Game Reviews

The Quest

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| The Quest
The Quest
| The Quest

The intensely competitive nature of the App Store means that many titles are released and then quickly vanish from public view, lost in an ocean of rival games all trying as hard as possible to tempt players to part with their cash and time.

However, the ever-present digital nature of the service means that some games keep on developing long after their App Store debut, and there's no finer example of that than RPG title The Quest.

Originally released on Pocket PC devices many years ago, the game was ported to iOS back in 2009 and has been under continual refinement ever since. The latest iteration of the game hit Apple's devices early this month, which just goes to show how committed a fanbase the title has.

However, on the surface The Quest hasn't changed all that much since it stumbled into the sunlight almost five years ago. Its Pocket PC origins are painfully clear - although it adopts a first-person perspective, the visuals are quite primitive and call to mind the rather ugly 3D PC adventures from the early '90s.

A Tribe Called Quest

Locations are rendered in a semi-3D style, but are navigated using a grid-based system. The environment is detailed enough to deliver an effective level of atmosphere, but there are obviously much better-looking titles on iOS right now.

The characters in the game are even less impressive - they're all flat 2D sprites with minimal animation, and the same designs are constantly re-used through the game.

The controls are also a little stiff, which is possibly to be expected in a game that started life on a platform boasting physical buttons.

You can use the on-screen directional buttons to move around the world, and menu selection is as simple as tapping the appropriate text. You can also swipe your finger to advance through the world, which shows the developers are looking at ways of upgrading the core engine to suit its new host system. It's still a bit clunky at times, however.

While the presentation is somewhat lacking, what lies beneath it is rather more striking. The Quest is a largely open-ended romp which has a storyline to follow but allows the player to wander off in whatever direction she wishes.

The game world has four different towns, but it's the expansive wilderness which will call to the more adventurous among you.

A noble venture

Combine this vast world with a robust character creation and levelling system - not to mention the ability to equip a large selection of items - and it's clear that The Quest offers weeks of entertainment. In fact, the game's longevity suggests that some are playing it for years and still discovering new things.

Its high price and slightly archaic graphics could put prospective players off, but when you consider the amazing scope of The Quest's sprawling and immersive world, it seems churlish to moan about the cost.

There's a community behind this game displaying levels of passion and commitment that betoken a real gem behind the ropey visuals and occasionally awkward controls. If you consider yourself to be a fan of this genre, then this is one quest that is well worth undertaking.

The Quest

The Quest's Pocket PC lineage is clear for all to see, but that doesn't diminish the incredible scope of the title - there's months of captivating gameplay to be discovered beneath those outdated graphics