If, like me, you have been a youngster increasing up in the early 2000s, 3D action-adventures have been essentially all you had.
For superior or worse, the late 90s tossed 2D graphics in the bin and replaced them with low-poly 3D monstrosities. Definitely it is a excellent factor that video games pushed forward into the third dimension, but these have been some challenging early years weren’t they? With Goldeneye’s grotesque papier-mâché models gracing our screens in the identical year as fashionable 2D masterpiece Castlevania: Symphony of the Evening, it is a wonder they didn’t just pack it all in and agree that staying on a single plane was a superior concept for everybody.
A Knight’s Quest is a retro 3D action-adventure game created by Sky9 Games and published by Curve Digital. In the tradition of classic action-adventures, the gameplay comprises a mix of platforming, combat, puzzles, exploration, RPG components and something else they believe they can get away with jamming in to make it sound extra impressive. You play as Rusty, a clumsy adventurer with a metal arm and the precise identical hairstyle as Philip J. Fry, who unwittingly unleashes a destructive magical force upon the planet even though hunting for treasure. In order to repair his error, Rusty have to travel across the kingdom of Regalia, collecting elemental weapons and magic powers from the 3 Spirit Knights who as soon as defended the land.
Every person appears to be jumping straight to the Zelda comparison with this 1, mainly because the influence is apparent even to an individual like me who didn’t develop up in a Nintendo household. The vaguely fantasy-style setting, the young hero looking for magical artifacts, the action-adventure gameplay, even the “z-targeting” fighting style (or as I like to contact it: “Baby’s 1st soulsborne combat”). It also goes for a cartoony art style somewhat reminiscent of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, which is a bold move mainly because the art path of that game was famously divisive. Or rather, it would have been a bold move had the argument not been settled by the reality that Wind Waker nonetheless appears fairly excellent to this day, even though just about every game that did “realistic” graphics from that era has characters that appear like half-chewed action figures.
Reflective of the cartoony art style, the writing is all really light and comedic, in a way that only sometimes bordered on annoying. Whilst most games attempting comedy make me want to cringe so really hard that all the fluid escapes my physique like a squeezed lemon, A Knight’s Quest essentially remained rather charming and funny all through. Every single background character has a distinct character and their personal exclusive quirks like the Mayor who requires the 1st probable chance to develop a giant laser cannon, or the artist who insists he gets you in the best light for his painting ahead of handing you a crude childish drawing. In reality, thinking about the game’s challenges, the charm of the writing may possibly have been the principal factor that created me want to preserve playing.
When A Knight’s Quest was 1st announced it was boasting more than 30 hours of play time, which I do not doubt for a second mainly because I’ve place in about 15 hours myself and there’s nonetheless no finish in sight. You most likely believe this sounds like a optimistic factor, like Sky9 has delivered a actually epic quest to embark upon. Nonetheless, the truth of the matter is they’ve just padded the game out with extra padding than Paddy Paddington consuming Pad Thai on a lily pad.
It feels like just about every single element in A Knights Quest was especially developed to waste my time. Environments are comprised of large stretches of empty space, which the game tends to make you run back and forth by way of numerous instances, even though teasing you with “warp crystals” that you are apparently not permitted to use till you have verified your time is worth the developer’s respect. From the really starting, common enemies can take up to twenty hits ahead of they have the excellent grace to die which does not make it specifically difficult, just time-consuming and boring as hell. Spamming the dodge button is also slightly more rapidly than operating, so a lot of my playtime was spent rolling across the landscape, ignoring just about every enemy and hearing the identical 3 exertion noises more than and more than once again, creating it sound like Rusty was retching from dizziness.
1 specific sequence just about created me quit and give up on the game for excellent. Some enemies have magic barriers, which shield them from any harm till you hit them with an elemental attack that corresponds to its colour. 1 arena forced me to face 3 of these enemies, who would normally cluster collectively and consistently spam the bullshit spin attack that restores their shield, so anytime I hit them with a fireball they immediately got it back. Even if I did make 1 of them vulnerable for a couple of moments, the 3 enemies have been clustered so tightly that there was normally at least 1 spinning indestructible skeleton stopping me from taking a swing.
It was only by way of the energy of correct saintlike patience that I was capable to get previous this sequence, but my attitude towards the game had been permanently soured. I utilised to believe that the easy jumpy-hitty combat of action-adventure games was their weakest aspect, but just after playing with this extra complicated method I’m questioning if the dumbed-down button mashing is essentially a superior match for the genre. I do not require this type of fighting in an action-adventure game obtaining to be concerned about locking on, blocking, dodging, parrying, coloured shields, charged hits and magical spirit types tends to make the flavour of the combat also overpowering in the bubbling stew that is the genre. Just preserve it easy, give me a light attack and a heavy attack and the entire factor feels extra balanced.
Once again, it is extra or significantly less the really definition of “action-adventure” for the gameplay to be broad and unfocused, but that does not have to be a large drawback mainly because this tends to make it a excellent framework for imaginative plot and planet constructing. Accurate, titles like Ocarina of Time have been the trailblazers, but the games that definitely stand out in my childhood memories are the ones that utilised inventive storytelling to elevate the genre beyond its roots.
Psychonauts had you discover levels constructed from the subconscious minds of asylum inmates, in order to quit a maniacal dentist from stealing the brains of all the kids at a psychic summer time camp. Oddworld: Stranger’s Wrath place you in the part of a poncho-wearing bounty hunter who captures outlaws by shooting reside spiders at them, so he can save up for an operation to eliminate his personal legs. Returning to the generic fantasy setting with the common hero’s quest plot just feels so uninspired by comparison. Getting nostalgic for a specific era of games is all nicely and excellent, but at least attempt to develop upon and elevate the style, or we could as nicely have created no progress at all in the final two decades.
If I had to recommend just a couple of points to increase this game, they would be to shrink every thing down so the entertaining bits are packed collectively extra tightly, let us use the warp crystals from the start out and make common enemies die in 3 hits. There’s a excellent game hidden someplace right here, but it is stretched so thin I have to squint really hard to see it. A Knight’s Quest is the video game equivalent of diluting the final dregs of ketchup so it lasts longer. Possibly it is just me, but I’d rather have a compact quantity of tasty sauce than drench my complete plate in red water.
A Knight’s Quest is accessible on PS4, Xbox 1, Switch and Computer. We reviewed the Xbox 1 version.