- Developer: Sky 9 Games
- Publisher: Curve Digital
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch (reviewed), PC
- Release Date: October 10, 2019 (October 11, 2019 for Xbox One)
- Price: $24.99
- Review Code Provided: Yes
I was initially excited when I had the opportunity to review this game. Curve Digital published one of my favourite, albeit short, experiences on the PlayStation Vita, Thomas Was Alone. I wanted to see what one of their developers could do in an action game, so I signed up for this quirky adventure. A Knight’s Quest is an action adventure game in the vein of Darksiders and the Legend of Zelda series. There are puzzles to solve, bosses to best, equipment and skills to find, all in an open world, with some light platforming added to the mix. You play as Rusty, an adventurer with a metal arm, a flippant attitude and a penchant for accidentally getting himself and others into trouble.
That’s actually how the game starts out, and it was a strong opening sequence. Rusty bumbles through his exploration of a cave and accidentally kick starts the end of the world, like you do. I enjoyed the platforming in this area though it was somewhat floaty at times. Wall running makes an appearance and was a pleasant surprise as well, though how Rusty accomplishes this is never made that clear. All in all the opening was quite strong, with a great segue into the title card and the beginning of the game. It’s from this point onwards that things started to fall apart for me slightly.
A Knight’s Quest is a fun little game, let me start off with that. The price point reflects what you should expect with it as well. It’s a little game with lofty expectations that manages to meet most of them. The platforming is fun and actually pretty good! Once you acclimate to how ridiculously far Rusty can jump, the mid-air control is pretty tight. He also can clamber up the side of ledges if they are just out of reach, wall run, and later on he can grind rails as well. The exploration is a joy when it is clear where you need to go. Which brings up my first issue.
I’m a bit of a broken record with this and games it seems, but the map is not helpful. There is a yellow marker and compass at the top of the screen to show the general direction you need to travel. The emphasis here is on general. In any other adventure game, that would be ok, as it would be very clear where you need to go and more difficult areas are clear to the player or blocked off. After the first quest, the marker was more of a challenge or hindrance than a useful tool. There is a map you can pull up, but it is relegated to the world map only, so not really helpful to find quest markers. The map itself looks quite pretty and suits the aesthetic of the game, but there are no paths or roads. Markers exist on the map and general landmarks, but they represent areas of the map, and not points along the way. It’s nice to have a large map with other paths and areas to explore, but some guidance would have been nice. There are areas in the starting hub that are cordoned off using yellow caution fencing and “no entry” signs, which I found clever, but once you branch out there can be quite a bit of backtracking just to find where you went wrong along the path.
This would be ok in this type of game if the journey felt more rewarding. Fighting enemies along the way should feel good, and reap rewards for the player. I just wanted to bypass all combat all together to get to the next marker. The basics are there, you have a sword, a shield that can deflect projectiles back at enemies, various equipment and skills to help you with enemies and puzzles, everything feels like it should line up and be fun. It is really a shame that combat feels so hollow and non-impactful. There’s no weight to the blows you strike, and many battles are a simple 4 step combo. I don’t mind this usually, but the same strike sequence with no real weight behind each blow, repeated 4 times per enemy gets a little tiresome. Want to dodge out of the way of a blow? Nope, the dodge is too slow and does squat really. Does that matter? Not in the slightest. Unless you are surrounded by enemies, a blow here and there only takes a sliver of damage, barely even noticeable in the health bar. There are enemies that do a little more, but the vast majority along paths don’t amount to much.
The game’s saving grace is its charm. The character designs are not all that great, but the humor throughout will make you chuckle. Some jokes fall flat, but overall the game is light hearted and does not take itself seriously in the least. I’m very much on board with that aspect. There are some silly fart and poop jokes throughout, but that is expected with a teen rated game. Though the character models can be downright ugly at times, there are some real charmers, like the blacksmith, some of the boss enemies, and Rusty himself. There are some funny side quests along the way as well, which provide some funny character quips and actions, and in that way are rewarding.
Overall, the story is fun, and there are some nice gimmicks, and mild puzzling to be found. The areas are fun to traverse, and it is a game you can casually play without too much effort as fun little adventure experience. I mean, the game is not that bad really. It just is not as good as I want it to be. There’s potential there, and could be a fun weekend game for some, but it’s just not for me.