action. What’s more, the high-energy songs enhance the drama and keep you playing. Moreover, the harsh sound effects are brilliant but tough to listen to. You’ll note the brutality of each gun, the callous nature of each sword, and the horrifying sound of each blunt instrument.
With plenty of combos to learn and loads of platforms to navigate, the controls are understandably fiddly. However, if you so wish, you can focus on the basic combat mechanics and revert to a hack n slash approach. Alongside this, you are free to steal your opponent’s weapons once they are too weak to fight back. Once this happens, you’ll shoot, slice, and smash your foes until their tools of destruction break. I adored this idea, as it rewards a tactical mindset while adding another layer to each combat encounter.
The sheer amount of collectables, side quests, and secrets ensure that you can play this for hours. Moreover, the enjoyable combat and tough boss battles will keep you hooked. Additionally, there are several difficulty settings that keep the action balanced without making it too easy.
The Legend of Tianding is an exceptional game.
On the surface, The Legend of Tianding is a basic fighting title mixed with platforming mechanics. However, once you look deeper, you find a rewarding game with a fantastic story. Yes, much of the combat is repetitive, and the platform elements could have been tougher, but this didn’t matter. What’s important is the excellent aesthetics, authentic narration, and enjoyable gameplay. Accordingly, I loved it and I recommend that you buy it here! Will the Asian Robin Hood save the day? Take on every mission, teach the bad guys a lesson, and prove that Kung Fu kicks ass.