Recently I was granted access to an early version/demo of The Legend of Tianding, a 2D Beat ‘Em Up game about the legendary Taiwanese folk hero Liao Tianding. Explore the dazzling streets of Colonial Japanese Taiwan in the early 20th century as you rob the rich, feed the poor, and expose the darkness lurking in the heart of Taipei.
Developer: CGCG Publisher: Neon Doctrine Genre: 2D, Platformer, Beat 'Em Up, Action, Indie Release Date: TBA Key was provided by the publisher.
The game itself utilizes a somewhat simple but really satisfying combat system where you can chain up special techniques and normal attacks to overpower the many foes that stand in your way. You can disarm enemies using your waist sash, taking their weapon and beating your enemies with poles, guns, swords, axes, and other weapons. As you move on, you’ll unlock techniques that will help you, both in combat and in traversing the areas. The Legend of Tianding allows you to perform a kick in the air for instance giving you more vertical movement while you can perform a rising kick to gain extra height and reach new areas. I found the movement and the combos to be quite dynamic and satisfying personally and even though I’m not that good at platformers, it didn’t seem too hard for me to solve some of the jumping puzzles!
Enemies vary from corrupt police officers to goons hired by evil officials and other people. Relatively early on, you’ll see how the antagonists are unscrupulous as one of the early antagonists, for instance, robs even beggars. Either way, you’re not just any other guy but actually, a folk hero that fights for justice and comes to people’s aid. Lia Tianding aka Liāu Thiam-Ting is a vigilante that is wanted by the Colonial Japanese authorities.
The art style is very comic-like or more accurately inspired by Chinese Manga and provides stunning visuals. The game’s cutscenes are presented as comic panels that make the story relatively easy to follow, even though I would have liked it if the subtitles and page flips would have stayed longer on screen. This in particular is important to me since the plot is very interesting. It’s based on real events, real people and real situations and what’s more intriguing to me is that this time and place is rarely presented in games and gets overlooked in media in general.
On top of that, you can also customize your character using a bunch of talismans found through exploration. These magical equipables grant you bonuses that essentially make it possible for you to even the battlefield and try out different playstyles. Take less damage, restore more health, deal more damage with certain weapons, and other talismans let you cover your weaknesses and make the game more enjoyable, overall.
And apparently, you can also take on side quests by other people to help them out while helping out beggars with the money you acquire… and you can play a traditional Taiwanese board game that looks interesting on the store page.
I’m honestly quite happy to see this era get covered in games and I’m looking forward to seeing the finished product by CGCG. You can wishlist The Legend of Tianding on Steam! The Release is yet to be announced.