JackQuest: The Tale of the Sword Xbox One Review
IN THREE WORDS: HARD AS BALLS
Developed by NX Games and published by Blowfish Studios comes the interestingly fast paced fantasy action platformer, JackQuest. Almost like a Shakespearean play: one tragic night out in the woods, you, Jack, take your one and only on a romantic midnight stroll. Nara looks into your eyes, attempts to sing, (emphasis on attempts, but bless her she tried) and all seems to be at peace. But no: a great hand reaches from the depths of hell itself and pulls her down into the void. Understandably perplexed and angered, your mission is to push on and save Nara before it is too late.
Whack a mustache on him, give him a red hat and replace the hand with a turtle and you’ve got the basic premise for the Mario series. Unlike the Mario games however, this game is vein-poppingly difficult.
On my first playthrough I managed to cover, what I thought, was a sizable amount of progress. Granted, there were a few hard parts and I thought, you know what, I’ll call it a day here. I approached one of the “saving stones” throughout the levels and exited the game. To my astonishment, when I returned, I found that my entire progress had disappeared.
I had to start the game from the beginning and watch that damn cutscene once again. This time, I was a little gruffled when playing and decided to speed through it. Those stones I mentioned seemed to be just “waypoint stones” and only really serve any use when you die in-game. They’re spawn points. From the looks of it you need to find these torches in order to save, however I never managed to get that far in the game.
Every enemy you kill gives you a certain amount of coin you can use at a vendor, different enemies give you different amounts of coin, depending on their difficulty. There seemed to be a variety of different enemies I encountered, from green blobs to blue blobs, to some spiders, to a bumblebee and wait for it…a big big green blob.
Needless to say, JackQuest doesn’t really follow a kind of “set theme” and it’s just really a mixture of everything. Whether this “theme” develops later on in the game, I couldn’t tell you as I couldn’t get past the first mission.
Now before I get branded as a noob, I do have to say this game does have some fierce challenge to it. It plays similar to another indie game I’ve played called “Slime San”, however Slime San had a different approach and incorporated different and somewhat trippy level design. JackQuest just feels a bit cut and paste from everything we’ve seen before.
The boss battle at the end of what I assume is the tutorial mission, was impenetrable in my playthrough. The big green slime blob you’ll encounter at the end, mugged me off to such a degree, I just lost all hope. I watched a few videos online as to how to pass it and see if there was some sort of technique, and it seems you just have to constantly swing your sword, grinding it’s health down tiny amounts at a time. It was literally a bullet sponge (god I wish there were guns in this). I tried replicating what I saw in the videos, but only death followed, again and again and again. Alas, I was defeated.
The performance for JackQuest was on point, it ran at a solid 60 frames per second and for a game created by one person, this is a job well done in my opinion. I didn’t run into any bugs during my playthrough, perhaps a few moments when I thought “that enemy didn’t hit me”, but nothing to warrant a complaint. The graphics are a little old school, but thats how platformers seem to be and this is a textbook platformer.
Overall it wasn’t a fun time. The target audience of this game is clearly aimed toward kids, but even so, it’s just wayyyy to difficult for a child, in my opinion. JackQuest is solid. It’s ludicrously hard, and I can just see kids getting frustrated and bored with it relatively easily. I wish I could say something positive about it but I really found it hard to enjoy it. The performance is good I guess, that ran smoothly and at a constant 60fps, but other than that it just didn’t hook me. Those of you who are MLG out there, I imagine would like this. If you can get past the tutorial mission, you’ll already have beaten me and I will salute you. JackQuest unfortunately doesn’t stand out to me and it’s a real shame. If I’ve taken away anything from JackQuest, it’s that tutorials aren’t always as easy as they seem.
Developed by: NX Games
Price – £8.39