Pocket Frogs [Free], Tiny Tower [Free], Pocket Planes [Free]… Nimblebit’s gotten pretty good at keeping us enraptured on our devices with cute graphics and pixelated timers. With Nimble Quest [Free], the team takes a turn towards improving upon and deepening a classic arcade experience. Less of a time-management title and more of an action-oriented experience Nimble Quest is an excellent title that continues the trend of high quality games coming out of Nimblebit.

The best way to describe Nimble Quest is like a game of Snake, except way better (to paraphrase the title of our TA Plays). Similar to what Call of Snakes [$0.99] did last year, Nimble Quest takes the simplicity of Snake's mechanics and adds layers of variety to turn it into something more. The game centers around guiding a group of heroes around a bordered plane with simple swiping controls turning your heroes left or right. Movement and attacks are both on auto-pilot and the goal is to dispatch enemies that randomly appear in the environment. Take out a certain number of baddies, and you move on to the next level.

Players initially choose one hero and 'recruit' others while playing, with each new hero following the others in a line. As more heroes are recruited, the gameplay shifts from simply taking out enemies to also planning ahead to direct the movements of your heroic conga line. Each hero in your line auto-attacks when in range, boosting your party’s damage with more characters you have in your party. Heroes are defeated if an enemy comes into contact with them and the game ends if your lead hero is dispatched. Initially, players have a limited number of heroes to play with but more are unlocked the further you progress.

I’m a huge fan of Nimble Quest’s gameplay and I think Nimblebit has done an excellent job balancing the game between free-to-play mechanics and just good ol’ fun. The game’s dual-currency system offers enough rewards during normal play while the premium currency is used solely for temporary power-ups and guild battle entries. Sure, the system rewards folks that shell out for premium currency with a greater chance of getting further in a run, but it’s not guaranteed and nowhere near as blatant as other ‘pay-to-win’ schemes that I’ve seen.

While the crux of Nimble Quest is simple, its diverse cast of characters, RPG-esque leveling system, and social guild elements provide the game with depth and replayability. Heroes in Nimble Quest are more than just simple changes in sprite artwork: each has its own different stats which include armor, attack damage and attack speeds. Even the methods of attack vary, with heroes divided generally into ranged and close-quarter styles with each having nuanced styles within their discipline (such as long-ranged vs AoE or wide-arced vs straight charging attacks). All this leads to a lot of choice for players in finding the characters that suit their play style the best.

The game’s leveling system, meanwhile, encourages players to go beyond character preferences and give each hero a try. Taking out enemies rewards experience for your lead character which is tracked across all runs and counts toward permanent level-ups (and corresponding stat increases). Just as each hero has different stats, the level bonuses are also unique. Most importantly, stat bonuses apply regardless if the hero is your lead, encouraging you to upgrade all characters as each level-up is a boon to your overall party strength.

Nimble Quest’s guild system is reminiscent of the system put in place for Pocket Planes but has been fleshed out with more interactivity and meaning. Every couple of days, the game doles out a guild challenge which pits you against a specific group of enemies (and sometimes even specifies for the character you use as well). Just as with normal runs, the goal is to build your party and take out as many enemies before dying but this time you’re playing for more than just experience or high score prowess.

Each kill counts towards your guild’s kill tracker, which is used to determine overall guild position. Meanwhile, your personal score is used to determine your ranking within the guild which is important since guild challenge rewards are based not only on guild position but also your personal position within the guild. It’s an excellent system that I think does a great job encouraging guild play for multiple reasons while still maintaining a decent reward system.

When you take the sum of all the great things that Nimble Quest does, you end up with an excellent casual title that’s easily approachable while having just enough strategy elements to want to keep you coming back to beat your high score one more time. The quick-play aspect also makes it my go-to title when I have a few minutes to spare. The melding of social elements, long-term goals, and varied (and cute!) heroes just works. I can’t say I’m surprised as to the quality of Nimble Quest, but anyone that hasn’t checked out this gem really needs to download it now.

TouchArcade Rating

StarStarStarStarStar
  • Brian E

    5 stars? I love NimbleBit, and their games are amazing... but this one just seemed to lack the depth their other releases have contained. Granted, it was much more action-packed than what they've done in the past, but I found myself get bored of this one pretty quick. Fun re-imagining of an old game style though.

  • Boobi

    Love the game, even unlocked Bolas. Spend some money on red gems and stuff. Really a nice leisure game when waiting in a line. :). Arena for me is still buggy even the rewards but love it. I still want a pocket frog with duel swords for my lead character. Great job NimbleBit.

  • Josh Dombro

    Not only are NimbleBit's games fun, they exemplify non-shady ways to use IAPs in free games. I love this model - I can play this game totally for free and still have a great time.

    Nimble Quest is awesome, thanks for spreading the word, Jared.

  • Matthew Hall

    Brilliant game and a great review. I've been playing it since launch when I can. Almost unlocked my first 3* hero. Strategy is important and the more you play the better you get. The latest update added an awesome new hero and the magnet they give you at the end of the stage helps to make levelling more predictable.

    Probably my favourite mobile game ever.

  • http://twitter.com/JaredTA Jared Nelson

    Was actually Eric's review, I edited and posted but forgot to change the byline :)

    • Josh Dombro

      Fine then, thanks for the review Eric. Nice editing and posting Jared...?

  • toxiccheese

    This game is excellent. Love playing in short bursts.

  • Four Ones

    I have to admit, this game is quite nice for a quick short game. But I dont think it deserves 5 stars. Strong 4 would be enough. I think you have to verify and state what kind of games should achieve 5 or other amount of stars. For me 5 stars is a breath taking, innovative, addicitve game. It doesnt have to be pioneers... As long as 5 star game mixes, polishes, makes solid gameplay etc then it deserve this award. In example the very first Angry Birds, Cut the Rope, PvZ. Sorry for this off topic and applogize for any grammar errors. I am not an native English speaker.

  • grits

    I can't disagree that the game is well-made however it's very shallow and nothing but a pure grind. It could take hundreds of hours to unlock everything (Doing the same thing over and over again without any new objectives) or you could buy their handy $30 in app purchase. If they at least had missions Like Jetpack joyride etc. that would go along way. But, as it is, you're essentially replaying the same level hundreds of times over with no purpose.
    Anyway the game is free and I would recommend trying it out for yourself. I played this game for at least 10 hours or more and I would give it two and a half stars.

    • http://twitter.com/SquaredApe Robert Cummings

      So a game that kept you amused for 10 hours is worth 2.5 stars? Or another way of looking at it is: You're really happy to spend 10 hours on a 2.5 star rating game. Doesn't add up.

      • meatz666

        Agree. But without spending some money, you hit a wall by the Castle

      • http://twitter.com/SquaredApe Robert Cummings

        No such thing as a free lunch. Got to put in some work to buy lunch :)

      • http://rekzkarz.com/ REkzkaRZ

        I think people vote your comment down not b/c they disagree, just they don't like the fact that ya gotta pay for lunch!!! (Or in this case, you're paying $$$ for an iOS device & yes you may get a $1 game for free if you stalk it w/a good price stalker app - like AppShopper!!!)

      • grits

        It's an addicting game no doubt. I played with the hope that it would open up but it did not. After a while I felt like the game was playing me more than I was playing it. I left feeling like I had wasted my time.

      • http://rekzkarz.com/ REkzkaRZ

        Are you sure you're not playing Pixel People? I felt like that w/that so-called 'game'. This game is actually fun, tho.

      • grits

        Also it was a little bit of a investigation for me. I wanted to put in enough time so that I had the knowledge to comment thoughtfully on the game design. So, I did and this is what I came up with.

      • MidianGTX

        I've become somewhat addicted to games I wasn't really enjoying in the past.

      • grits

        Yep, it felt really good to delete my save. I knew I would never go back at that point.

    • nightc1

      Grits, you're post makes a lot of sense. I put at least the same amount of time thinking there would be something more to the game I mean at launch when a dev is quiet who knows whats next in a game until someone plays it and posts. There could have been a boss or something but it turned out to be a game about grinding for the sake of grinding. The downside of putting so much time in with a hollow game like this is that in the end I feel like I wasted my time and I need to avoid this dev in the future. Lesson learned. I do not need to download free to play games at launch and instead let others be the guinea pigs to see if it's even worth my time.

  • Zeldaniac

    Despite the fact that thisgame never really clicked with me, I reeeaaaallllyyyy love it's take on freemium.

    • Zeldaniac

      *its

      • Corky McButterpants

        *tits

  • grits

    Just to throw this out there in case no one has heard of it, if you like nimble quest, try out CallOfSnakes. You might be surprised.

    • nijikai

      "I don't like Nimblequest, buy this game I'm paid to advertise while trashing Nimblequest."

      Translated that for you.

      • MidianGTX

        Conspiracy theory? Minus a million internet points for you.

      • Neko

        He's not paid to advertise Call Of Snakes, just acknowledging the fact that NimbleQuest seems to be a clone of Call of Snakes (I'm saying this without *yet* playing NimbleQuest, just based on the media).

      • http://rekzkarz.com/ REkzkaRZ

        It's an iteration of Call of Snakes which improves some parts & doesn't improve others. I think COS deserves some credit/$ for this copy, but that's also like saying DOOM deserves $$$ for every FPS which came along after it started the genre.

      • Neko

        @REkzkaRZ, I agree 100% with you on this.

      • grits

        Nope, I just want the developer that deserves it to get the attention.

      • grits

        Put it this way, I played the game and these are my thoughts. That is all. NB is a skilled developer, but in my opinion, they don't put their skills to good use.

  • araczynski

    I want to like the game, but I despise swiping for movement, hence, the game sucks, to me.

    • http://rekzkarz.com/ REkzkaRZ

      You despise swiping on iPhone?
      Well, ok. It's only 4-directional movement.

      Swiping makes the most sense...
      Works far better than hitting virtual joystick/directional buttons.

  • Sabaki

    I agree 100% with this review.

    Throwback to my days playing games like Yie Ar Kung Fu, Pacman etc where one repeats the stages with increased difficulty.

    Grinding is part and parcel of arcade type games and I encourage those who have issues with it to embrace it! Remember too that every time you start a game, it's never the same pattern, so it's like a like screen every time.

    • grits

      In Pac-Man it was skill that determine how far you got, not how many hours you grinder away or how much money you spent. That is the fundamental difference between good and bad game design.

      • http://rekzkarz.com/ REkzkaRZ

        Eh? Bad-ass Pac-Man players were def grinding the game... Some even memorized moves for each map.
        (Man, that makes me sound old...)

  • http://www.facebook.com/nadav.barkama Nadav Bar Kama

    i keep on playing this game, without totally understanding how it works! i don't really get the system of the gem feeding, or the points ... but that dose`nt matter, its just pure fun ... and Gizmo kicks ass! yes its simple and repetitive, and thats just great in a casual game. nice stuff.

  • Gabriel.Voyager

    Wow... Best mobile game... Ever!
    For any platform?

    • nightc1

      Seems like as an iOS game dev he'd like his own games... but nope.

  • http://www.facebook.com/eric.farraro Eric Farraro

    I like this game alright, but I wish there was something a tad more enticing. I've played my share of grindy games, but this one is definitely up there. Maybe I didn't play enough, but the gem curve is pretty step on leveling up characters.

    I'd love to see the game add some variety:

    - Equippable items/loot, so you have some else to grind for/look forward to?
    - Bosses?
    - Randomization (eg: different paths/strategies needed each run)?
    - Quests?

    I sunk several hours into it, so I definitely enjoyed it; I just kept hoping something new would happen. Worth the couple bucks I spent on IAP; just doesn't have any staying power for me. I do enjoy the non-intrusive IAP for sure.

  • http://profiles.google.com/fleshman1992 Laszlo Tuss

    - Don't have achievements
    - Don't have iCloud

    - Don't have time to reply for tweets
    - Have arrogant developers

    nice

  • http://rekzkarz.com/ REkzkaRZ

    Guild play? How'd you get that? I've never seen it...?

    • vicsark

      Yeah go to Arena, you need to be connected to your Game Center.
      Type a guild name, there are at least 2 TouchArcade guilds, the most competitive is #TouchArcade (#1 guild most of the time), #TouchArcade1 finishes in the top10, and #TouchArcade2 finishes #10/#20 usually.
      The token Rewards for completing an arena event every 48 hours depend on your own score and rank in each guild, as well as the guild's rank. For now, it's mostly the top 30 players of each guild that get the best rewards, so try to be in the top30 of a guild, it's better rewarded than being 100th in the #1 guild ;)

      • http://rekzkarz.com/ REkzkaRZ

        Gracias for that, Vicsark! :)

      • vicsark

        u're welcome mate ;)

      • http://rekzkarz.com/ REkzkaRZ

        News -- I won 10 tokens for making my own uniquely named Guild and performing horribly!! The app said, "Congrats, you came in #1 in your guild" and gave me 10 tokens?!?!
        Guess I'm not that competitive & was happy to have the tokens. HA

  • captainChocolade

    Love this snake game when I turn it off and never return.

  • thefub

    This review is a good example of why it is hard to find good games for my iPad. People seem to enjoy games that offer no depth and allow developers to continue to churn out bubblegum games. Chew 'em up spit 'em done.

    • DranDran

      While I disagree that good games are hard to find, Ill agree in that the main bulk of IAP games and score-athons and endless runners garner the most attention. And it certainly doesnt help when they get so much undeserved hype. I mean, come on.. 5 stars for a very grindy SNAKE GAME?

  • nightc1

    I played the game pretty extensively, there's no way I could have a good conscience and give this 5/5... it's at best a 2/5, though I'd rate it closer to 1. Why? When you get past the pretty pixel graphics and examine the gameplay and the guilds there's really nothing at all to do here but grind for the sake of grinding.

    Each level is 15 more enemies than the last with the few areas that repeat over and over until there are so many enemies on the screen that you have no chance of survival. Enemies will make kamikaze runs to kill you so it's not enough to steer your snake away from the enemies.

    The Guild design is flawed. If you aren't in the top 30 of even in the #1 ranked guild, you get only 3 coins. Meanwhile to compete in the guild you need to spend 1 coin to enter it and if you want to do well then you need at least 3 of the 4 buffs... so 4 coins total to enter and you may only get 3 even when placing in the top guild. So the whole idea of being in a guild is reduced to nothing since the only way to do well is to jump guilds when one gets too flooded with players that have either paid to be better than you or have just played the game a lot more.

    Back to the core game, there is no end goal, no score tracking, no achievements. There's just a chart for kills and you can pay in coins to skip levels (all but the last two of your longest run) which just gives you all the kills for that level. So ultimately one could buy their way to the top of the limited leaderboards if they wanted to. Still, there's no goal in this game other than grinding to level up. If you don't pay, expect to grind for 160 hours or so to upgrade these guys to level 3 with about 140 of those hours just going from level 2 to 3. Oh yeah that's where they want their $5 for a red gem drop (not a gem doubler, this game doesn't have one). Still, there's nothing to do other than grind so if you pay then you've just shot yourself in the foot for having anything to do in this game. There are no quests or missions. It's just an endless grind.

    Pac-Man at least had a high score chart and tracked a score. This doesn't and isn't like a classic arcade game. It's not even like classic Snake where the line resets each level and there may be walls to avoid. It instead takes Call of Snakes and dumbs the formula down to near nothing. No online multiplayer like CoS. No Quest mode like CoS. No Highscore leaderboard like CoS. Excessive grinding instead of getting the characters fully powered at the start like CoS. It's really kind of sad this is all NQ has for content. Sure it's pretty and it plays well, but there's nothing to do but grind. The game design is broken. I'm not sure this is as much a game as just a toy.

    It's sad that an empty shell of a game like this can earn top scores. Sure the scores are meaningless, but it devalues the site for review quality as a whole to see this amount of hype.

    • http://twitter.com/Blabberf Blabber Flappystein

      I agree entirely. I was a bit skeptical about this game from the very first TouchArcade preview, and the over-the-top excitement of TouchArcade writers put me off as well. Upon playing the actual game, I was disappointed in Nimblebit and TouchArcade. I am very much a fan of Nimblebit, and I know that TouchArcade writers are as well, but this does not excuse such a disproportionate amount of hype coming from this website.

      • http://rekzkarz.com/ REkzkaRZ

        I love your name. Just reading it cracked me up. I didn't even notice what you wrote, just want to type "blabber flappystein". HA HA HA
        OK, I did read what you wrote and I agree, Blabber.
        HA HA HA

    • grits

      You can take this is a much more informative review. Maybe the reviewer did not put in the time to really see the flaws. To his defense, the game is designed that way. I believe it was specifically designed to get good reviews. The negative qualities only come out after a certain amount of playtime. You don't see the egregious pay wall, And repetitive boring gameplay until later in the game.

    • http://www.facebook.com/eric.farraro Eric Farraro

      Completely agree. It was fun for the couple hours I put in / couple bucks of IAP, but the grinding is a little overkill.

  • Evolution888

    Im almost at my first 3 star as well

  • DranDran

    Im starting to get a little wary on TA's penchant for overrating retro styled games. Dont get me wrong, I love the style too, but lately in the case of Pixel People, Slayin' and now NimbleQuest, 5 stars really is too much for games that are ultimately very shallow.

    Five stars should be handed out rarely, sparingly, but this is rarely the case. I find myself trusting the community rating more than following the hype that sometimes seems to cloud the reviews on here. I love the TA community, the site. The app, but damn, I sometimes wish your reviews were a lot harsher and critical.

    • http://rekzkarz.com/ REkzkaRZ

      Agreed. I think this is a great game, but see it as a 4 star game. 5 stars should be an astounding, genre-busting, 'whoa this is amazing' type of thing.
      Maybe this one should get 4.5 stars?
      But Pixel People should get no more than 2 stars. Very biased against that one after trying it for awhile.

      • vicsark

        I really enjoy Pixel Ppl, as many others in TA. They added a lot of content/new mechanics since launch and the dev are listening to players. Obviously it's not a hardcore game, nor a deep strategy sim. But in its form, it's pretty successful in achieving fun for players. I play a lot of different game types, from shallow to hardcore depending on my mood/free time...Sometimes, you just want a button pusher and Pxl Ppl is a good one imho ;)

  • vicsark

    Rant: When I see some comments for NQ, I wish some ppl here would stop judging games based on what they WISH the game should be instead of what it is.
    There are plenty of choices in the appstore, if sthg doesn't suit you, no pb, go play sthg else.
    But it's not fair saying a good game s.cks just because you wish it was sthg else! ;)

    • fleshman

      They forgot to use FREE and BASIC services and they release a half done game. It's that simple

  • extol4000

    Good for Nimble Bit for making the game .99. The game is worth it!

  • jessk

    Don't understand the rating... Frankly an average game with so-so entertainment value

  • LOLCAT

    Agreed. It was enjoyable while it lasted, but definitely not 5-star quality.

Nimble Quest Reviewed by Eric Ford on . Rating: 5