Puzzle platformers are nothing new, yet when they're done well they can be quite a fun way to spend your gaming time. Thankfully, Leo delivers awesome production value, tight gameplay, and interesting puzzles in his adventure to recover his long-lost fortune.
Leo's Fortune's most unexpectedly impressive aspect is its beautifully detailed presentation. Environments are rendered with nothing but carefully crafted artistic flair seeing as each one distinguishes itself with memorable backgrounds, cohesive themes, and design elements that always complement the gameplay. Leo's animations are also admirable considering he's just a small green mustachioed ball. As he moves, puffs up, and interacts with objects, you can tell how much effort he's exerting as his eyes bug out and shift from side to side. He also has a gruff Eastern European accent which for some reason ends up making him even more endearing. As you work your way through the levels, he'll say insightful lines that reflect exactly what you're thinking in that moment which adds a great deal of levity to the gameplay. The included music is playful and orchestral which perfectly suits the whimsical nature of the game while sound effects are both subtle and gratifying. Overall, you may not envision such an odd game boasting this level of quality, but that makes it all the more spectacular to play.
You control Leo by moving him left and right, puffing him up (which allows him to jump), and lowering his centre of gravity. It's easy to imagine how these controls factor in to the platforming which makes gameplay effortless and intuitive. Flying off a ramp then floating over a suspended plank only to crash into it and use it as a springboard is a ton of fun. The puzzles range from simplistic to lengthy Rube Goldberg-esque segments. Figuring them out is never impossible as long as you put some mental effort in which results in each one being a satisfying undertaking. Many levels incorporate different physics-based mechanics such as dealing with heavy winds, swimming underwater, and riding various vehicles. In the end, it's fantastic how Leo's Fortune balances puzzles and platforming through a variety of situations while remaining nothing short of fun from start to finish.
Another aspect where Leo's Fortune excels is its additional content. A lot of games nowadays forgo features such as leaderboards and bonus rounds, but luckily you'll find both here. Each of the 20 levels contains three earnable stars that correspond to collecting all of that level's coins, not losing a life, and beating it in under a par time. Once you gain enough, you unlock the bonus round for the corresponding act. These can range from seeing how many laps you can do around a course within a time limit to beating an extra level with as much time left on the clock as possible. Climbing the leaderboards for these bonus rounds manages to be even more enjoyable than the main levels. Speaking of which, you can also find hidden golden cogs in the levels if you're clever enough.
Although there are some undeniably substantial extra features, the main campaign is over much too soon. Each level can take anywhere from two to five minutes, so it all adds up to a little over an hour if all you want to do is experience the core game. Of course, you could climb leaderboards and try for all three stars, but not everyone will be compelled to do so. Another issue is that there are multiple sections within each level that simply repeat themselves. In other words, you regularly have to overcome the same obstacle up to five times in a row in order to proceed. This comes across as lazy and can occasionally become annoying. Finally, if there were some modes such as a split-screen multiplayer race or some mini-games that took advantage of the established gameplay mechanics then a significant amount of replay value would have been added. Instead, there really isn't much to do besides mastering the provided levels.
Leo's Fortune goes above and beyond what you'd expect from a 2D platform puzzler. It might be brief and lack replay value, but the adventure that you'll go on with Leo at your side is unforgettably fun and well worth your time.
- + Fantastic visuals, animation, and audio
- + Satisfying puzzle platforming gameplay
- + Enjoyable additions such as bonus rounds, leaderboards, and collectables
- - Campaign is on the short side
- - A lot of segments repeat themselves
- - Could benefit from supplementary modes to make up for lack of replay value