I know I promised that Final Fantasy: Tactics would be the subject of the next review. I don’t review games until I’ve played through them with a high level of completion, preferably 100%, and I am downright terrible at Final Fantasy: Tactics. Instead, with the release of Doctor Who: Infinity, I’ve gone back and played through the best “match 3” game I’ve ever played.

Company Credits

Title: Doctor Who: Legacy
Developer: Tiny Rebel Games and Seed Studios
System: iOS and Android
Release Date: Approximately November 16, 2013. (It came out about a week before the 50th Anniversary special hit.)
Game Type: Free to play match 3 game.

Premise

Something is breaking time, so a variety of incarnations of the Doctor and his companions work together to save all of the days.

High Point

This is a very different match 3 game than most of the others. Not only is it strategy and plot driven, but you have a certain amount of time to drag one item around the 5×6 grid, giving the possibility of creating multiple simultaneous matches.

Low Point

Development seemingly stopped before all of the plot threads were wrapped up. (It is possible that development will resume once Doctor Who: Infinity is up and running, but I don’t know that for sure.)

Character List and Game Mechanics

This is a really engaging match 3 game. You bring one team leader (a version of the Doctor or one particular River Song) and up to five team members into each level. Each such character has a special ability, such as the ability to change colours of the objects in the grid, or stun enemies, poison enemies, cure allies of poison, and a lot more.

As for the characters involved, there are often multiple versions of the same character, either from different points in their character arcs or from elite level packs and so forth. There are 31 team leaders and 247 companions to choose from, all with appropriate likeness rights secured so the in game characters really do look like the actual actors. The art is done by the team from Titan Comics, so some of their original creations are represented, too.

Aside from the 13 male versions of the Doctor, we also have the following characters and companions:

  • “Me”
  • “Me” +
  • 11th Doctor Flesh Clone
  • Abslom Daak
  • Adipose (Black)
  • Adipose (Blue)
  • Adipose (Green)
  • Adipose (Red)
  • Adipose (Yellow)
  • Adipose +
  • Alex Thompson
  • Alice Uwaebuka Obiefune
  • Amy Pond
  • Amy Pond +
  • Angie Maitland
  • ARC
  • Artie Maitland
  • Astrid Peth
  • Bannakaffalatta
  • Bessie
  • Bill Potts
  • Bill Potts +
  • Bitey the Cybermat
  • Brian Williams
  • Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart
  • Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart +
  • Buzzer Ganger
  • Canton Delaware III
  • Captain Henry Avery
  • Captain Rory Williams
  • Charlotte Elspeth Pollard
  • Charlotte Elspeth Pollard +
  • Church Bishop
  • Church Cleric
  • Church Verger
  • Cinder
  • Clara Oswald
  • Clara Oswald +
  • Colonel Orson Pink
  • Courtney Woods
  • Craig Owens
  • Danny Pink
  • Danny Pink +
  • Donna Noble
  • Donna Noble +
  • Dorium Maldovar
  • Dorothy “Ace” McShane
  • Dorothy “Ace” McShane +
  • Dr. Edwin Bracewell
  • Einarr
  • Elizabeth X
  • Fan Area Grace Holloway
  • Fan Area Gwen Cooper
  • Fan Area Strax
  • Fan Brigadier
  • Fan Churchill
  • Fan Impresario Webley
  • Fan Jack
  • Fan Jenny
  • Fan Jenny Flint
  • Fan Josie Day
  • Fan Martha Jones
  • Fan Ood Sigma
  • Fan River Song
  • Fan Robin Hood
  • Fan Rose
  • Fan Rusty
  • Fan Sarah Jane Smith
  • Fan Sonic Sunglasses
  • Fan Teller
  • Fan Vastra
  • Father Octavian
  • Frobisher
  • Gabriella “Gabby” Gonzalez
  • Gastron
  • George Thompson
  • Grace Holloway
  • Grace Holloway +
  • Grant
  • Gwen Cooper
  • Handles
  • Harry Sullivan
  • Harry Sullivan +
  • Hawthorne
  • Hydroflax with Nardole Head
  • Hydroflax with Ramone Head
  • Ianto Jones
  • Ianto Jones +
  • Idris
  • Idris +
  • Impresario Webley
  • Jac
  • Jack Harkness
  • Jack Harkness +
  • Jacks Sonic Blaster
  • Jackson Lake
  • Jackson Lake +
  • Jagganth Daiki-Nagata
  • Jennifer Lucas
  • Jenny
  • Jenny +
  • Jenny Flint
  • Jenny Flint +
  • Jimmy Wicks Ganger
  • Jo Grant
  • Jo Grant +
  • John Jones
  • John Riddell
  • Josie Day
  • K9 MK 2
  • K9 MK 2 +
  • Kate Stewart
  • Kate Stewart +
  • Lorna Bucket
  • Lucy Fletcher
  • Madame Vastra
  • Madame Vastra +
  • Malohkeh
  • Martha Jones
  • Martha Jones +
  • Meta-Crisis Tenth Doctor
  • Mickey Smith
  • Mickey Smith +
  • Miranda Cleaves
  • Miranda Cleaves Ganger
  • Mr. Huffle
  • Nardole
  • Nardole +
  • Ohila
  • Old Canton Delaware III
  • Ood
  • Ood (Black)
  • Ood (Blue)
  • Ood (Green)
  • Ood (Red)
  • Ood Sigma
  • Oswin Oswald
  • Perkins
  • Petronella Osgood
  • Petronella Osgood +
  • Polly Wright
  • Polly Wright +
  • Porridge
  • Professor River Song +
  • Punishment Medic
  • Punishment Soldier
  • Queen Nefertiti
  • Ramone
  • Reinette
  • Reinette +
  • Rigsy
  • River Song
  • River Song +
  • River Songs Sonic Blaster
  • River Songs Sonic Screwdriver
  • Robin Hood
  • Romanas Sonic Screwdriver
  • Rory the Handbot
  • Rory Williams
  • Rory Williams +
  • Rose Tyler
  • Rose Tyler +
  • Rusty the Dalek
  • SA Cool Mickey
  • SA Jack Harkness
  • SA Jo Grant
  • SA River Song
  • SA The First Doctors signet ring
  • Saibra
  • Sam Garner
  • Santa Claus
  • Santa Claus +
  • Sarah Jane Smith
  • Sarah Jane Smith +
  • Sarah Janes Sonic Lipstick
  • Shayde
  • Signature Dorothy “Ace” McShane
  • Signature Jo Grant
  • Signature Osgood
  • Signature Peri
  • Signature Rigsy
  • Signature Saibra
  • Signature Vincent Van Gogh
  • Silent Priest (Black)
  • Silent Priest (Blue)
  • Silent Priest (Green)
  • Silent Priest (Red)
  • Silent Priest (Yellow)
  • Sonic Sunglasses
  • Sonic Trowel
  • Special Agent Amy Pond
  • Spoonhead 11th Doctor
  • Stormageddon
  • Strackman Lux
  • Strax
  • Strax +
  • Susan Foreman
  • Susan Foreman +
  • Tasha Lem
  • The Eighth Doctors Sonic Screwdriver
  • The Eleventh Doctors Sonic Cane
  • The Eleventh Doctors Sonic Screwdriver Mk 6
  • The Eleventh Doctors Sonic Screwdriver Mk 7
  • The Fifth Doctors Sonic Screwdriver
  • The Fourth Doctors Sonic Screwdriver
  • The Girl Who Waited
  • The Girl Who Waited Sonic Screwdriver
  • The Moment
  • The Moment +
  • The Ninth Doctors Sonic Screwdriver
  • The Second Doctors Sonic Screwdriver
  • The Seventh Doctors Sonic Screwdriver
  • The TARDIS
  • The Teller
  • The Tenth Doctors Sonic Screwdriver
  • The Third Doctors Sonic Screwdriver Mk 2
  • The Third Doctors Sonic Screwdriver Mk 3
  • The Twelfth Doctors Sonic Screwdriver
  • The War Doctors Sonic Screwdriver
  • Tobias “Toby” Zed
  • Tricey
  • Trickster Peri
  • Trickster Saibra
  • Trickster Sarah Jane Smith
  • Trickster TARDIS
  • Trickster Zygon
  • UNIT Commander
  • UNIT Medic
  • UNIT Soldier
  • Vincent Van Gogh
  • Whomobile
  • Wilfred Mott
  • Wilfred Mott +
  • William Shakespeare
  • Winder (Black)
  • Winder (Blue)
  • Winder (Green)
  • Winder (Red)
  • Winder (Yellow)
  • Winston Churchill
  • Young Grant
  • Young Sarah Jane Smith
  • Zygon (Black)
  • Zygon (Blue)
  • Zygon (Green)
  • Zygon (Red)
  • Zygon (Yellow)

Each character has one or two colours associated with them. If you match three blue objects, all characters with blue on them attack. There are five such attack colours, while pink gems heal the party. Levels with Weeping Angels also have stones to clear.

Pricing

The game is free and ad supported, but minimal purchases deactivate the ads and unlock the fan area levels and characters. Purchasing all available add-on content totals $38.95Can, so it’s probably about $30US. If you are trying it out, the Trickster pack add-on includes a group of characters that start at level 50 (with a character maximum of level 60), which will carry you through a huge number of the early levels.

The Scores

This has an original mechanic and basis for a match 3 game, with the story arcs and character abilities. I give it 5 out of 6.

The main story is organized into four chapters, with add on content having plot lines of their own. There have also been levels tied to the releases of new episodes from season 8 on, following the TV stories. I find myself getting invested in the story, rather than just wanting to skip it to get to the next level. I give it 5 out of 6.

The graphics look good, if they are static. The characters don’t move, although you often have multiple outfits to pick from. The likenesses are great, but some animation would have been welcome. I also like that the objects you can match are configurable. (I went with roundells.) I give it 4 out of 6.

The sound is great, with music right from the series and appropriate sound effects. There are also multiple music tracks for levels, so it doesn’t get monotonous if/when it takes multiple attempts to finish the more challenging levels. I give it 5 out of 6.

The playability is great. Unlocking new level caps for characters, planning out complementary special abilities, deciding which opponent to target first, etc. provide a heavily strategic element. At the time of this review, I’ve completed all but two of the Expert Season 2 levels. The difficulty curve is engaging but not frustrating. The hardest levels are very hard, and the easiest levels were designed to engage the young. That’s not an exaggeration: Tiny Rebel Games got an email from a parent who said his three year old daughter, Anna, enjoyed playing with him, but did get discouraged when she lost. The game developers responded by adding two levels named “Anna’s Playground” which cannot be lost, and eventually added an entire kids area in add on content. I give it 6 out of 6.

The immersion is good as it can get for a mobile game. It’s not a first person perspective, nor are you seeing the world, but the strategies involved and story keep me engaged. I give it 4 out of 6.

Overall, this is one of the better mobile puzzle games I’ve played, and definitely my personal favorite of the match 3 genre and the Doctor Who games that I’ve tried. Knowledge of Doctor Who is optional, but beneficial. I give it 6 out of 6. I’m really looking forward to seeing what this same team does with Doctor Who: Infinity, a match 3 game that seems like you play through original graphic novels with the voice cast drawn from the actual performers on the show.

In total, Doctor Who: Legacy receives 35 out of 42.