Publisher: Koch Media
Genre(s): Simulation, Dice, Survival
Platform: Nintendo Switch (Also available on PC)
Age Rating: PEGI7
Release Date: 09/09/2021
A code was provided for review purposes
Roll Dice For The Win
Two of my favourite things in the world are video games and board games and when they collide, woo-hoo, exciting times ahoy! I knew nothing about Dice Legacy going in but I knew it had dice and was a video game so most of the battle had already been won, let’s roll the dice and hope for an enjoyable video game board game mashup.
Dice Legacy is a survival come city builder based around, yes you guessed it, dice. You rock up to a shore on a boat with nothing but a handful of workers, or dice in this case and must harvest, scavenge and build to survive. Dice Legacy has much in common with other building sims but the dice really add a layer of uniqueness but also a layer of RNG that likes to kick you in the nethers if you are not careful.
There are six scenarios to play and multiple leaders with special abilities but the gameplay is always pretty much the same. You start with six dice, you can roll them or place them and what sides are showing on the dice dictate what function they can fulfil. Seems simple so far eh? Well, the wrinkle in this simple premise or the ‘fly in the ointment if you will is the fact these dice degrade with every roll.
Every dice has a limited amount of times it can be rolled so you can’t just throw them around willy nilly, you must use them carefully, roll them only when needed and tend to them like cube-based children. There are buildings you can build to repair them but still, there is more to this game than just throwing dice and deciding what to do with them. A hell of a lot more in fact!
You start with peasant dice, which are orange in colour and are the ‘basic’ form of the workers you will be commanding. These dice, through upgrading, can be turned into higher-level citizens, changing the colour of the dice and increasing their functionality. Dice can also be combined and even taken through into future games with a feature called ‘Ascension’ which adds a nice little rogue-like twist to this survival sim.
Management, Management and Happiness
There are a lot of small systems, tweaks and stuff to get stuck into but it mainly involves collecting resources and using these resources to build buildings and unlock more ways to strengthen and survive. The world you are building in is a massive ring that you progress through, it’s very odd but works quite well on the small screen of the Nintendo Switch. You will also have a few irksome things to deal with along with trying to survive.
There are bills that need to be passed that affect the happiness of the different groups of workers you have, keeping them all happy and functioning is a task in itself. If they are happy they work thoroughly and if not, they have a detrimental effect on your whole building process. There is also a skill tree to work on that unlocks different perks and bonuses. At times it’s a bit like plate spinning, sometimes it is just a case of which problem will hit the floor first.
Winter is the big one, winter can freeze your dice and makes producing food and other stuff difficult. Frozen dice are unusable but you can prevent this by building structures that burn wood and keep everything warm within a certain range. You will also from time to time get attacked and this is where you need to roll those pesky swords to send your workers into battle. That’s where the RNG of this game kicks off and more often than not slaps you in the face.
RNG with Added Punishment
Don’t get me wrong, I expected some randomness to this game, especially where dice are concerned. However, there is something slightly vexatious when you need to roll a certain face and keep failing. Add to this the durability of your dice lowering with every failure and you have a system that is sometimes, only sometimes, frustrating. Once you have this settled in your mind though, once you are bedded in with the game’s systems it gets easier and as long as you provision for it, it’s manageable.
The other issue I have with this game is that I find the replay value is quite low. Even though there is the ‘Ascension’ system, six scenarios and several leaders every game is roughly the same. A little more variability in the maps and a little more randomness game to game would have given me much more reason to keep diving in. Now, as it stands I just have a quick blast now and again when I fancy something a bit weird to play. That’s good weird though not bad weird.
Graphically, while not being breathtaking, Dice Legacy looks nice enough and everything is perfectly legible, even in portable mode where I did most of my playing. The sound work, from the fantasy style music to the clank of the rolling dice does a good job of keeping you invested. The control scheme, after an initial adjustment period, felt well thought out but I am sure, as with all these types of games a keyboard and mouse would have been better.
A Unique, Quirky Game For Dice Fans
Dice Legacy’s best feature is its novelty. I have never quite played a game like it. Yes, it has threads of other city builders or survivalist games but the dice, the RNG and the way you go about your business make this title very unique. As I said it takes a bit to bend your mind around what’s cracking off but all being said and done, it’s a lovely little time waster, especially being portable on Nintendo’s home console hybrid. It’s cheap, runs well and can be played in short bursts. Just don’t get annoyed with the dice not falling your way.
Rapid Reviews Rating
3.5 out of 5
If you would like to purchase Dice Legacy from the Nintendo EShop, you can here.
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.