The game industry is a rather difficult industry to start in. It takes a fair amount of capital to start, considerable talent to get going and so many other things to be successful. This is why it can be difficult to give games that that were held back by a lack of experience or funds rather difficult, as the point of reviews isn’t to cast judgement as much as relate experiences. So, when Sky9 Games revealed they were working on a console title, it was rather mixed. As great as it is to see developers grow, their experience thus far was with mobile and web games, making a title like A Knight’s Quest quite ambitious. With them starting as a Kickstarter and actually getting publisher support, is it good enough to prove naysayers wrong or does it fall short of being something great? Here’s our ‘A Knight’s Quest’ review.
A Knight’s Quest starts with Rusty accidentally unleashes a sealed evil that wishes to end the world. To accomplish his quest, he is given a sword, shield and was chosen as someone who can utilize spirit powers. With these newfound powers, a desire to correct his mistake and some great friends, he has all the tools needed to save the world from certain doom.
Where things start to fall apart is that everything, be it story or gameplay, feels so lifeless and uninspired. Character interactions, story segments and really Rusty himself are hollow characters that don’t feel like the writer has a story to tell. Be it random jokes or the overall tone, things just shift so mechanically that it doesn’t cause players to be absorbed in the world. Without that hook or draw you’re just waiting for the next prompt to go to another location, making the other shortcomings so much more painful.
Going into A Knight’s Quest the parallels between this and Zelda are obvious and honestly unfair. It sets the series up to a point where it can’t possibly hit and feels like it comes so much shorter as a result. Take combat. The fundamentals are certainly there. Rusty can dodge, block, swing, jump, use magic and more, yet it feels so lifeless. Even with his real sword and weak enemies it takes about seven hits to defeat a foe and they lifelessly watch you slowly kill them before either reacting or dying. Magic is just some weird add on that should make or break some situations but instead feels like it’s there and causes enemies to do a weird jump and take minor damage.
Problems span far beyond simply being weak, there isn’t a satisfying feel to anything. Oddly enough, I am not quite sure what the issue is, might be the fact enemies just juggernaut everything or the lack of value cues besides flashing, it just doesn’t click. Maybe if you had more power or the moves had more impact it would feel satisfying but it makes it hard to find any redeeming attributes.
Even platforming, a tried and true element of many games, feels oddly mechanical. When you unleash the evil and rush to the exit my first thought was not of how exciting or terrifying that was but rather, disbelief at how bland and scripted it seemed. It also seemed like some sound effects were missing, making it awkward and weird. Like you were doing something but the full experience was not there and that missing element takes you out of the experience.
Beyond all the negative story and gameplay elements, there is a certain lack of polish to the graphics. While I won’t begin to claim I am a good artist, characters lack subtilty and nuanced reactions. I mean, someone is shocked or excited and their mouth and eyes are open to the point where it takes up their whole face. Background characters have weird models and even the notable characters stand out for all the wrong reasons. Not to mention, some sections on the switch version, which this review is based on, look really underwhelming.
A Knight’s Quest Review – Verdict
I don’t want to say A Knight’s Quest is a bad game, it just isn’t a good or even okay one. The best way to describe it is, think of the average person trying to draw something amazing. Even if I can visualize this amazing piece of art, what I end up with is a pale imitation. Without any hook, fairly ugly characters and pretty much a lackluster experience across the board, it’s hard to see a reason to recommend A Knight’s Quest, even if the biggest sin is really failing to stand out in any way besides unappealing visuals.
[Editor’s Note: A Knight’s Quest was reviewed on Switch platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]