King’s Quest is royally charming

5 min read
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King’s Quest is a classic point and click game that inspires tons of nostalgia. However, this new game isn’t King’s Quest 6 HD – this is a new King’s Quest for a new generation of gamers, and they’re hoping to give fans of the franchise something that can be shared with gamer progeny.

King’s Quest will be released in chapters, but The Odd Gentlemen don’t want you to lump this together with typical episodic gameplay. Yes, the chapters will be released over time, but they span an entire lifetime, not just a short piece of a story. Plus, each chapter is approximately twice as long as what we’re used to in typical episodic games.

The first chapter is called A Knight to Remember and is releasing at the end of July. While the story of this chapter is focused on Gwendolyn’s upcoming fencing tournament, it’s really about King Graham telling her how he dealt with challenges in his youth. Depending on how he (the player) solves the various puzzles, this can affect Gwendolyn’s approach to the fencing tournament. Will she be courageous, generous or creative? It’s all up to how the player chooses to solve the various puzzles of the chapter, as well as how players interact with NPCs. These decisions aren’t necessarily pushed in your face – it’s not a matter of making one or two big decisions when a special sound plays, it’s about consistent character development through player choices.

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As a result, The Odd Gentlemen have done away with the traditional point system of the game. Rather than rewarding players more for solving puzzles in one way or another, the idea is that every choice is valid and should be rewarded equally. Of course, this can also add extra replay value for those who want to see how the game could have branched if they’d made different decisions – and the branches are wide and numerous. We saw bits of gameplay including a hilarious section with a bridge troll that would only be seen if the player made a series of specific dialogue decisions. There is a ton of content in the game, much of which could be missed by players depending on their choices.

The game is filled with humour. As expected for a King’s Quest game, there are a ton of puns, but it goes further than that. Fans of the franchise will pick up on funny references to previous games, but those who are new to the game will still be able to enjoy the ironic humour and charm that is a core part of the game’s experience.

In order to adapt the point-and-click gameplay to new consoles, players can now move the character around the environment, engaging with various objects on a context sensitive basis. The inventory is managed with an easy UI and if players choose to use the wrong items it can lead to some hilarious interchanges between Graham and Gwendolyn. The narration is that of Graham looking back on his youth, so when in the demo they showed what would happen if you tried to use a hatchet on a guard, Gwendolyn excitedly imagines Graham hacking all the guards to pieces – of course he drolly sets her straight. The fact that he’s voiced by Christopher Lloyd makes it even better.

The aural experience is truly astounding – the game has more music in it than Mass Effect. It has a distinctly Peter and the Wolf tinge to it, with specific characters linked to distinct instruments. This adds a ton of personality to the characters in an extremely subtle way.

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The rest of the aesthetic is also beautiful with water colour painting used for everything. Not only does it make the game look great, it also means that the game will be fairly comparable on all platforms at launch; it’s coming to Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4 and PC. To be able to recreate such a great looking experience on all the platforms is a feat in itself. That said, PC gamers will probably get the best experience by playing with a controller rather than mouse and keyboard; the switch in controls means that those who are used to playing point and click might be a bit less inclined to easily adapt to the move and click approach of this new King’s Quest.

While there are some open areas of the world, the majority of the gameplay is still puzzling. The open world simply changes the order in which you might encounter or solve the puzzles, which could affect the choices you end up making. The team is fairly confident that the puzzles are straight forward to solve, but they also want to show their respect for gamers. As a result, there is no hint system in the game – if you truly can’t solve a puzzle, The Odd Gentlemen are confident that you will find an answer in an FAQ somewhere on the internet soon after launch.

While the demo I saw included a lot of shifting through various parts of the game, it was a lot of fun to watch with some really hilarious moments. Plus, it’s designed to appear to people of all ages, making it ideal to share with young gamer children as they learn to solve puzzles and have fun with the silliness of King’s Quest. It’s hard to gauge just how difficult the game will be, but it seems to be accessible to newcomers and it could be a lot of fun. With the first chapter releasing in about a month’s time, I suppose we don’t have long to wait to find out.

Last Updated: June 16, 2015

Zoe Hawkins

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. You can read more of my words over at www.borngeek.co.za, or just follow me on all the social networks to get the true range of my sarcasm and wit.

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