It seems like every month there are thousands of new platformers released onto the market, and amid this crowd, it can be very hard for original titles to stand out and attract the attention of gamers. Leo's Fortune, developed by Swedish studio 1337 & Senri, aims to buck this trend. It packs plenty of reasons to convince you to play, including a heartfelt story, responsive controls, and gorgeous visuals.
Leo's Fortune puts you in control of Leo – a green ball of fur with a stylish moustache and a thick Eastern European accent – as he attempts to recover his stolen gold. In order to accomplish this, he must journey across five distinct landscapes collecting a trail of coins left behind by the thief, while avoiding the deadly obstacles that appear in his way. This premise may not seem like much, but it acts as a great vehicle for a charming moral tale about the pitfalls of avarice and sloth. Rolling steadily along, the story keeps you emotionally invested all the way up until its final moments and the confrontation with the thief.
Perhaps the most striking aspect of Leo's Fortune is its outstanding art direction. Each environment is brimming with detail; white petals fall elegantly in the forest, underground machines rattle and shake, and fires burn upon cavern walls. It's this amount of depth that makes the title so fascinating to watch. It's also responsible for the construction of a believable world for you to roam around.
Though it originally started its life on mobile devices, Leo's Fortune handles brilliantly without the use of a touch screen and stylus. Moving about feels just as natural as ever, which is fortunate given the precise timing that's sometimes required. By pushing Leo in your direction of choice he will build up speed, allowing him to ride loops and soar off ramps to bold new heights. He also has the ability to glide and to perform a ground pound on different objects and switches. This comes in handy when solving the diverse puzzles that are thrown your way.
These puzzles revolve around moving blocks, directing the flow of liquids, and timing jumps to evade spikes. They're all fairly straightforward, but provide a healthy dose of satisfaction when completed. If you consider yourself skilled enough, there's also an unlockable hardcore mode where you can test your prowess. This makes a neat companion to the standard difficulty.
Regardless of its polish, though, there are still some areas where the game could improve. This applies most notably to its length and level design. With only five worlds to complete, you'll be finished with the main scenario in no time, and this is especially disappointing considering how likeable everything is. A bit more variety would go a long way to improving this, either in regards to the number of stages or the types of obstacles that you have to overcome. There are far too many occasions where a level simply repeats the same challenge over and over again to extend its length, and these moments tend to be the least enjoyable segments to play through, as they make you feel like the developer has run out of original ideas to surprise you with.
If you can get past its sometimes underwhelming level design, Leo's Fortune has plenty in its favour. Its captivating storyline, beautiful art design, and satisfying controls will keep you glued to your screen – just don't expect to be there for long.