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A Knight’s Quest – Review
Everyone likes the charismatic loser. The idea of someone who, against the odds, can still pull a funny dance or a sick joke. Sometimes, he also has to save the world. That’s pretty much the premise for A Knight’s Quest, where you play as Rusty, the loser-y son of the mayor who accidentally causes the end of the world and now has to go on an adventure to stop it.
It’s a cute little game definitely inspired by many titles like the 3D Zelda games, with a nice little mix of combat and platforming, with puzzles and exploration thrown in too. As for how it does for this, you’d have to read on and find out.
A Knight’s Quest has a charming look to it. The bright colors and wonky proportions give it that charming vibe of an early 2000s game, and the clear silhouette of the main characters is also helps sell that Rated E for Everyone vibe.
However, it seems like the game had some disconnect between artistic vision and actual capital with the game. Many of the game’s sound effects sound repetitive and unpolished, and the game’s constant use of early 2000s bro-speak can feel out of the left-field since when it’s not currently happening, the overall look of the game lacks any kind of indication that it’s there.
To put it another way, many of the game’s attempts at “attitude” often feel like an afterthought, rather than an actual part of the game. While I have no real attraction to the game’s characters, it does get tiring when the game itself can’t decide how it wants the fans to see it.
A Knights Quest wears its Zelda influences on its sleeve. And while many Zelda-like tropes are present in the game, it sometimes feels more like A Knights Quest is aping the series, rather than emulating what’s fun about them.
An example of this would be the platforming. I won’t mince my words- it’s pretty bad. Rusty jumps with all the precision of a rotting whale yet a lot of the game’s traversal will involve things like narrow platforms and precise shooting. In the desert city level, I’ve had Rusty fail what should be absolute givens, like dropping down to a lower platform and pulling himself up a narrow beam. There was no complex mechanics to this- and that’s what makes it so frustrating.
The combat in the game is also pretty dull. Enemies don’t really react to your attacks, instead of feeling like beat sponges. The game also has a mercurial parry mechanic, but the animation for it is so unclear it’s hard to get any kind of feedback.
The boss fights in the game are very simple, largely due to the game’s simple combat mechanics. While this might be better for new players I can’t help but wish the game would have some sort of reward for playing a little smarter.
One thing the game should be praised for is the lack of overly cheap mechanics. While it’s easy to gripe about the poor platforming, I guess it’s not so bad considering nothing’s blindsided Rusty off a cliff yet. In a sense, the game’s combat simplicity could also be a great accessibility feature, as the bosses are pretty much just a quiz of “should you trade with the big skeleton” (the answer, surprisingly, is no).
As expected of a Zelda-like, exploration’s the name of the game. There’s plenty of chests, shortcuts and collectibles hanging around.
In terms of sheer things to do, this game’s not bad for its scale. You never seem to go too far without some kind of interactive object, even if it’s as simple as a traversal mechanic.
There’s also the game’s collectible slimes, which are possibly the most charming thing about this game. The slimes sing as you get closer to them, as well as an icon that becomes more opaque. They can be traded in for more bag space, which is a weird thing to limit for this type of game.
If there’s one complaint I’d have about the game is that the side quests aren’t all that interesting. Many of them just seem pointlessly busy, which is a shame because if this game wants personality, it should be showing it off with some charming side quests.
My feelings for this game are that it very clearly wants to be a game I’d like, but that it may not have gotten there yet.
It feels like it tries to cover so many of what it thinks a game of its genre should have that it doesn’t really excel at any one thing. The truth is, any of the game’s weaknesses would be forgivable if another part of it was just that much better. Improve the combat and I’d gripe less about the platforming, and vice-versa.
My other complaint lies in Rusty himself as a character, because I feel like them getting him right would have fixed my issues with the game’s tone a lot more. I get it- he’s the lovable goofball type. But he actually interacts so little with the world in a way that shows off his personality, that the game’s attempts to project it on things like the item messages just feel stilted.
A Knight’s Quest isn’t a bad game. If you’ve got that Zelda-like itch, you’ll probably find it good for a quick scratch.
Despite criticisms, its quirky attitude is quite a boon for the game. I can only dread to imagine if a more serious game had this one’s shortcomings, since there’s nothing worse than a bad game demanding to be taken seriously.
It’s a charming Zelda-like on PS4, PC, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch, and serves as a good in for people who want to try the genre, but aren’t ready to financially commit to heavier titles like Zelda.
Played on the Nintendo Switch. Review code provided by the publisher