warhammer_logoI don't have any history with Warhammer Quest. I didn't catch it in 1995 when it started hitting shelves. Heck, I didn't even know it existed until Rodeo Games announced that it was bringing the game to iPad. Usually, this kind of obliviousness is a Big Problem when it comes to playing board game ports. Studios tend to double-down on what made the board game great instead of focusing on making a good video game, leaving players with a super sluggish, systems-heavy title that kinda just makes you want to play the physical version instead of even bothering with the digital port. Credit goes to Rodeo for not doing this with Quest. It's a video game first, and to a guy as clueless about the board game as I am, it basically just feels like a modern strategy RPG. That's kinda wild.

Set in a universe bursting with crypts, wizards, orcs, spiders, and at least one magical lute, Quest revolves around an old-school premise: earn fame and fortune by plumbing the depths of the nastiest, monster-filled places in a cold, unforgiving fantasy land. You're given control of a couple of axe-wielding bruisers, as well as an archer and mage at the start.

004_FireChasm

005_Spiders 006_Gobbos

In practice, this setup is really not much more than a convenient excuse to keep sending you sending you from dungeon-to-dungeon. Oddly, this isn't a problem: the core play loop is ridiculously rewarding, which is to say that combat is fun and the loot-grind aspect is consistently satisfying.

To rewind a sec, combat and movement are all grid-based. Dungeons, for the most part, consist of a series of super small rooms, all of which are shrouded in a fog of war. Movement takes place in real-time, which allows you to order your group efficiently across barren swathes of dungeons. Combat, on the other hand, is turn-based. The game automagically switches to turn-based when you bust into a room with enemies. A turn ends when every character uses up their allotment of actions. For the most part, you get one big movement and an attack and then it's the AI's turn.

There are a couple of wrinkles. Your bruisers can attack multiple times on a turn, if there are enemies immediately by them. The archer can attack once at range and once more if there's anything near her. There are also a ton of potions and tonics in the game. Some buff your characters, others restore health or add ability points temporarily.

001_BatsI love the fog of war component, by the way. It adds suspense, an unpredictability, to an otherwise mundane task in most dungeon-based games. You never know what's behind the next door until you literally open it. Bolstering this is the scenario design, which consistently floods rooms with a just barely manageable amount of bad guys. Every time I open a door, I kinda expect a voice to say "Oh, you'll fight alright," as the new room fills with Snotlings, spiders, orcs, and the like.

Further backing this up, there's a random ambush component. The more time you spend in a dungeon, the more likely it is that a group of enemies are going to descend upon you out of nowhere. This keeps you moving into the fog, plugging away into the unknown.

After fights end, randomized loot is dished out. You can equip what you want or run back to town and sell everything off. Towns also offer heroes that can be recruited, as well as blessings, which may or may not pay off. Apparently, Rodeo will support Quest with DLC characters, which you'll be able to grab here for real dough.

Another thing: as you clear dungeons and visit more and more towns, side quests become available. Some of these, at least, offer branching paths. For example, early in the game you're charged with retrieving a magical lute for a stranger in town. After you grab it, you get a choice to give it back to him or not. If you give it to him, he stuns you with the lute and takes some of your gold. If you don't give it to him, he ends up revealing himself as some sort of great thief, kidnaps a baron's daughter, and takes her to a dungeon. You get a reward for saving her if you take up this extra quest.

I should note that this entire experience feels perfect on a FingerPad device. The UI is thoughtful and taps feel responsive. Quest will also support iCloud saves, but we'll see how that goes.

I get the impression, just from the stability and polish of the build I've been playing, that Quest isn't very far out all. Rodeo and Games Workshop aren't talking about release dates quite yet, but we'll see it in the next month or so.

Anyway, I've been loving what I've been playing, even if I can't speak to how it's different from the original version. If you like RPGs, though, you NEED to put this on your Watch List in our app [Free]. You don't want to miss this.

  • ConraDargo

    Ohmigosh, first Lone Wolf, now Warhammer Quest - true childhood memories of epic proportions and you guys had no clue what they were up until now! Taste my bitch-slap ala Batman slaps Robin (Google it if you don't know that one either) :P

    Thanks for the detailed preview, Brad!

  • http://tarasis.net/ Robert McGovern

    Looks sweet, hopefully if your getting a hands on release won't be too far away.

  • oldgamer dude

    So is this for iPad only ? Gosh I hope not .

  • ste86uk

    I love Warhammer and I've thought for many years there should be a Warhammer game on iOS and can't believe it's taken so long! Although iPad only it a let down I hate that.

  • grits

    Helllllllls yes

  • Aventador

    Think I will enjoy Space Hulk much more than this

    • finbikkifin

      They're both among the best games Games Workshop ever produced, but this one beats Space Hulk for me.

      Now if only they'd make an iOS game out of Gorkamorka...

      • Maniacfive

        Necromumda seems like it would be a great port worthy table game experience.

      • finbikkifin

        The problem with porting Necromunda would seem to be the importance of 3D structures and vertical movement, which is almost fine in a first-person game or something where you can move the camera freely. Gorkamorka has buildings, yes, but it's more about cramming all da boyz onna trukk and screaming across the desert at each other, weaving wildly around dunes and piles of scrap and shooting up/ramming/literally using a boarding plank to attack dem uvva gitz.

        It also has the glorious transport capacity rule, whereby a trukk can carry as many orks as can physically fit, and if they fall off while you move it, they actually fall off and may take damage... which might lead to taking them to the dok to fix up their arm wound, only he's feeling /experimental/ and replaces their legs with tank treads and their brain with a squiq.

  • Boobi

    Hmmm something new for the watch list. Any idea if dungeons are randomized.

    • finbikkifin

      If it's anything like the original, they will be - they're randomised out of a set of tiles consisting of 4x4 rooms, straight corridors, corners, t-junctions and double-size objective rooms like the one with a bridge across lava. Scenarios and secret doors may mess around with this though.

      It's nice looking at a screenshot and recognising rooms from that summer I spent playing Warhammer Quest damn-near daily. Sure, they're functionally identical most of the time, but each room had its own distinctive look.

  • Evolution888

    Both Hunters 1&2 are top s-rpgs on iOS so something thats good coming out of Rodeo isn't surprising but this needs to be Universal and out on iPhone/iTouch as well.

  • Tired

    What devices will this play on catagorically? There's literally no concrete info that I can find this close to release. Pocketgamer says it's iPhone and iPad, you seem to be suggesting it's iPad only. Finding out whether something will play on iPad or iPhone, as well as what generation of those devices it will play on is part of the job of a games journalist no? Even if it's just what the devs hope to be able to release on.

  • amos38

    Ahh, Warhammer Quest, one of favorite board games. Can't wait for the release!

  • vogelmann

    Don't worry - it will be universal!

    • jakemat94

      I hope so, it's a bummer when awesome games won't fit on the iPhone screen.

  • Eddy

    looks sweet, really dig the board game feel, hope iphone is included, ipad only is a waste of opportunity

  • Allen Arcelo

    Crossing my fingers and holding my breath for an iPhone release. Come on dev's your killing me!

    • http://twitter.com/laurent_maguire Laurent Maguire

      Hi, I'm from Rodeo Games the devs of Warhammer Quest and I can confirm the game is universal. iPad and iPhone supported at release.

      Thanks :)

      • lockecole7

        Ottosttotbd
        Waddyuses

      • Abel

        Hi Laurent, is the game only for iOS 6 and above?
        Can it be played on iOS 5?

  • ianlogsdon

    Anything games workshop is an auto-buy for me. I needs me some space marines on my iPad.

  • Nick

    I just +10'd..

  • gmattergames

    I knew this was coming, but wasn't aware the industry vets at Rodeo were covering development; based on their excellent Hunter games, this should be top notch. I'm sure some may disagree, but IMHO, no one has put out a better tactical RPG on iOS than Rodeo. Now I'm stoked!

  • http://www.facebook.com/pre.abrantes Ivan Filipe Stefani

    I love Rodeo's Hunter series, but checking the pictures, IMO, this looks like Hunter with a different skin. Come on, can't they tilt the perspective a little bit? You cant get attached by the head of your army. Hunter, ok, but up this engine already.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Graychild Jared Studelska

    I just wish they'd release a new edition of the actual board game. 15 years, and my pieces are starting to fall apart.