Ragdoll Legends in Review – Mister Miyagi didn’t see this one coming!

The ragdoll physics craze started back in 2005 when Mark Healey released his indie game – Rag Doll Kung Fu. The distinguishing feature of such games is that you control one or more hot-points on the character and the rest of it follows using common physics. There have been several games on the iPhone using the same basic idea, but none have yet been able to rival the success of the grand-daddy that started them all. And just recently Chillingo released Ragdoll Legends – the would-be contender to the throne.

Ragdoll Legends is a fighting game, kind of like Mortal Combat or Street Fighter – but instead of using a whole lot of buttons to produce deadly combos, the process is a bit different here. You simply control the fighter by dragging him via his head on the screen, with the rest of the body doing its best to keep up and hands and feet flailing.

Your fighter has hot-spots on the tip of the feet and hands that when in contact with the enemy torso count as a hit (the head counts as a double hit). And so you will need to swing your would-be champion around the game area, attempting to sway him just right so that he hits the opponent smack in the face. The levels are also riddled with all sorts of obstacles to give a bit of a tactical feel to the game.

To spice up the gameplay Ragdoll Legends offers four gameplay modes and 12 playable characters (four of which have to be unlocked first). You can choose to play either with weapons (each character has a unique one) or hand-to-hand combat and the game modes are in the single fight or tournament variety. Unfortunately the main feature of the fighting games is amiss here – there’s no multiplayer at all.

The interface is extremely simple, with the whole screen acting as a touchpad. You swipe your finger in the direction you wish to pull your characters head. The physics are very well implemented and completely believable, though I did feel inertia was a bit underestimated. The graphics are very well done, with a distinct oriental feel to them. The levels are also beautifully designed, though currently there are only 3 of them.

Ragdoll Legends does leave a double impression. On one hand it is probably one of the few ways a fighting game can really work on the iPhone at the moment (Blades of Fury is one of the few exceptions). The interface works and the gameplay is quite fun. The tournament with unlockable characters gives ample reasons to stick with the game for quite some time. On the other hand it misses the multiplayer that is the most fun part of any fighting game, as well as some variety in the process. It certainly wouldn’t hurt (!) if each character were to have their very own special or killer move, thus making the combat a bit more fulfilling.  At the moment Ragdoll Legends is one of the few resorts for fans of fighting games, but I find it hard to recommend it to anyone else.

With this I declare Ragdoll Legends officially touched!

App Summary
Title: Ragdoll LegendsDeveloper: Chillingo Ltd
Reviewed Ver:1.0Min OS Req:2.2
Price:$1.99App Size:8.8 MB
  • Easy to pick up and hard to master control scheme
  • Unlockable characters
  • Nice graphics
  • Fun and original gameplay
  • No multiplayer
  • Get’s old quickly
  • No special moves

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