A Knight’s Quest
Switch version tested
Review code provided
A knight’s Quest swings into Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Toronto based developer Sky 9 is giving the action open-world formula a fresh lick of paint on this epic quest. Introducing protagonist Rusty, an adventurer with a heart of gold if a little on the unreliable side, as he is tasked with puzzle-solving, item collecting, ridding the land evil and fighting giant bosses (you know, the usual). It will certainly be the ultimate test for our plucky hero. We took a first impressions look here but is the finished product worth a look? Let’s find out!
As previously mentioned this quest introduces our protagonist Rusty in true Nathan Drake style. Things go from bad to worse leading to a nail-biting sequence that sees our wannabe hero in a mad dash for freedom as the tomb he is exploring begins to collapse around him. There are several of these set pieces throughout the game that spice up the action. Although the game is touted as drawing inspiration from classics such as The Legend of Zelda and Metroid it is clear from the art style and gameplay that it bears a number of similarities to the Jak and Daxter series, also by Naughty Dog as the aforementioned Uncharted.
After the thrilling introduction, Rusty then moves into the core of the story and the open-world setting. Pick up side quests or progress the main story, it’s up to you as the player to define. The story is driven by text interactions with the obligatory one-liner voice over mixed in. Hit the options to see the mini-map and locate the next area to explore, it is exactly what you would hope for and expect. There’s a charm to A Knights Quest but scratching the surface it feels a little lacking in paces. Rusty communicates back to his sidekick via headphones and a backup peripheral that is oddly positioned. Holding the attack button will give you a special but more importantly, as you delve deeper into the story you will acquire a number of upgrades to your arsenal. The fire-based knuckle dusters came in particular use even though their attack power was extremely limited but as you play greater abilities come your way. the grind power comes in handy.
As you progress deeper into the story you will find a host of collectable items to store in a handy inventory system which has limited spaces. This can be expanded upon by hitting certain criteria but causes some frustration and inventory management in the initial hours. The mini-map will point you in the general direction of the next quest which is backed up by an onscreen compass that is situated across the top section of the screen. Each checkpoint is signalled by a golden dot which is clear to see but some of the destinations take a bit of thinking to pinpoint. As Rusty arrives in any given destination the usual exploration ensues which is part of the fun with A Knight’s Quest.
There is a lot to do in the game, if you want to invest the time you can complete all of the side quests and get wrapped up in that but they are not essential. It would have been nice to see some in-game rewards on the Switch for completing these but sadly Nintendo still hasn’t made this function a requirement. this would have been more prominent in the other versions released. The story of Rusty is really the catalyst that drives progression so stick with it and you are sure to have fun.
The audio department is one of the many highlights of the game, the accompanying soundtrack is suitably epic and heartfelt. This is where the game most resembles The Legend of Zelda in the notes and emotion it provokes. Visuals are a mixed bag truth be told, overall it looks great but there are key details that lack finesse. While they never truly detract from the experience it just feels a little deflating when it’s clear to see that a lot of love and effort has been put into the finished package. The background worlds are colour rich and beautifully realised, the detail in each area really helps to add emotion to the story that unfolds. Moving from dark and spooky cave systems to lush sprawling fields full of life. Character models, for the most part, are well designed and realised. The exaggerated cartoon feel is suited to the angle the developer is looking to hook into but my biggest gripe is with the facial detail. In fact it damn right looks out of place on Rusty et al, the sprite-based eyes and mouth just don’t work. It gave flashbacks of the horrific Roblox characters my kids still have nightmares about, the saving grace here is that the majority of A Knight’s Quest is played with the camera sitting just behind Rusty. There is very much a high definition PS2 feel, a little clunky but everything works perfectly on the Nintendo Switch even in handheld mode.
If you are a fan of retro adventure platformers then A Knight’s Quest will certainly appeal. In playing through the story there are a number of minor frustrations that come to the forefront that leave a sour taste in the mouth, but this is much a product of the time and experience that the game is looking to recapture. For the price A Knight’s Quest is certainly easy to recommend, there is content aplenty and a lot of fun to be had. This game doesn’t quite reach the heights of the greats but will certainly give them a run for their money. Browsing through the eShop A Knight’s Quest is definitely one to look out for.
TBG Score 7/10
Platform: Steam, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 10/10/2019
No. of Players: 1
Category: Adventure, RPG, Action, Platformer
Developer: Sky 9
Publisher: Curve Digital
Download link: eShop