Most games nowadays try to take on a sleek and modern look, but there’s nothing wrong with taking the classic approach. There’s a level of nostalgia to be had with the classic, Super Nintendo style, but when such is the case, the game play must work significantly harder to make up for it. Well, a small London-based outfit by the name of Utinni is attempting to do so with a new title by the name of Knight’s Quest.
An isometric, role-playing-hack-and-slash game players travel about a town granted to them in search of quests. Comprised of basic “fetch quests” the game leaves the user disappointed with the level of repetitiveness and the sheer lack of reason behind doing them. With quests dull in their own right, the key issue is the tremendous amount of untapped potential in the sense that players own an entire town yet do nothing with it.
Players take the role of an unnamed knight that has returned to their home and taken the leadership role no one has wanted since the death of the previous town leader. From here, players move about a grid-based world, speaking with non-player characters to accept, what appears to be, randomly generated quests that take them down to the caves below.
It’s actually one of the highlights to Knight’s Quest, in that each time the user accepts a new quest (and only one can be done at a time), the dialogue and the cave is all procedurally generated, meaning that it is technically different. Well, different in terms of layout. For the most part, the look is still identical and the objectives consist of mundane tasks such as “kill this” or “find that.” Even the threats within the caves don’t feel all that threatening.
Thus far, we’ve encountered nothing but spiders, and as enemies attack, combat consists of clicking on them. Furthermore, of the three character classes to pick from (warrior, wizard, or thief), none feel distinctly different. Then again, the experience grew tiresome after a short while, and that may change at higher levels. It is also worth noting that, yes, eventually players do visit new areas beyond caves, but by then, the redundancy has taken its full effect. That’s simply because there just isn’t anything to do in the quests that is all that much fun, and these obviously make up the core mechanic of the game.
This is actually where Knight’s Quest appears to miss its potential as a social game. Users own an entire town! Yes, virtual spaces are common, but they’re common because players enjoy being creative. Furthermore, if you’re worried about being cliché, then adapt the system to do things in new and more interesting ways. Players like creative tools, and repetitive action can be mitigated by those tools (simply look at the Minecraft phenomena). Such is not the case here, as even all the gold found doing quests does absolutely nothing for this wasted town space.
In fact, all the items that one can purchase in the game’s store consists of weapons, potions, and a single shield. This will likely change as one levels up enough, but currently, all items available are listed on a single page. There are no other categories. Essentially, this means that the whole purpose for doing these simple quests, is to buy slightly better equipment and make them even easier.
The only other significant element that could give users motivation is a basic leaderboard system in which players can try to make more gold than others or try to have a more successful village (there is also an achievement system).
This marks yet another untapped mechanic. Extra monetary revenue for the player comes from friends. Each village in the house can contain one friend (though, as a side-note, the prompt to invite never showed up for us). As they move into the village, 10% of everything they earn for their character goes to the user in the form of taxes. Of course, that is not actually taken from the taxed player. Still, with the only things to buy being weapons and potions, the point becomes rather moot.
In the end, Knight’s Quest has a lot of moments in which we can see potential for something very interesting, but falls significantly short of that hope. Centered around quests that are “technically” different, each one takes users to the same place, to engage in the same dull combat, to complete the same basic objectives. If quests are the core of the game, they need to be more fun, as does the combat system. That said, if there were more of a more collection element to them or a way to let players be creative with their town, then more users may be more forgiving with the redundancy.