After some effective begging from Frank Hegevall (six years of age), our Swedish editor-in-chief folded and paid £49 for this year's worst game...
"Please, please, please Dad - Can we buy the Nerf game?"
When Frank Hegevall (6 years) kindly asks to play new games that he has seen advertised on YouTube, on his iPad, I always find it difficult to say no. I'm weak. I know. I understand how he feels, his curiosity and enthusiasm and that he loves to play video games warms my old man's heart. Because I remember so incredibly well how I felt when we could not afford a game console while every single friend got a NES or a Master System, and how much I longed for my own, and the jealousy that came with it. Frank's friendly appeal often becomes my Kryptonite, and all too often we buy games that we should have skipped. Including Nerf Legends.
In the Hegevall residence, we love Nerf. I do not think I am exaggerating when I say that there are 15 different Nerf guns of different sizes and models here at home, all including small pistols for the Zombie series grenade launchers, battery-powered big rifles, the Fortnite snipers and everything in between. Me, Vega (5) and Frank often play Nerf wars and I am relatively convinced that dad Hegevall has at least as much fun as his offspring have. That's why, of course, it did not feel the least bit unexpected that Hegevall Junior really caught the eye of Nerf Legends when the ad appeared on his iPad.
£49 later and an hour of downloading, this game had landed on our Switch and since then we have played through it, which I would have preferred to avoid. Because there is no doubt that this is one of the worst games of the year, all categories. The story, to begin with, is basically non-existent, just like the characters and the variation. In a colorful future, murderous toy robots have taken over and it is up to you and your toy gun to put everything right, again. Six levels soaked in robot enemies and meaningless puzzles await and it's about running, shooting and screaming in frustration, to reach the end (after about five hours).
The most important thing in an first-person shooter is of course the gunplay. In Nerf Legends, it's not only boring to squeeze the trigger, it's downright painful. There is no recoil in the weapons, as they fire foam rubber arrows. There are no actual gun sounds, as foam rubber arrows are fired. The magazines hold only five or six arrows, which means that you are forced to reload constantly, all the time, and the feeling when your shot hits the enemies is non-existent. Nothing happens, the enemies do not react, they never seem to be hit until they suddenly disappear.
The second most important thing in a game of this kind is challenging and clever enemies, which Nerf Legends absolutely does not contain. The enemies are brightly colored toy robots that roam around completely thoughtlessly on the stupidly designed levels like outright idiots until the moment when my foam rubber bullets make them suddenly disappear. As far as I know, there is no "artificial intelligence" here, instead enemies are more or less magnetic towards the player and as if drawn towards one, which creates a game tempo that is downright disgusting.
Nerf Legends is definitely not difficult, at all, it's a game for kids. But it is silly, sloppy, and boring in a way that very few of today's games are. The levels are useless. A very limited number of polygons house the game's idiotic enemies and even the "puzzles" in here are extremely frustrating. I'm relatively convinced that the developers only threw in the "puzzles" to extend the playing time because Nerf Legends would have been over in 40 minutes if it were not for all the times you have to stop and shoot five red buttons for a door should be opened and carry one on to the next useless enemy encounter. The music and graphics are also horrible as this is clearly uglier with clearly worse music than many, many free games for Android and iPhone. The music consists entirely of quirky midi-guitar solos that become so annoying after just over a minute. The two voice actors included here are horrid, as well, who with the help of this year's worst script, deliver the most embarrassing lines I've heard in a very long time.
Add to this that the multiplayer aspect in Nerf Legends does not work, at all. There should be open, available servers and the publishers Gamemill claim that there are people online who play their license title but I have not managed to play a single match, in a week. Usually, it is not possible to enter the menu where you look for available matches, even. If you succeed against all odds, there are still no players, which means that you can do nothing but laugh at this horrific misery. I probably did not think that there would be a game released in 2021 that would bore me in the same highly efficient way as Balan Wonderworld did, but Nerf Legends is clearly up there in the top of the crap-pile.