Leveling up is the core of the action RPG LvLn. Leveling up may seem like a standard trope in many games but LvLn brings more understanding of its importance. It's similar to Slayin, which we reviewed here, as it is a hack-and-slash retro game with simple controls and a focus on leveling up.
The game starts off in quest mode, one of three modes in the game, and the goal is to get through each stage while also leveling up your character. You start playing as the hero, a knight. However, as you level up your character and gain fortune, you can unlock three other characters, each having their own strengths and weaknesses.
There are eight stages to beat in quest mode and they are filled with themed sixteen-bit retro style. In the traditional style of RPGs, each stage ends in a boss battle. I found these battles to be highly enjoyable and I looked forward to getting through every stage to see what the boss would be. The bosses are a different take on the normal enemies and at times they would utilize normal enemies to their advantage. Each level's boss is designed well to complement the theme of the level and creates a cohesive experience. The enemies become increasingly more difficult in later stages, which made leveling up even more important.
If you die during a stage there is an option to be revived at the cost of some gold or keys. During later stages I found revival useful, but it also put leveling into perspective. I had to make tough choices when I was having difficulty completing a stage. I had to decide if it was worth it to save gold to upgrade my sword or buy a potion so I wouldn't die.
The controls for the game were easy to understand as they are just three buttons: left, right, and an action button, this helps new players get into the game and it also helps keep up the retro aesthetic.
LvLn features three modes, giving players more replay value. The first is quest mode in which the character fights waves of enemies before a boss. Slayer mode is the next mode to be unlocked which is a continuous boss fight. Finally, rampage mode can be unlocked after defeating the dragon boss. It is an interesting twist on the main game because you get to fight as one of the earlier bosses, a dragon, which lets you breath fire on lowly enemies. It's quite fun.
LvLn also features visual themes you can purchase with keys. I found this to be a nice addition especially for someone who plays the game for longer periods of time as it makes the game feel more customizable. Another nice touch is that the game features music and sound effects reminiscent of older gamers.
With three different modes, four different characters, and six themes, LvLn is a great game to pick up and play anytime. LvLn is free for a limited time. When that deal expires, it is definitely worth the US$0.99.