Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Spud’s Quest Review (PC)


It’s been a long time since we’ve seen Dizzy and other puzzle/platform heroes making their way onto consoles and computers. A brief return for the genre came with an iOS version of Dizzy: Prince of the Yolk Folk, but by and large everything has remained quiet. Spud’s Quest clearly wants to change that and provides gamers with another chance to manage their inventory, jump around and drop items to solve puzzles.

Anyone familiar with the Dizzy or Seymour games will be right at home here. In the traditional way your character has to pick up items and take them to the place they need to be used. You can carry five items at once but you’ll still end up using a number of the games areas to dump things in. It’s all very Dizzy like and there are number of familiar areas and moments that fans of the Dizzy games will recognise and remember.

As well as the traditional item puzzles there are a few new tricks added to try and carve out an identity for Spud as its own entity.  To start with there’s a switching mechanic which allows players to change to controlling a frog (a prince with a curse of course). The frog can then be used to access smaller areas and solve puzzles. Our hero can also attack enemies by throwing stones. This adds a bit more for players to do as they can kill monsters instead of just avoiding them. Leaving a screen causes monsters to re-spawn though so it can become repetitive.

There is also a night and day cycle at work which adds some variety to the colour palette as well as causing various shops and houses to open and close and characters to move around. The graphical style is clear and colourful and highly reminiscent of Dizzy’s Amiga and other 16-bit adventures. However, In a way this is one of the game’s biggest problems.

Much like Retro City Rampage, it’s nice to see all the references but if you know the source material your thoughts start to drift off to those games. As well put together as Spud’s Quest is and as much care, attention and genuine warmth towards the source material has been put into it, it’s just not quite got that magical something that the best Dizzy games have. 

The game also carries the problems associated with the genre, such as obscure puzzles and constant back tracking. Not a problem as such, as you know what you are getting into but new players may well lose interest after tracking back and forth through the same screens. The bigger inventory negates some of this but you still don’t really know what items you’ll need until you get to a destination. 

Any issues though are fairly minor. This is an enjoyable adventure of the like we haven’t seen for a while. It’s an admirable attempt to try and get this style of game back into people’s thoughts and the game clearly has a lot of love for the games it is reminiscent of. If you’ve been waiting for something new in the Dizzy style then it’s well worth checking out. It’s a promising sign for the future and we hope the team build upon this to create a genuine classic in the future.

Overall 7/10

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