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Legendary Gary is an RPG about a fella's boring life and the fantasy RPG he plays

Today I’ve followed in the footsteps of Legendary Gary‘s star by shirking the real world to play video games. Legendary Gary is an RPG about Gary’s humdrum life, parts of which are eerily mirrored by the in-game tactical combat RPG he has just started playing (and we play too), and it seems a good’un. It launched this morning and I’ve played the first hour or so and yep, it’s too bad I have to write this lousy post for our lousy cherished readers because I would like to keep playing. I feel you, Gary.

Gary’s a twenty-something living in his mum’s basement, recently fired from his job at a supermarket, still having a laugh but drifting through life and struggling with motivation. In the evenings, he’s playing a new RPG, Legend Of The Spear. We click through Gary’s days as a light sort of daily life RPG, building and losing motivation facing the struggles of the day, then by night we play Legend Of The Spear ourselves through Gary’s clicking finger.

Legend Of The Spear is a fantasy RPG starring a failed warrior trying to save his kingdom. As we adventure and explore, we get into tactical scraps with simultaneous turns – y’know, like Frozen Synapse or something. We see the moves enemies will make, letting us counter them, and it all becomes quite chin-scratchy puzzle-y as our party grows and our enemies become trickier. A neat touch is that at the end of every fight, the game plays it back without pauses, a brawling dance across the hexes.

Then Gary’s life and the game seem to blur together. Situations and difficulties are echoed between the two. His friends and family repeat lines spoken by Legend Of The Spear characters. Flowers received in-game are grown and watered in Gary’s mum’s garden, giving abilities back in the game.

My favourite touch of this goes beyond both game and metagame when Gary remembers how he got Legend Of The Spear and I, out of curiosity, plugged the download code shown into Steam. It was for a copy of Legendary Gary.

It’s a pretty one. I dig the hand-drawn art, the colours, the designs of characters and places both in Gary’s world and in the virtuagame. I wish more RPGs looked like Legend Of The Spear. Great music too. And I care about the story, I want to see where it goes. The game-in-a-game is a little fantasy waffle-y but often still fun and funny, and I want Gary to do well, to become better, and get through this terrible thing we call life.

Legendary Gary is out now on Steam for £11.39/€14.99/$14.99. It’s made by Evan Rogers, who previously worked as a programmer on What Remains Of Edith Finch and The Last Of Us, with music from xXsickXx. This isn’t a review or nothing, just some quick thoughts, and the thoughts are: I like it so far.

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Alice O'Connor

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When not writing news, Alice may be found in the sea.

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