Balanced things are, on balance, good. Balanced diets. Balanced chequebooks. Balanced lives. Doctors, be it medicinal, social, or spin, are never done banging on about the virtues of balance. Leverage is a game made by Champi ti Chupre in the same philosophy. As much as I’d love to give this game a balanced critique – what’s good, what’s bad – I just can’t do it, folks. This game is the worst tripe I’ve played all year, and I’m making that 200% clear in the outset just in case anyone might be fooled into wasting their time on this sorry, sorry excuse of a mobile title.
What could this game possibly be about to warrant such a Snicket-esque warning? The idea of Leverage runs as such: it’s a bastardised cross-breed of a match-3 puzzle game and an RPG. The puzzle element requires you match up coloured blocks on a set of scales, and the rub is that the similar slabs have numbers printed on them signifying their weight. This weight will swing the on-screen scales left or right, and it’s your job to micromanage two areas; creating matches to score points, and ensuring that both sides of the scales stay in perfect balance, which obviously gets harder when matches are made causing blocks to disappear. This alone is an intriguing and fulfilling concept for a mobile game, as finding the balance (I’m sorry) between keeping the scales in order and breaking blocks works reasonably well, even if this mechanic has a steep learning curve that makes it unattractive and somewhat frustrating for a mobile game.
Leverage’s real downfall comes with trying to make the game too rich and complex. Bolted on to the puzzling match-3 element is a battle mode cribbed directly from RPGs. Matching 3 represents an attack, and thus, you need to match up your blocks swiftly in order to attack your opponent. Ultimately, adding this element is where the already-tenuous game fails. By rushing players, the game becomes far too stressful and ultimately unenjoyable. A challenge in a game is nothing to be sad about, provided that the game properly builds up to it just as a book or film builds up to its conclusion. Here, you’re thrown into the deep end from square go, which gives us no reason to care about getting any better at the game. Ultimately, if you do sharpen your skills at this dismal outing of a mobile game, Leverage proves to be extremely unsubstantial, and the grind to get better at playing it simply would not be worth it.
The game then swiftly crosses the line from poor and unsatisfying to insulting with the absolutely laughable commitment to its graphics. The battles are presented in minimal fashion, like a stool stain on a ceramic latrine, with horrible cartoon .jpegs for backgrounds, likely stolen, and weird cel-shaded 3D models for the little characters murdering one another. It’s a barren game with no taste that still ends up looking horrible even despite how lacking the visuals are – I expect nothing and get even less than that.
The music is a continuation of the subversive design, and by “subversive”, I mean it subverts the expectations of being good. It’s similarly stock, designed to evoke faux-medieval sounds, which is appropriate as this game and its horrible music will make you want to fall on your own sword.
Usually in reviews, I explore other areas of a game, usually trying to discuss something, anything, that makes a title stand out, but I can’t even do it here – Leverage is as hollow and empty as a chocolate egg, and about as cheap and nasty as one. Thankfully, this game is free, because it lacks any real substance to make even a purchase for a penny sustainable. The number of levels could be counted on two hands, and that’s your lot – not that you’re likely to see the end of the game, because you’ll have binned this horrific trainwreck, near empty of redeeming factors, long before the credits roll.
This game is atrocious, and the nicest thing I can say about it is that it works, barely. You’re unlikely to experience crashes, so points for technical prowess over making a decent game. Otherwise, Leverage is an unbalanced mess and should be dropped like a heavy weight.
The score reflects this is broken or unplayable at time of review.
Absolutely atrocious. Skirts past 1/10 by an absolute hair on account of being vaguely playable – though why you would even bother is pointless.