Developer: GAMEVIL
Price: FREE
Version: 1.10
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

I’m just going to say it: Fantasy Quest has a slow burn to it. Not that it’s bad once things pick up, but until it reaches that point it can be a fairly significant grind. And not the fun sort of grind, either. Thankfully once players get past that initial roadblock they’ll find a free-to-play kingdom building RPG that isn’t all that easy to put down.

Fantasy Quest is essentially two kinds of free-to-play games in one. There’s the town building with all the expectant tax collection and land expansion, and the energy-reliant RPG-ing with a number of different characters and quests. Both feed into each other, of course, with buildings created in town effecting what characters can be hired for a team and goods earned from slaying goblins and such necessary for expanding the town. It’s all fairly simple in practice but there’s also has a sort of refined elegance to the way each aspect plays off of the other, as well as how they’re both very accessible without being mindless.

The kingdom building aspects are mostly typical of a lot of free-to-play games these days with the exception of being able to raid other players’ settlements. Not that this is a new idea, but the way it’s implemented is pretty clever: stamina is needed to attack specific buildings and each hit (damage determined by the questing team, surrounding buildings, etc) coughs up various resources, including Valor that acts as a kind of special currency. What I find refreshing about it is the fact that being raided doesn’t incite rage. Sure I might lose a few coins, but I hardly lose enough to get mad over and raiding other players can more than make up for lost income.

The actual RPG-like quests can be entertaining as well, although they don’t really pick up until after a third party member is acquired. It can be incredibly slow going at first but once that threshold is passed players will find themselves with a competent group of adventurers, each with their own sets of equipment to manage and special skills to learn. It’s a little unfortunate that there isn’t a larger selection of basic units (only one of each type can be bought with non-premium currency) but it isn’t exactly a game breaking detail. A more significant (and literally game breaking) problem is the occasional crash or server hang-up while in the middle of a fight. Again, not so bad when all that’s really lost is a little time and some energy that replenishes at a fairly generous rate, but it can still be irritating.

Fantasy Quest feels a bit like a slow “me too” kind of fantasy freemium game at first, but it really does come into its own once players progress past the intro phase. It’s definitely a good time so long as one has the patience.

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