App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
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I’m usually not one to turn down a sprawling iOS RPG, regardless of whether it uses simple turn-based mechanics and visuals or high definition graphics with advanced physics. So naturally I was interested in giving QuestLord a try. I wouldn’t call it the most polished example of such a concept but it manages to straddle the line between user-friendly and accessible, and complex and rewarding quite nicely.
QuestLord is a kind of reworking of a more “old school” western RPG, the kind that involves individual turns for every action, a first-person perspective, and giant movement buttons. A few more modern concessions have been made such as the ability to save anywhere and using simple swipe gestures to attack, but for the most part it’s a classic dungeon crawling RPG with a slightly more contemporary style. Players can enjoy the nostalgia, or simply the adventure, across two distinct modes: the normal campaign, and Quick Game. The campaign is about what one would expect with three playable races (Human, Elf, Dwarf), quests, equipment, magic, an expansive world, etc. Quick Game is a more focused mode that gives players one of three scenarios and tasks them with either surviving or lasting as long as they can for a high score.
Despite the somewhat goofy appearance, QuestLord is actually a very competent RPG. The interface is in desperate need of sidestep buttons but other than that it’s incredibly easy to get into. It’s also got the story and characters to back up the goofiness inherent in the visuals. There’s still some serious stuff going on with kings fighting over territory and necromancers running amok, but that makes the little bits of humor--such as an undead cow going “moo-ah-ha-ha-ha!” all the more enjoyable. I was also really impressed with the Quick Game mode as it adds a surprising amount of speedy, replayable fun to the mix.
Aside from the lack of an ability to sidestep, which is mostly a problem because enemies can attack while the player is turning, QuestLord also suffers a bit from its environments. Both dungeons and the wilderness are full of narrow, claustrophobic paths, making them feel much less diverse despite containing different kinds of enemies. The world itself is also rather problematic as navigating from one town to another typically involves slowly wandering through a series of maze-like wilds while systematically checking the area and world maps. I can appreciate the scale, but simply getting around can be something of a grind. There is a teleport spell that theoretically helps but it requires a spellbook and only the Elf starts with one.
Even with a map that’s too big for its own good, QuestLord is still an impressive RPG. It’s easy to play, surprisingly clever, and fun enough to keep coming back to. So long as the lengthy walks aren’t a problem.