When it comes to mobile games simplicity is king. The popularity of games like Angry Birds and Temple Run highlight that. Leyenda, a side scrolling platformer currently available on Android devices, has adopted the simplicity mantra and has done it well.
Leyenda sees you take control of a bird that runs along jumping and flying over gaps, with no end in sight. It’s a simple premise, but a title that can be difficult to master. You see, the bird has an energy bar and every time you jump or fly you lose energy, which is replenished when running on the ground or collecting small bits in the air.
The challenge comes from knowing exactly when to tap the screen to keep the bird in flight and when to let it glide a bit. This is made challenging by the randomly generated levels, so you’ll never know when you’ll be able to land.
I spoke to Leyenda creator, Joel Hill, about the game and what his plans are for the future.
AS: Where did the name Leyenda come from?
JH: Early on in the development I didn’t have any music and was playing around with different styles and sounds. For a while I even had Headlong Flight by Rush as the main theme just to see how a rock song fit the style I had at the time. Eventually I stumbled upon “Suite Espanola Op. 47 – Leyenda” by composer Isaac Albéniz, and I really fell in love with the song.
As game development continued I eventually scrapped the music in favour of something that my friend, James Thompson, wrote and recorded, but the name “Leyenda” stuck. It also helps that it means “legend” and that it looks cool, haha.
How long was the game in development for?
It’s tough to say exactly how long it was in development, as it started out as something very different (if you look at the source code, the instance of the Player object is still referred to as Mario). I started chipping away at it in January of 2012, but most of the work I did then was focused on learning the Gideros SDK.
The serious work on Leyenda really started at the beginning of June after I was finished spring seeding on our family farm (it’s tough to program when [you’re] in a tractor all day). I was able to publish version 1.0 of the game at the end of the month.
Are there plans for an iOS release?
Yes. In fact, it’s pretty much ready for release, I just haven’t signed on to the app store as a developer yet, haha. I’m also waiting to see how Leyenda fairs on Android in order to determine what kind of release I have on iTunes. I may be so bold as to ask for money for the game, although that was a total flop on Google Play.
What kind of support and updates can be expected for Leyenda?
That’s also hard to say. In terms of support there have been a few minor issues that have been identified with the game that I plan on fixing. In terms of extra content, there’s a lot I had planned [that] got cut due to the limited time I had to work on it.
At this point all I can really say is that there won’t be any drastic changes to the gameplay. It’s simplicity has grown on me, and I think it contributes a lot to the game. If I make any changes, it will be to enhance the atmosphere that’s been set with the initial version of the game.
The combination of simple gameplay, a nice atmosphere generated by the game design, and music & the challenge presented in trying to beat your best scores makes Leyenda a key game for Android users for when there’s a few minutes spare, and since it’s free to download there is no real excuse to not give the game a go. If it sounds like your sort of thing, you can grab it here.