I've played and enjoyed a lot of role playing games over the years, but one genre I could never quite get into was the first-person dungeon crawler. Typically very non-linear and lacking the conveniences of modern-day RPGs in terms of tutorials and guidance, new dungeon crawlers always felt like titles that only appealed to gamers that were already fans. However, QuestLord [$1.99] doesn't elicit that feeling of being immediately overwhelmed that I seem to encounter with other dungeon crawlers. In fact, I'd argue that QuestLord's simplicity in both scope and gameplay, while probably a turnoff to genre veterans, makes it a great title for folks looking to get into the mix.

If you've never played a dungeon crawler, QuestLord is a first-person turn-based RPG with an emphasis on exploration. Players initially make a character by choosing from one of three races, each with different stats. In addition, depending on your selection, you're placed in a different location within the world to start. Regardless of where you start, you're immediately given the role of QuestLord and told to travel the world providing assistance to the populace of the Shattered Realm.

As you might imagine, a large portion of QuestLord's content centers around the various quests assigned by the NPCs. From the first task given, the quests do a good job of encouraging exploration and placing players near other quest givers as well as providing ample award for completion. However, the actual objectives definitely lack variety and mainly revolve around killing certain enemies once you reach a location. I also wdould have liked more in terms of story narration and scope as QuestLord's writing is somewhat weak.

Based on the above, you'd think QuestLord wouldn't have much to offer but that's not really the case. The game's emphasis on simplicity goes a long way towards making what it does offer approachable. Stats are divided into three attributes which boil down to attack, defense, and spell points and can be increased with each level-up. Meanwhile, the spell system is based on discovering new spells in the world, a nice incentive to explore every map. In addition, QuestLord also features a robust item system, with plenty of slots and equipment to find. I also appreciated the game's auto-map feature which not only shows the player's location in the world, but also within each individual map (some magical items will even instantly reveal said maps for you if for some reason you don't want to explore).

This all leads to a game that's very manageable in terms of quests, world-size and objectives. Without having to worry about some of the traditionally more complicated pieces of dungeon crawlers, I found it enjoyable to simply explore the world and see what I could discover. It sounds like a small thing, but I think this, combined with the relatively easy difficulty went a long way towards making QuestLord approachable.

While it seems to be a calling card for the genre, one area that I really didn't enjoy was QuestLord's visual style. While I do realize that old-school graphics are part of the charm with most dungeon crawlers, the visuals in QuestLord are a little too classic, with retro graphics that are highly pixelated and a menu/item system and control buttons that just don't look too good. Does it detract much from the experience? Probably not, but it's still something that needs to be mentioned.

Still, I give QuestLord a lot of credit for properly introducing me to a genre that I never really could get into. With a streamlined attribute and quest system, there's not a lot of depth that is traditionally found in other titles. However, it's for this exact reason that I think it succeeds for newbies like me. Assuming you're looking to give dungeon crawlers a try, I'd definitely recommend QuestLord as an introductory taste.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • http://twitter.com/Anubis_666 Gordon Little

    Fantastic game. Loving it.

  • Cheeseball

    It's pretty well made, but I do agree that the pixelated graphics seem to have been put through some sort of interpolation filter (doesn't look like it's gone through 2xSaI since the colors aren't bold/vivid enough). Great gameplay though!

    • err404

      I'm not really a fan the pixelated trend that has become so popular these days, but I do understand the reasoning. It's used because it is comparatively easy to create compared to hi res assets. It's offers by far the best bang for your buck in the graphics department. For many Indy developers it's a choice between pixel graphics or not releasing the game at all.

      • Cheeseball

        Er, you may be misunderstanding, I absolutely *love* the pixelated retro look (Minecraft and Terraria player here). What may have been a contributing factor to the 3.5 star review is the fact that even though it's pixelated, there seems to be this wierd gaussian blur which kind of ruins the retro look for me. Usually pixel games would be a pure color without any blur filter.

    • http://twitter.com/drelbs drelbs

      Yes, I'd love to have an option to turn that filter off, especially on iPad.

    • http://profiles.google.com/superspandy James Kochalka

      I love pixelated graphics, but I like my pixels crisp and clear. I'm having a hard time comprehending why the choice was made to blur them (unless it wasn't a choice but an error?), but I'm getting used to it and it hasn't stopped me from completely falling in love with the game. I used to hate turn-based combat... but this game and Ni No Kuni on the PS3 and Xenoblade Chronicles on Wii have finally turned me around on the subject after decades of game playing.

      My 9-year old son totally loves Questlord too.

      If there was an update that un-blurred the pixels, I would love that.

  • Tim Cant

    You know what sucks? Real Racing 3 being freemium.

    • classicrockme

      Get a life

      • Tim Cant

        I posted that comment in between snorting coke off the stars of the Disney Channel. In your FACE classicrockme!!!

    • err404

      As much as I agree, this has already been discussed to death on the other thread.
      That said QuestLord looks promising.

    • Galsia

      Get over it.

  • MMarzola

    QuestLord is a perfect throwback design for modern mobile devices. Nice job!

  • curtisrshideler

    Love the graphics, controls, animations, and design. Simple but epic and beautifully retro. Good sound design too. I could never seem to progress in The Quest Gold, but in Questlord I've had much progression an really enjoyed exploring. Highly recommended.

    • http://profiles.google.com/superspandy James Kochalka

      Yeah, the sound is amazing. I love the crunch of footsteps on snow!

  • http://twitter.com/Inaba_kun Inaba-kun

    The whole pixel thing needs to stop now. Enough is enough. The joke has worn thin, it's time to actually make some nice art in games. I don't want every iOS game to look like it's running on a VIC 20.

    • http://profiles.google.com/superspandy James Kochalka

      Developers don't use pixel graphics as a joke. They use them because they LOVE them. And many users do too. I often find iOS games with more finely rendered graphics ugly and amateur looking. Pixel graphics look timeless.

      • http://twitter.com/Inaba_kun Inaba-kun

        Devs use pixel graphics because of two reasons: 1 - They take FAR less time to make, and 2 - Low resolution hides bad art and bad artists.

        It takes time and talent to create beautiful high res visuals. Creating something on a 16x16 grid is child's play, and can be done by anyone with a mouse.

      • Psiufoxx

        Disagree that they always take far less time to make, but to each his own.

      • http://profiles.google.com/superspandy James Kochalka

        The art in Questlord doesn't use this 16 x 16 grid you're talking about, so why even bring it up?

        Beyond that, I know that my own pixel skills are nowhere near my skills with brush and ink, so for my games I do the brush and ink stuff and another guy handles most the pixel stuff*. He does not appear to be able to generate pixel art any faster than I can generate brush & ink art. If anything, I'm probably faster than him.

        *(Or I will work broadly in pixels and he will refine my work. For one thing, with pixel art every pixel has to be right. There is no room for mistakes. There is plenty of wiggle room with hand drawn stuff. So, after I design a pixel level quickly, he will have to go through and fix all my rough hewn errors.)

        And we use pixel art for the reason that we LOVE it. It looks beautiful to me. Don't tell me that I'm doing it for some other reason, it's offensive.

  • BMOC

    Umm, the vast majority of games do NOT use these graphics so I don't know what you're complaining about. You want to stamp out all retro styled games? There is an audience that wants games in that style so what's your problem? Every game released must be to your tastes?

  • http://www.facebook.com/ray.delia.3 Ray Delia

    I downloaded this game and I have been loving it. I am 6 hours in, completed many quests. This is an AWESOME RPG! Huge replay value in the quick games!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/4P3LYKST5PDEESQ6U3AVSN3BKI Magocracy

    An odd question perhaps, but does the story in this game "play it straight" or is it yet another game that doesn't take itself seriously and is full of meta-jokes and pop culture references? I think I've had my fill of the latter for a while, it seems like most non-Asian RPGs lately are just filled with tired jokes.

  • Pedok

    Fantastic old school rpg.

  • grits

    Pixel are is awesome. Will never get old For those of us that hold it dear. The rest of you, go play other games.

  • EZ Ice

    Clean up the pixels.

    The zoomed in maps aren't that big, but the ability to mark them would be nice.

    At least clean up the pixels, nothing worse than blurry pixel art.

    Otherwise a cool game.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dag.friedman.3 Dag Friedman

    I grabbed this on my ipad and I have to say the graphics are really distracting. Everything is just so blurry.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mike.bedar Mike Bedar

    I want to love it but the graphics are just too bad.

  • gmattergames

    On the question of whether the pixelation is genuine or a posterization filter .....

    It appears to be the kind of "interpolation" color mixing you tend to see when images are scaled in your popular image editors using the default bicubic scaling method. If so, using a bilinear method could have been a checkbox away from achieving the effect we like to see.

    Perhaps the dev watches these posts and will take note for his next project.

    Cool game, regardless

  • icepulse

    I have a question. Are the "outside" environments in this game also just a series of trapped-in corridors, or are there truly open areas on the map?

    Thanks in advance.

  • EZ Ice

    Where do i get the spell book?? I've already taken the boat to the west...can I get a spellbook there?

QuestLord Reviewed by Eric Ford on . Rating: 3.5