A Knight’s Quest (Switch) Review
The writing gives this game a strong and memorable personality
When the game is working well, the dungeons are genuinely fun
Areas with low interactivity feel like a missed opportunity
The game is riddled with technical problems
If, in your daydreams, you’ve ever wished that The Legend of Zelda offered more guys in toilets to talk to, A Knight’s Quest hopes that it can be the game for you. This new adventure game for Nintendo Switch offers dungeon exploration and puzzle solving alongside a parody of the games it imitates. However, it has some serious issues that stop either half of this equation from being as good as they could be.
A Knight’s Quest isn’t a terrible game. Sure, it’s an Ocarina of Time knockoff with some clumsy jumping added, but there are worse games to rip off. The dungeons are pleasant to play, getting good at the combat is satisfying, and, when the game works well, it’s a nice time killer. It doesn’t stand out, but it’s short enough that it never becomes unpleasant, either.
The problem is how often the game just doesn’t work. Glitches are the biggest problem with A Knight’s Quest. Some of them are small, like patches of grass popping out of cave walls, but others really affect the gameplay. My least favorite of the bunch was an issue that led to, when I tried to attack, my character instead holding his arms straight out and freezing for around 20 seconds. Whenever this happened, it would eventually and mysteriously just go away, but it was really irritating. I also spent a lot of time trying to get my character unstuck from walls after jumping. He always shook free, but then took fall damage from six inches off of the ground. It wasn’t a gamebreaking problem, but it was one that made the game more tedious and less pleasant.
Outside of the dungeons, A Knight’s Quest keeps the same balance between being perfectly all right and distressingly unpolished. If this game has any unique strength, it’s the writing. The snark is consistent and it’s well aware of its own ridiculousness, which gives the game more personality than the totally generic gameplay possibly could. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the game is free of this humor, leaving you to play as the sort of generic fantasy hero the game mocks in its dialogue and story.
The game’s sense of humor also makes the lack of interactivity in towns and crowds more noticeable. This is best exemplified by a situation early in the game where you can walk through a crowd of people, including a friend of yours, and are unable to speak to any of them. Upon trying to leave the the town, however, your friend catches up with you, wondering where you were. In a game with otherwise well considered writing, it seems like a missed opportunity to not give NPCs a line or two each, but scenes such as this make the game seem almost unfinished.
The graphics in A Knight’s Quest aren’t great, either. The game is filled with people with pasted on cartoon faces and simple environments with low resolution textures. In and of itself, this isn’t awful, but the shaky graphics aren’t done stylishly enough to make them seem, as in a lot of indie games, like a conscious aesthetic choice. The sound isn’t bad, though. The player character’s constant Link-style grunts get old fast, but the orchestral music is nice and suits the adventure well.
For every thing that A Knight’s Quest does decently, it does something to counteract that goodwill. I can’t bring myself to really dislike it, though. More than anything, it’s disappointing. The dungeons here are nice enough to play that it’s easy to see how this could have been an above average adventure game. Similarly, the game’s sense of humor gives it an identity that could have been utilized more often. Both of these things are undercut by glitches and lazy design choices, though, keeping A Knight’s Quest from being as special as it could be.