Thursday, June 26, 2014

Indie Impression - 1Quest


Available Now on Steam (Also from Indie Game Stand,

from Ratz 'N' Godz in collaboration with Storybird Games

1Quest is a new retro-styled roguelike with vibrant worlds and a grim story of blood cults and royal sacrifice from independent french developer Ratz 'N' Godz, in collaboration with Storybird Games working on visuals and the immensely melodic and nostalgic soundtrack which pleasantly gives me vibes of Super Castlevania IV's warm string synths and heavy drums.

The game manages to be casual and easy enough for new players to enjoy with ease while still having the depth and appeal hardcore gamers expect from older roguelikes with it's secondary classes and complex magic system. The game has already proven to be highly replayable due to the diverse character choices, spell schools, wide array of dungeon types each with specific loot, as well as it's multiple endings achieved by saving as many royal children from sacrifice as possible. Learning about all of these features was admittedly a little confusing and obtuse at first, but in the end exceedingly rewarding.

The nimble Garuda make great rogues, one of the many starting combinations of race and class.

Getting right into the game you notice from the graphical style, the dark and ominous story, and the heavy synth-driven melodies that this is meant to be a very visceral 16-bit roguelike experience. The visuals have come a long way since their previous incarnations, and in their current state are incredibly eye catching for people who grew up gaming in the 80's and 90's with it's crisp and defined pixel-art and lovingly eerie monster designs. Although 1Quest is mostly light on backstory and explanations, it contributes well to the strange and mysterious feeling of this otherworldly culture the player has happened upon.

Attacked and outnumbered by a group of eclectic monsters, this is still a manageable situation

Creating a character marks the start of your journey, and is an important process as you'll choose both a race and a starting class for yourself. There's a pretty cool selection of races here ranging from brute strength Orcs to the more swift and agile Garuda bird people and all with their own elemental affinities making your class a crucial choice as it will effect each of these races in very different ways.

The classes offer a very broad approach to leveling up with it's advanced class system forcing you to switch between and put points into multiple basic classes in order to access some of the more powerful advanced tiers. There's two difficulties to choose from and although Easy is what anyone new to the game will want to start with, most the already hefty list of achievements will only be unlock-able in Normal.

1Quest features a very distinct world map from which you'll choose your consecutive destinations from and is a very uncommon and welcome addition to roguelikes giving the player much more control over which setting they'll end up in next. You'll have to plan your route carefully on this hexagonal boardgame-like map, as there is a limited supply of hourglasses in the top right of the screen that will tick away with each movement before the next sacrifice is on your conscious. While you get the choose the general biome you'll journey to after conquering your previous dungeon, the layouts themselves are always randomly generated as well as the placement of monsters and items keeping the adventure extensively replayable.

Starting out the world map, a unique take on classic roguelike exploration.

Although 1Quest is turn-based I found the combat here to be incredibly quick in speed and heavy on action in comparison to other more classic roguelikes. You'll be clicking your way through dungeons very fast and combat can happen in the blink of an eye but you'll still need to fight smart and sparingly in order not to empty your entire Energy bar which drains with each action. Refilling your energy bar is as easy as sleeping for a turn, however you'll need to use it wisely as resting near aggro enemies will be a very bad idea.

The game features options for Auto-Leveling skills and class which most fans of roguelikes will more than likely start out avoiding as it takes the fun out of planning the massive list of stats to play around with, although upon trying it out the system here does work very well by giving you stat points accordingly based on class and equipment you happen to be using, making it a great option for those new to the genre or just people looking to have a more relaxing and less old-school experience.

After only the first few dungeons I already have a bounty of sweet loot to manage.

Overall, 1Quest is a very fast-paced and fun roguelike that will fit right in with more casual modern gamers with it's lack of permanent death while managing to strike a balance of deep complexity and retro flavor that will appeal to older or more hardcore fans of the genre. There's lots to see and find in it's many environments each with their own objective and even a few playthroughs won't grant you access to nearly all of the different treasures, classes, or endings there are to unlock throughout the game. The visuals and sound have fantastically appealing retro aesthetics, and I really hope more musical compositions make it into the game because the one awesome fanfare we have throughout just makes you want more and I'm eager to see what additional content is in store for the future.

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