QuestLord in Review – Retro Done Right

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When I was in high school I spent a lot of time playing games like Bard’s Tale and Might & Magic (back when they were RPGs and not strategy games).  After spending some time with QuestLord I remembered why I used to like these games so much.  Sure 3D open ended worlds are nifty – I guess – and there’s no question that action / RPGs have their place in this fast paced mobile world.  Still, there’s something to be said about old fashioned tile based world exploration, and it manages to engross me just about every time.  QuestLord is no exception to that rule.

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The story is pretty cliché – the world has been overrun by an evil force and you’re the last hope.  Overused plotline aside, you get to pick one of three characters and begin your journey to become the ultimate QuestLord.  I like the fact that the game starts out in different locations and with different quests, so even if you’ve played through with one character type you can do it all again with a different one and it feels like a new game.  Each of the characters has different starting values for the three stats, but once you start leveling up you can apply your earned skill points to whichever stat you’d like.  It mainly depends on if you want someone that can swing a sword better, defend themselves more or be more adept at magic.

As you work your way through the land you’ll run into the typical selection of characters: those that want to “help” you by selling you stuff, those that need you to do something for them, and those that just want to kill you.  You’ll need money that you earn and find along your journey to deal with the first group, the second group will most likely reward you on completion of their task, but the third set are the most fun.  Combat is turn based though moving in front of a creature is considered your turn, so if at all possible try luring a creature to you using the wait button.  Casting a spell simply requires the tap of a button, but physically attacking a creature demands that you swipe across the screen.  I actually like the concept, but it often seems not quite as responsive as I’d like.  I suppose seeing as the game is turn based that’s not quite such a big deal.

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Many creatures will leave goodies when defeated, and you’ll also find a host of things lying around all the areas that you are exploring.  Healing items are always good to take, but if there are items you don’t need you can pick those up and then sell them when you get someplace to do so.  As you can see this plays out like your pretty typical 80’s CRPG, but that’s what makes it such fun.  I like the control scheme as a whole, though I do wish there were “side step” buttons like so many of these older RPGs had.  That would avoid some of the needless swatting you take from bad guys as you’re trying to move into place.  Once you get through playing each of the three selectable races, or when you just want a break from the main game, you can play a quick game.  This lets you pick one of three specific NPCs and tour randomly generated dungeons until you die.

I love the character designs.  Some blocky goodness combined with decent animation actually makes them work.  The backgrounds, on the other hand, might be a bit too retro.  More than blocky they actually seem a bit blurry, and it makes it really hard to navigate through certain areas.  The sound effects are really good, especially when it comes to ambient noises.  You might really think your outdoors with the chirping birds and howling winds, and when you walk into a tavern expect the Bard’s Tale nostalgia to come flooding back again.  There is occasionally some music, but not enough to really care about.

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I’m not sure how well QuestLord will sit with the modern Zenonia style players, but personally I love it.  The old school game play mechanics are great and keep me so engrossed that it’s easy to lose track of time.  The characters and sound effects are retro gold, and while I’m not entirely a fan of the backgrounds they even have their moments.  There’s been plenty to do so far, and hopefully the engine was written in such a way that a new adventure could be plugged in without too much trouble.  QuestLord is one trip down memory lane I’m more than happy to take.

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App Summary
Title: QuestLordDeveloper: Lava Level
Reviewed Ver:Min OS Req:4.3
Price:$1.99App Size:
  • Old school mechanics nicely blended with touch screen tech
  • Lots to explore
  • Cool characters
  • Nice sound effects
  • Swiping not completely responsive
  • Need “side step” buttons
  • Not much music

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