Afternoon Apps Inc. – ARia’s Legacy [Hivemind Review]

ARia’s Legacy is an augmented reality app game created by Afternoon Apps Inc.

A stone slap rendered in augmented reality. In real life, a very cute dog peers from beyond it.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Online native experience (can NOT be played IRL)
  • Play on demand
  • Augmented reality experience

Required Equipment: mobile device

Your preference for phone versus tablet probably depends on the size of your phone, and your tolerance for holding a tablet in the air.

Recommended Team Size: 1, or maybe 2

Play Time: 20 minutes

Price: free for the Prologue (3 episodes), $3.99 for Chapter 1 (also 3 episodes)

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

In this game you explore rooms in a mansion through the magic of augmented reality (AR). At the beginning of each room, or “episode,” you calibrate the game’s world within your own space by aligning a rough sketch of the room with what the tablet detects of your space from its camera. The game uses this information to display its objects and set pieces within your space. To have the images in the game rendered correctly, you need a flat open area that is well-lit.

You navigate this world by physically moving around your own room, pointing the tablet towards the parts you want to explore, and tapping on objects to interact with them. Gameplay involves searching, collecting objects, finding clues, and solving puzzles.

You play this on a single device, so the number of players is limited by how many people care to use the same device at one time. With a tablet, you might be able to play as a duo.

An assortment of digging tools rendered in augmented reality.

Cindi S’ Reaction

ARia’s Legacy is an augmented reality game that surrounds you with the sights and sounds of interesting settings and puzzling challenges in each episode. Light on story, the real draw to this game is the environments; they are so realistic that you can walk behind structures and peek in drawers as if they were actually in front of you – it really is amazing! Sound effects add to the immersion. There is a nice variety of puzzles, some more obtuse than others, which often reveal a key or mysterious object to add to your inventory for later use. If you need a hint, you can watch an ad or pay with a coin earned in the game. Speaking of ads, you are required to watch repetitive ads between every episode or when returning from the main menu, which became annoying. An ad-free option is available, but for an additional charge on top of the price of the game. All in all, I really enjoyed exploring the worlds of ARia’s Legacy and plan to play future chapters as they are released.

Cara Mandel’s Reaction

ARia’s Legacy provides an interesting argument for AR escape games. The game takes your existing space and overlays an augmented reality environment with clickable interactive elements. Gameplay is fairly linear by necessity and I did grow a bit tired of finding and using keys. There were, however, some interesting puzzle mechanics and observational cluing elements. I appreciated the narrative of the game and enjoyed the sound design and voiceover moments that occurred throughout. They felt like necessary enhancements to keep the game feeling engaging. The first few levels of the game are ostensibly a free demo with subsequent chapters requiring in-app purchases. It would have been $3.99 to unlock the next chapter had I decided to continue playing. The hint system was clear and helpful, albeit limited. You’re given the option to either spend a coin (of which you have three) or watch an advertisement to unlock a clue. And this free version certainly contained its fair share of advertisements, as it was. Not my favorite mobile escape game by a long shot, but I very much appreciated the clever use of AR interact-able objects and story and would love to see what the next evolution of this type of game looks like. This one is worth checking out for novelty alone and perhaps the chapters behind the pay wall increase in difficulty level.

Sarah Mendez’s Reaction

ARia’s Legacy is worth playing because its use of augmented reality is something different in the at-home escape room world, and the medium totally works. By overlaying 360 degree, interactive scenes atop your actual surroundings, the game requires you to move and explore. It had us circling virtual furniture, lying on the floor, and standing on tiptoe in our efforts to scout out objects and other clues. The juxtaposition of smashing virtual objects in front of the backdrop of your couch can’t help but be delightful, and I giggled every time I found myself physically reaching for something that existed only within my tablet. So, even though nothing about my living room matched the ambiance of this game, the physicality of moving to explore via the lens of my iPad convinced some part of me that I was there.

Now, within this environment, the rooms were fairly typical escape rooms, so the novelty was mostly in experiencing them in your own home rather than the room design itself. The most entertaining puzzles leveraged the medium by requiring you to move and explore to find information, so I wished there were more of those. I also enjoyed several novel interactions between inventory items and the setting that would be difficult or impossible in an IRL escape room. I was less enthralled with certain puzzle structures that became repetitious across the six “episodes” that we played. Also, some levels involved too much which-key-goes-where guesswork, though trying a key in many places was as simple as tapping around the world. In balance, I was motivated to work through the tedious and repetitious moments in pursuit of the more interesting interactions. Really, just the promise of more opportunities to literally move through additional virtual spaces was enough to maintain my interest for now. I’m eager to explore more chapters as they become available.

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