Legend of Hand Review
Legend of Hand Review
Don’t be put off by the martial arts elements – this is a delightful adventure that will appeal to those with a heart for a heroic quest with a sense of humor
Posted: 03/14/18 | Category: Review | Developer: Clock and Dagger Games | Publisher: Clock and Dagger Games | Platform: Windows

Genre: 2D Point-and-Click Martial Arts Adventure
Release date: September 27, 2017
Platform: Windows

An Adventuring Trio  
 

Based in the U.K., Cloak and Dagger Games is an indie studio that consists of three adventurers: Shaun Aitcheson, John Inch, and Laurie MH. Previous games include The Terrible Old Man, A Date in the Park, and Mudlarks which are all available as freeware. They released Legend of Hand in September of 2017 as their first retail “for pay” title.

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What's in a Name?  
 

When starting Legend of Hand, your first task is to name your hero. I went with “Hiro” because having a male martial arts guy named Cindy did not feel right. Armed with my new moniker, my “Hiro” was off running (and jumping and kicking and punching!). The game opens with Grand Master Xiao Long educating Hiro on the “Legend of Hand.”  Hand is a martial arts master who once ruled a kingdom of four islands and kept a balance of harmony and peace. He has gone missing and the islands are now controlled by different warring factions. Hiro’s mission is to visit each island, meet with the ruling Grand Master, and discover the whereabouts of Hand. His ultimate objective is to bring Hand home with the hope of restoring peace to the kingdom.

Hiro sets out with his boatman, Joachin, and visits the islands (Green, Blue, Yellow, and Red). Hiro soon discovers that his only path to learning about Hand’s fate is to defeat the Grand Master of each island in a martial arts battle. As with most adventures, there is never a straight line to the main objective and each island presents a set of puzzles and challenges for Hiro to overcome and gain access to the local Grand Master. Each meeting results in a turn-based martial arts confrontation. At first, I cringed. What??? Combat in an adventure???

Have I Got Moves!   
 

Combat is executed by choosing a martial arts style (hands, feet, etc.) and then using Standard and Advanced Moves in a turn-based encounter with your opponent. Each move has points assigned as the amount of damage it may do to your opponent and the amount of damage it may do to you. Special abilities are added during gameplay as you engage in training or other activities. Finally, you have HP (health points) to manage. When your HP = 0, you are out cold and will need to recover and come back to fight again.

It turns out there is fair amount of strategy involved. Each opponent has weaknesses which can be exploited by choosing the correct fighting style. Understanding the cost/benefit points assigned to specific moves is also a key to your success. Healing moves are available and, over time, your starting HP level increases.

I struggled a bit with this in the beginning but was soon kicking ass and taking names. I did figure out that it was quicker to save my game before the fight and then restore (at full HP) for my next try. Otherwise, I had to wait for my HP to return to normal. While there are certain fruits on the islands that restore HP, I failed more times than I can count and there was not enough fruit to make a difference.

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It's All About Story  
 

Legend of Hand is a delightful adventure with a heroic quest.  John Inch’s artwork is wonderfully crafted in a comic book style. Characters are bizarre and the dialog and story will hold your interest. At times, I found myself laughing out loud (when I wasn’t crying about my combat deficiencies). The soundtrack consists of ambient noise as well as music by Finbar Watson.

Except for the martial arts combat, the game is classic point-and-click with animated characters moving across 2D backgrounds to converse, explore, and gather inventory. Hot spots are marked with text and there are no voice-overs. The game uses only right and left mouse clicks, with inventory and the menu (including an explicit save and load) accessible by moving your mouse to the top of the screen.

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There is a “Hero” icon that shows your character’s statistics and abilities and a “Journal” icon that lists your current objectives. Each time you complete a task, you are notified and the journal is updated. There is also a map provided but, since no backtracking is ever required, this is simply an item of interest and not used for navigation.

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The puzzles are reasonable and the only time I went running for help was when I had overlooked a window hotspot that was in the upper portion of a scene. On several occasions, I was severely “stuck.” Finding the next right action required creative thinking and a search for missed hotspots. There are optional mini-games (fishing, gambling, etc.), a tricky exercise in trout-tickling, an underwater segment, and opportunities to hone your skills through practice/training. If you get bored, there is usually a character hanging about that is willing to fight you for fun.

As Hiro proceeds through the string of islands, he encounters Grand Masters of increasing strength. He also gains a thimble from each which is important to the end game. Although Hiro is ultimately successful in his quest, the final scenes of Legend of Hand caught me by surprise.  Enough on that topic!

The Bottom Line  
 

I thoroughly enjoyed playing Legend of Hand. It took me about 10 hours to complete and I assume that a player with better martial arts skills would finish in less time. Although the combat caught me by surprise, I soon settled into the challenge and did not mind being flattened on a regular basis.  

I would highly recommend Legend of Hand to adventurers who enjoy easy game mechanics (point-and-click), a likeable hero, witty dialog, and a well-written story. Do not be put off by the combat requirement. If I can get through it with minimum frustration, then so can you! I also loved the artwork and soundtrack.

More information about Cloak and Dagger Games and their future projects can be found on their website.

 
A heroic quest with a likeable protagonist
+ Detailed and colorful graphics with a host of interesting characters
+ Quality soundtrack completes the game experience
 
Martial Arts combat may scare some adventure purists away
 
 Logo
 
 
Trailer:
 

 

System Requirements

MINIMUM Windows:
OS: Windows 7
Processor: Intel or AMD CPU

Graphics: DirectX-compatible card
DirectX: Version 9.0
Storage: 900 MB available space
Sound Card: DirectX-compatible sound card
Specials from Digital Download
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