sun 19/11/2017

The Quest Keeper | reviews, news & interviews

The Quest Keeper

The Quest Keeper

Keep on movin' in this endless runner, roguelike and more mash-up

'The Quest Keeper': watch out for spiders

Normally if you throw together three genres of videogame, the result is a mess. The Quest Keeper however, is a curious mashup of endless runner (think Temple Run), roguelike dungeon crawl and - of all things - free to play, time-eating Frogger clone, Crossy Road that works.

You play an intrepid adventurer who must navigate a series of dungeons to retrieve magical artifacts, dodging traps and walking across perilous pathways over stygian depths. A standard adventure, then. The catch is that once you start walking, you can't stop unless you hit an obstacle.

You can swipe the screen to change direction but you need to be quick to dodge spiked floors, lava, swinging blades and just falling off the edge of the world.

Completing a dungeon will give you an extra half a heart of health (you start off with just one) that makes progress a little easier and things get tough enough in the later dungeons that you will want to collect all the hearts you can.

The Quest Keeper - Crossy Road meets endless runner meets roguelike dungeon bashThe Quest Keeper himself is a wizardly sort of fellow who sits in the entrance chamber to the dungeons and occasionally dispenses nuggets of wisdom and gameplay tips. Through his ledger of quests you can unlock dungeons to try and beat as well as special equipment like magic boots or protective clothing.

The gold required to unlock quests or other goodies can be found in chests scattered around the first  - and endless - dungeon. You can earn gold for travelling long enough through the dungeons but only the starter dungeon has chests, so the chances are you will spend a lot of time there grinding away to earn enough gold to progress.

Gold can also be used to revive you if you die, reincarnating your moustachioed hero at one of several respawn points you must march over to activate. As each dungeon bar the first is finite in length, these become vital if you want to stand a chance of retrieving any artifacts.

Luckily, we live in a capitalist society and you can buy gold coins using real coins or earn in-game moolah by watching ads, most of which seem to be for games which are less fun than the one you are playing. This is in no way a pay-to-win game however. You can get all the gold you need by grinding through the endless dungeon and the randomised levels keep doing so fairly fresh.

The Quest KeeperAs a result, the game never seems like a weak excuse to fleece the player (unlike some free to play efforts) and while I was never tempted to buy one of the (fairly reasonable) in-app purchase bundles of gold, watching a brief ad or two never seemed that much of a chore and was anyway only something I wanted to do occasionally when progress was just within my grasp and I wanted to give things a little nudge. By finding this delicate balance between frustration and fun, developer Tyson Ibele has found a way to do free-to-play right.

This can be a tough game to get the hang of until you spot the little perspective shifting icon underneath the pause button in the corner of the screen. Tapping this will switch between an isometric 3D projection to a more oblique, top-down but still 3D-ish view. The former looks better, but the latter makes it easier to see certain obstacles that can be hidden behind taller objects.

In either view, the game features dynamic lighting and modern-retro graphics that can be downgraded in quality if you are running on an older phone. The minimal controls are also tweakable and the game goes out of its way to make its simple but tough, reaction-based gameplay as accessible as possible.

The Quest Keeper is not going to keep you up at night with its complex storyline but as a game for quick bursts of addictive swiping it works brilliantly. If you enjoyed the likes of Crossy Road but wanted something with a bit more depth with which to while away your commute, this is it.

Once you start walking, you can't stop unless you hit an obstacle...

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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