Leo’s Fortune is a platforming puzzle game that was ported from its original mobile incarnation onto the Xbox One. Those roots are hard to ignore; it's certainly a fun enough game to pass the time, but its brevity will be an issue for those looking for anything more substantial. It's also hard not to draw comparisons to the mobile Raymangames which give Leo's Fortune a sort of "been there, done that" reaction. Plus, the entire game can be completed in an hour, longer if you stick around to pursue 100% completion. Its lack of content and the lack of a real reason to return to it after it's over makes Leo's Fortune a "play and forget" affair.
That's a real shame because for all its shortcomings, it's a rather quaint adventure that's beautiful to boot! You'll play as the titular Leo, a mustachioed puff ball who had his vast wealth stolen from under him. Thankfully, the wretched villain left a trail of gold coins behind him giving Leo a clear path to follow. With a hunger for gold that would humble Scrooge McDuck, Leo travels to five unique lands filled with gold and dangerous obstacles. Each land, representing an Act in the story, is packed with four levels plus an additional bonus level that is unlocked after earning a maximum of three reward stars in each level. The levels themselves are short but sweet, filled with numerous traps and dangers to overcome by jumping, floating, and the occasional butt stomp.
Immediately noticeable, both to its benefit and detriment, is how all-too-familiar Leo's Fortune feels. The thought that stood out in my mind was that the game feels like a Rayman Fiesta Run built inside the Little Big Planet engine. Leo moves a lot like Rayman, and many of the platforming elements feel lifted from that game. There's even a stage that requires you to navigate chasms by floating on a current of air while dodging spikey balls. I feel like I've seen that same set up in Origins, Legends, and Fiesta Run. As such, the level design doesn't seem entirely original. There's still fun to be had, especially for those who didn't play the recent Rayman games (and shame on you!). If you're like me, however, there's nothing here you haven't seen before.
The comparison to Little Big Planet comes from the floaty and sometimes frustrating physics engine. Physics and momentum add a challenge to each stage, though sometimes for the wrong reasons. Leo glides along the path like he’s skimming across a frozen ice, which makes his movements a little hard to control. Not compensating for his movement was the number one reason for all the cheap deaths I succumbed to. Unless you're keeping Leo on a tight leash, it's too easy to slam him into a spike wall or not time a jump over a pitfall just right. Leo's moves are especially frustrating when trying to secure a three star level rating. Three stars are rewarded for fulfilling three challenges: complete the stage under par, collect all gold coins, and don't die. The last part is the trickiest. Although the levels are short, redoing them over and over to memorize the course layout and perfect the timing of jumps and the like is exactly fun.
Each stage offers a unique visual hook and puzzle elements designed to keep things interesting. However, it wasn't enough to really hold my attention. Technically speaking, it really shouldn't. Mobile games like this are designed to fill the time in between activities, whether it's going to work, taking a break from other games, or sitting on the toilet. Playing Leo’s Fortune longer than short bursts makes it less fun and interesting over time. And again, it’s over way too quickly. Rayman Fiesta Run is a free downloadable iOS game and it has much more content than this. When the game is over, there's really no reason to stick around. The game is fun and astoundingly gorgeous but it's over as soon as it starts. You're liable to delete the game from the hard drive as soon as it's over. Leo’s Fortune has all the components for fun, but it's length and familiarity are its undoing.
Librarian by day, Darkstation review editor by night. I've been playing video games since the days of the Commodore 64 and I have no interest in stopping now that I've made it this far.