Ah, Leona’s Tricky Adventures, how long were we waiting for you? It seems that KTX were finding it indeed tricky to keep us rabid Dreamcast gamers in the loop with what had become of the DC/Amiga crowd-funding project that failed to get the backing required back in 2013. Many assumed, us included that the game was to join Reticon’s Tahi in the vapourware drawer forever.
Fast forward to 2016, and what we now have is the first Dreamcast game of the year out of the gate., albeit, quietly.
So the question has to be raised, is the game worthy of your time? Well, I’ll be the first to say I’m surprised that the game made it to production, there was a time where it seemed that the money went down the drain without a trace, sure rough screens and the occasional Facebook status update from KTX made sure we knew it was still a ‘thing’ so I opened the package this morning and was greeted by the packaging of the game, I found this somewhat mixed bag, my leanings were towards liking the design of the artwork and usage of Dreamcast to show it was indeed for the this console but I also found the product design perhaps had the proposed Amiga version in the forefront of aesthetics rather than Sega’s packaging designs but as it stands, it still fits in with the various GOAT and RSG releases in CD jewel cases.
The CD art is of a very nice standard and is actually some of the nicer designs out there; it isn’t too full-on with text and art but at the same time, isn’t spartan like some other late-era Dreamcast CD artwork can be. The back cover states a little about the story and background talent behind the game along with Sega’s North American peripheral chart icons which is a decent touch that perhaps could have been aided by using the black ‘curve’ design matching later North American Dreamcast products. The booklet for the game could have done with a few more pages and is somewhat the letdown on the packaging side of things.
KTX has done a good job of making the Dreamcast read the game in a nature that doesn’t strain the GD-Rom drive inside the console, I found my first play actually very quiet from a pickup standpoint, the machine was clearly not under much load. You’re met with an intro screen which is pleasant enough and a decent touch to make the product a little more professional. I found the menu system try basic and although easy to navigate, it wasn’t very flashy compared to 2008’s Wind and Water Puzzle Battles but one would argue it’s less spartan than Irides : Master of Blocks from 2010.
I went into Leona’s Tricky Adventures expecting a basic Amiga-era no frills puzzle game which would be devoid of any real purpose as to what I was doing in the first place but I found in actual fact a charming introduction with a little bit of story and a clear objective of what I was meant to achieve, and although the over world graphics could be argued into the category of basic, I saw charm and thoughtfulness added to the residence of the game world and neat touches in the animation.
Sure, the graphics of such a game aren’t taxing the Sega’s 128 bit graphical prowess in the same way that games like Ghostblade may, but that isn’t the objective here. Leona’s Tricky Adventures really does benefit from it’s over world system and the actual puzzle side of the game has a unique edge over other similar genre games on the system, the title uses an emulate premise requiring the player to create the adjacent image that is required to progress through a set of puzzles leading to an opening in the journey road I found this daunting once the tutorial levels let you loose but I soon found myself getting to grips with it once I took the undo button into account.
Another feature that adds to the charm of Leona’s Tricky Adventures is the soundtrack, this really adds to the feel that KTX were going for when developing the game and isn’t repetitive to the point of becoming jarring – I found myself instantly reminded of Donkey Kong Country when making my way through the initial caves and was pleased to notice that the music changes depending on the area you’re in.
Overall what we have here is the first Dreamcast title of 2016 and thankfully, it’s one fully worthy of your time if you are looking for a decent puzzle game with charm and depth, the game isn’t unfairly difficult and is presented nicely; the game may not be to the tastes of those looking for fast reflex and action orientated software .
—> Decent, inoffensive music.
—> Lots of charm and character.
—> Pick up and play qualities.
—> Packaging likely to cause a stir.
—> Frontend very basic compared to other DC games
—> Perhaps too tough for some later on.