It’s next to impossible to write about A Knight’s Quest without mentioning Legend of Zelda. The game is about as much of a knock-off as you can be without getting slapped with a lawsuit.
And that’s basically what I figured the point of this game was after playing it for the first couple hours: release a generic Legend of Zelda on PS4 and Xbox One since those platforms will never see an official Zelda release.
My initial impressions were wrong, though. There’s more to A Knight’s Quest than just being a copycat. It’s actually a game with a lot of heart.
You play as Rusty, a clumsy but kind-hearted hero who starts the game in a cavern where he disturbs an ancient crystal with a demon trapped inside. This sets in motion a series of events that have the potential for global calamity.
When he returns to town from his misadventure, the townsfolk are understandably upset. The mysterious crystal has appeared in the sky, and the town’s mayor tries to allay their concerns. He tasks Rusty with finding the guardians, who he believes are capable of handling the situation.
This is where your journey begins with just a trusty sword and shield. You head off to far-away areas to find the guardians and prepare for a confrontation with the demon trapped in the crystal. Along the way, you kill plenty of enemies – including skeletons and slime – collect various potions and fruit to maintain your health, and destroy plenty of pots and crates.
Like a Zelda game, you’ll also run into various NPCs throughout the game. These characters often have cheesy one-liners and quests for you to complete in exchange for some kind of a reward. Some of them can be fairly charming and even funny; others are annoying.
The town basically acts as a central hub that branches off to the various other areas of the game. You’ll follow branching paths until you reach larger areas that are often themed. For instance, Zameris is a sun-baked desert with an outdoor bazaar full of vendors and scorpions roaming the sands. Peaky Peaks is a mountainous and icy region.
Eventually, you gain new abilities that help you reach new areas, which oftentimes have events like races waiting for you. Early on, you gain the ability to start a small whirlwind, which can stun enemies and push levers from a distance. The fire ability allows you to run across both water and fire to reach sections that were previously off-limits.
You eventually collect new weapons, too. One of them allows Rusty to sheath his sword and rapidly punch enemies. The ice hammer is more unwieldy, but it’s a powerful weapon. Later in the game, you’ll need to switch to the weapon with the right element to defeat elemental enemies.
Most of the areas of the game are capped off with a boss fight. The bosses all look similar, but they each have different abilities, attacks, and weaknesses. Unfortunately, the controls will trip you up more than the AI.
Many will knock A Knight’s Quest as a wanna-be Zelda. To an extent, it’s a legitimate criticism. The game does not venture far from standard action-adventure tropes. Where it does differ is in its satirical writing style; it seems to be poking fun of Legend of Zelda as much as mimicking it.
That’s not to say that the game ridicules Zelda. The developers clearly admire Nintendo’s franchise while making light of some of its sillier aspects. Also, it’s clear that they’re trying to channel a Zelda that is long since gone. This game is more Ocarina of Time than it is Breath of the Wild.
That is both a good and a bad thing. It’s good for fans of N64 action-adventure games and platformers with a heavy emphasis on open areas, collecting items, text-based character interaction, and backtracking. The bad is that those things can be annoying, especially in heavy doses.
Okay, so I have four relatively big gripes with A Knight’s Quest. The first is that the controls are fairly unresponsive. This leads to unnecessary deaths, which is frustrating in any game. It controls like an N64 game. That’s not a welcome throwback.
The second is that the navigation system is extremely poor. The overworld map just tells you how the various areas in the world are laid out relative to each other without breaking each area down in detail. Think of it as a theme park map versus the highly-detailed (and useful) Google Maps. This leaves you guessing where to go quite a bit.
To make matters worse, you only gain the ability to fast travel between the game’s different areas later in the game. Once you do gain the ability to fast travel, you have to go back to each portal and unlock them, even though you’ve already run past them several times before. Seriously, WTF?
My third complaint is that the game has a fair share of glitches. At the beginning of the game, I ran into this death loop glitch that was only resolved from loading my last save. Again, I think this is a sign that the game rushed to market too fast.
The final complaint that I have is that the game drags on and is artificially long. I feel like the developers either ran out of time or ideas and decided to include filler instead of more areas to explore and enemies to fight. Let me give you an example to drive home the point.
At one point, the game has you return to your friend’s house. This means that you have to trek all the way back to town from the hinterland. Once you’re back, your friend instructs you to go to sleep since you’ve had a long day. After you wake up, she’s not there. You’ll find her at the palace, but guards have blocked the entrance.
In order to appease the guards, you have to look for the captain of the guards to get permission to enter the city. He gives you permission without any hassle, so you enter the city to meet your friend. At that point, you’re ready to continue with your mission but only after wasting roughly 30 minutes running around when the story could have been advanced with a simple two-minute cutscene.
These poor game design choices make A Knight’s Quest more of a chore than it needs to be. If it weren’t for the filler and the poor controls, this would be a good game. As it is, though, it’s a fun albeit often frustrating experience.
The budget price saves A Knight’s Quest for me. If it were a full-priced game, I couldn’t recommend it. As a budget-priced game, though, it’s a pretty decent Zelda-inspired action-adventure game. Just be warned: it will likely frustrate you at times, and it does drag on.