Not had one of these for a while. Many of the games I’ve played recently have been somewhat run of the mill.
It harks back to those heady days of the early 90s when games like Dungeon Master, Eye of the Beholder or Ishar ruled the RPG waters on early home computers. First person turn based dungeon crawlers with 2D pixel graphics and eerie sounds and epic storylines involving threats from ancient evil covering the land unless a band of low level, ill-equipped heroes venture into some gloomy tower, keep or dungeon and find some artifact that will be the only thing that can kill Lord Deadeyes McDevious and cancel the spell of impotence that has been cast upon the King.
Recently the tides of retrodom have put these games back in Vogue with the likes of Legend of Grimrock becoming a big hit. On the surface QuestLord seems a much more basic game; the graphics and sounds are reminiscent of the earliest days of 16bit machines. The menus have few options and you can only have one character, the graphics are extremely basic and combat involves moving yourself around maze-like areas until you come across a hostile blob of pixels at which point you and it take turns to attack each other. You do this in the time honoured touch-screen way if swiping over the nasty thing until it’s gone, as if it was a fruit-fly or a stray eyelash on the screen… but once you begin to play the game it belies it’s true depth.
The world is fairly large. Not Skyrim by any means but a Legend of Zelda style world. Like many classic PC roleplayers the back story is revealed via talking to the NPCs in towns or reading books or examining objects or looking through windows by tapping them. Clues as to how to progress or places to investigate are also revealed this way, however there is no clue or quest logging system like in many modern games and according to the developer, this is by design. There is basic quest tracking and the game while show you the region of the quest and the location of the giver but no more. Thankfully this paternal reticence doesn’t extend to mapping and the game has a built in mapping system saving you from having to dig out pencils and squared paper (Not sarcasm, I’ve played old PC eventide games where you hard to do this. Though it’s not a major chore for an old-school D&Der like myself having to do it for a phone game would be a killer).
The usual XP system exists with each level giving you three points to distribute over three different stats equating to attack, defence and magic power. You also accumulate money in the form of gold looted from the dead. This can be spent at vendors to buy better armour, weapons and potions etc. Spells can be found in various places in-game and written to your spellbook that you also have to find.
Death is not the end as you are resurrected at the last shrine you gave tribute at. Some of these can be well hidden and dying far from the shrine can be a pain as enemies respawn after a while. Tribute can be given in food by dropping the item at the feet of the statue. It will then tell you if you have been successful.
Completing quests for NPCs opens access to new areas in the world and helps you progress through the overall storyline. The story is knowingly hackneyed and it’s obviously satirical to a certain degree. Particularly in some of the in-game books.
Overall it’s a fun game. It’s deep enough to keep you interested while casual enough to drop into whenever as it saves your state when you quit. The dev is reportedly working on a sequel which depend on how popular this one is. Personally I’d like to see Rogue-like random dungeons AMD perhaps a basic party system. Plus perhaps camping to staying in inns to replenish hit points and spell power.