Pantheon the Legends (iOS) review
The game is, at heart, a card battle game that is very similar to the numerous other examples of the genre that are already all over the App Store. As usual, the game is split into two main components — a single-player “Quest” section that consists entirely of repeatedly tapping a button until energy runs out, and an asynchronous battle section in which players can compete against one another in order to try and assemble various multi-part treasures. As usual, the player vs player component is completely automatic and is nothing more than a numbers game — whoever has cards with higher values on them will inevitably win. There is no skill or strategy involved whatsoever.
The player gains experience points as they progress through the single-player quest mode, and this increases various statistics including their maximum energy and number of player vs player battles they can compete in before having to wait or pay to recharge. The player’s cards, which are mostly collected through playing the single-player quests but which may also be purchased with hard currency, may also be “enhanced” to power them up and make them more effective in combat against other players. As per usual for the genre, this requires that cards be “sacrificed” in order to provide experience points for the specific card being enhanced. When cards have reached their maximum level, they may be “ascended” into a more effective form by using an Ascension Token item, which is only available through specific parts of the single-player component.
The game monetizes through sales of its hard currency gold. This may be exchanged for powerful cards, energy-restoring items or converted to soft currency silver, which is required for enhancing cards and purchasing certain items. In player vs player battles, the winner also gets to steal some of the loser’s silver, but there are two “safelock” items purchasable with soft currency that prevent a certain amount from being stolen — though the game takes a “cut” of the silver for this privilege. Hard currency may also be used to purchase special items that allow the player to speak in the global chat function — they are otherwise limited to sending just five messages.
The game features its own proprietary network, and players can choose their own custom username when they first start playing. It’s also possible to connect the game to Facebook, but this is so a player’s account can be synchronized between different devices rather than for any particular features unique to the social network. Players who do not have a Facebook account and wish to transfer their game progress between devices can use their email address instead; both options provide the player with an in-game bonus for handing over their information.
Pantheon the Legends suffers from all the usual flaws of the card-battle genre, though is presented better than most, with some decent (but repetitive) background music and some well-drawn, heavily-stylized graphics in a super-deformed style somewhat reminiscent of the Japanese “chibi” aesthetic. However, presentation doesn’t hide the fact that the game is heavy on the data access, extremely slow to navigate and rather unpolished — you can see individual interface elements loading one at a time on screen when switching menus, even when the two menus have a lot of elements in common. The text has also been rather badly translated to English, and stylistically it doesn’t seem to know whether it wants to tell a serious story about Greek gods or continually break the “fourth wall” by addressing the player and making self-referential jokes about how all they’re doing is repeatedly tapping the Quest button.
On the whole, Pantheon the Legends adds very little to the rather stagnant card battle genre, and very little to mobile gaming as a whole. It’s yet another predictable example of a copycat game attempting to capture the same success as the similarly-awful Rage of Bahamut, and thus it’s one to skip past.
Boring, slow and mindless; business as usual for the stagnant card-battle genre.