Developer: Rush Digital Interactive
Version Reviewed: 1.1
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2
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Hope’s Quest is a slightly deceptive game. Its name and opening cinematic showing all kinds of evil being unleashed from Pandora’s Box suggest that the player is in for some sort of grand adventure. However, then the game starts and all one does is avoid blocks. Now that would be fine if avoiding said blocks made for a fun and engaging gameplay experience. Unfortunately, it really doesn’t.
At its core, Hope’s Quest is an action-puzzle game. Players move the character Hope across the grid, laying traps to capture the waves of incoming blocks/stones. With a few exceptions, the goal is to capture as many blocks as possible and to avoid being squished. High scores come successfully charting out your course ahead of time, a task that can be made easier by changing the view and using the limited “analysis mode.”
Later levels introduce different block types in an attempt to shake up the formula, like link stones that set off multiple traps or fear stones that are supposed to remain untouched, but ultimately the block capturing mechanic that makes up the majority of the game gets slow and repetitive when stretched out across six worlds. It isn’t like there’s something broken about the game. In fact the virtual controls are quite smooth and responsive especially when activating Hope’s slick roll animation. The problem is that it’s all just kind of boring.
The aesthetics are decent at least. Hope’s journey to discover the artifacts has her going from Egypt to Athens to Limbo. The music is pretty nice to listen to as well. The graphics however, are not bad but have the same chunky look as something out of an early original PlayStation game, which is ironic considering the game's biggest inspiration is the PS1 game Intelligent Qube. It’s even more apparent during the occasional cutscenes. What doesn’t help is that Hope’s banter with her floating magical cube companion also leaves something to be desired.
Hope’s Quest’s mildly inspired look only makes its gameplay seem that much less inspired by comparison though. Compare that to Intelligent Qube, whose stark, black visuals were more complimentary to the rigid game design. However, playing Hope's Quest in small chunks may cover up how monotonous it can get. It’s inoffensive but totally unexciting.