Reviewed by Kevin
- Developer: Sky9 Games
- Publisher: Curve Digital
- Release Date: 10/10/2019
- Price: £19.99 / $24.99
- Review code provided by Curve Digital
A Knight to Remember?
There are no shortage of excellent action adventure games on the Nintendo Switch, and a Knight’s Quest sets out to piece together elements from the best of them to build something new that still feels very familiar.
The clearest touchstone for A Knight’s Quest is The Legend of Zelda series; you’ll find yourself travelling from forests, deserts, ice caps, all in search of weapons and abilities to be able to take down the arch villain, but I also see nods to classic Rare adventures in there as well as some modern platforming inspiration.
Feeling a Bit Rusty
A Knight’s Quest opens with an accident. While exploring underground, our hero Rusty manages to unearth the source of all evil and left it floating in the sky above the planet. Only by visiting 3 legendary Guardians and unlocking new weapons and abilities will you be able to climb up there and see what can be done.
Others in your world have drastically different ideas about how to deal with the ominous evil hanging in the sky, and you have to race to solve it before they end up making it much worse.
If you have a Nintendo Switch, I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to guess you may have played a Legend of Zelda game or two in your time. What follows the setup in A Knight’s Quest will therefore feel familiar, explore across an open world to different areas, meet a big personality in each area and complete trials or find the end of a dungeon in order to unlock a weapon which will allow you to unlock new areas and beat bigger enemies.
A Hard Day’s Knight
A large open world adventure must juggle a few elements in order to succeed. A Knight’s Quest succeeds and frustrates at nearly every turn.
The platforming ticks many boxes, classic obstacles await; spinning blades, pop-up spikes, icy platforms, and good old lava. But something is missing, the control on the player feels a touch imprecise, jumps that look tough will see you clear in an easy bound, and simple leaps can see you hang on the lip of an edge and fall to your doom.
The size of the world is much larger than I had anticipated, with multiple routes through the over world, each with hidden collectibles and challenges. Traversal becomes varied as additional abilities unlock, you’ll be grinding along rails and rolling across dangerous terrain in an ice ball. But the map is unreadable, to the point where it may as well not exist, it provides no additional detail, and you’ll have to rely on your objective indicator at the top of the screen. The objective indicator also has a habit of disappearing entirely once you’re in the area you’re supposed to be in, but some of these areas are huge; if you have to return to town to speak to someone, as soon as you step through the gates the indicator vanishes and you’ll have to scour the location manually for them.
The game has a fast travel system, warp stones dotted around the key locations, but bizarrely this system doesn’t open up until you’re in the final third of your adventure, and even then you are required to physically travel to the stones you’ve already been during the course of your adventure to in order to activate them.
Combat in A Knight’s Quest has the potential to be excellent. Divine elemental weapons and attacks can be switched on the hoof, you can launch fireballs and instantly switch to your sizeable ice hammer to deal direct damage. But button placement makes what should be quite fluid a struggle, locking onto enemies requires holding down the L button, movement is naturally the left thumbstick, and switching between the divine weapons is on the direction buttons on the left Joycon, a combination that requires contortionist skills of the highest order.
There is something lacking in the physicality of the combat as well, the impact of your sword on enemies seems to draw very little reaction, giving a spongy impression, and their final rag-doll death can deceive, leaving me hacking away at something that’s already been bested.
There is no manual save option, so you are entirely at the mercy of the auto save system. This would be fine if the checkpoints that trigger a save were plentiful, but some sections can see you deep in a dungeon solving puzzles or battling obstacles, the last checkpoint now a distant memory.
A Knight to Forget?
The environment is impressive. A large detailed land with the bright vibrant colours you’d expect from a traditional action adventure; you get big platforms, rotating walkways, lava to avoid, and icy paths to slip on, just like your mother used to make. You wouldn’t bat an eyelid If you were told this was a remaster of a Gamecube era platformer.
While the world around you is exactly as ordered, the characters that fill it have wildly inconsistent looks, some have character and charm; the Guardians all embody their own personalities, but then you get the designs of your partner Valy and the inhabitants of Regalia Port City who look misshapen and blobby in comparison. There is genuinely strong humour in the dialogue between characters in A Knight’s Quest, but the delivery in text boxes while a dropped Morph repeats the same 3 animations doesn’t help when trying to stick the punchlines.
I played both docked and in handheld mode, and both perform well; the only issue faced was a wild contrast between light and dark in some areas, which meant some fiddling had to be done in the settings to be able to make the path out. During my 15-20 hour playthrough of the game it did bug out and quit back to the home screen, thankfully this issue seems confined to the act of entering a new area from the open world, which generally happens just after an auto save. If I’d had a full quit out deep in a dungeon, I’d fear for the health of my Switch.
A Knight’s Quest is solid platform puzzle adventure that draws from a number of classic franchises, most notably The Legend of Zelda, but is ultimately marred by inconsistent design and frustrating gameplay choices.
Combat that requires wrestling with your controller and results in the feeling of attacking jelly, an auto-save system that can punish you with repeating lengthy areas on failure or death, platforming that manages to feel imprecise, and some of the best abilities and fast travel in the game only making an appearance in the final third, long after many players might have called it quits on this quest.
- Classic Platforming Adventure
- Variety of Abilities to Unlock
- Rich in Humor and Novel Objectives
- Frustrating Lack of Manual Save
- Spongy Combat
- Most Interesting Abilities come Far too Late
There are sections of A Knight’s Quest that are a delight, rewarding sections that I genuinely enjoyed, but as I was playing my mental list of faults and issues both small and large kept growing. Listing them all here would take an age, and to be honest, I’ve got some Zelda to play.