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Nimble Quest Review


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On 12/30/2013 at 12:00 PM by Travis Hawks

A collision of great concepts that just works.
RECOMMENDATION:

For all fans of casual and arcade games.

Why in the world I keep getting suckered into buying retro-styled arcade game mash-ups is beyond me, but Nimble Quest is just going to encourage me to do it more. Mixing together the basic idea of Snake or Tron’s Light Cycles, adding a combat element,  and layering on a leveling-up mechanic got me pretty hooked on this little game originally designed for mobile devices. Nimble Quest fares well in its transition from mobile to PC (unlike a lot of titles) and it’s well worth the low price to have something on your desktop for an occasional attempt at a new high score.

Even as someone who isn’t that interested in games like Snake, something about the retro RPG aesthetics of Nimble Quest got me to give it a chance. You lead a party around a series of walled-in levels much like in an RPG’s overworld map, with the head of the group being tailed by a continuous stream of companions. As you continue to defeat enemies in Nimble Quest, though, your party grows from a solitary starting member until it is potentially worming every which way across the screen.

Not only do you have to worry about your zig-zagging buddies running into each other, but you have to defeat enemies spawning all over the map as well. Running into a party member means their instant demise, whereas getting attacked by bad guys depletes an individual member’s health. Each warrior in your line can die from attacks or getting run over by his pals, and the line carries on without them. This just makes your line shorter, which makes it easier to avoid running into your party, but decreases your offensive capabilities.

Each party member has their own weapon/skill and will constantly unleash their attacks when you snake your group close to enemies. This means that a bigger party has more attacks spewing out of it (which is good), but also means it’s more likely you’ll accidentally run over each other (which is bad). The only choice you get to make in your party formation is who the leader will be. If you don’t like someone’s mode of attack, well you’ll probably get stuck with them at some point, but hopefully not until you’ve already got a long string of members that are fighting in ways you prefer.

You can upgrade each party member with gems you collect each time you play. So, for instance, the character Boomy that I hated at the beginning is now somewhat acceptable after a couple of upgrades to his weak musket. The gems are also used to make upgrades that get left around in the levels more effective or to make them last longer. Upgrades like magnets that slurp up the gems on the field, charms that increase your attack rate, and shields for your party leader can all be improved by cashing in a few gems between games. Being able to spend gems on improving party members and the power-ups just encourages you to keep trying the game over and over since it will make it progressively easier even if you’re not getting any better at it.

I’m guessing that the gems are available for purchase in the mobile realm, but here you can only earn them by playing, and it certainly doesn’t feel like a real grind. I just kept replaying to get better and advance farther through the levels, which is also encouraged since that’s how you unlock new and different party members.

In addition to the gems, you’ll also occasionally pick up giant coins in the levels. These can be traded in to continue after dying, or to compete in the Arena mode. If you decide to try jumping into the Arena, it’s basically a daily challenge scenario where everyone is given the same starting character and level/enemy combination to fight off. Your score is compared to the rest of the world, and contributes to your guild’s ranking too. The main benefit is that your performance in the Arena unlocks even more coins for you, which are great for buying more continues in the single player mode where you work to unlock more party members so you can get to a higher level where you’ll need more coins which will send you back to the Arena and on and on. It’s definitely got that addictive quality down, but the only cost to you is spending more time playing a fun game.

Even with a solitary demerit--it can't be played in full-screen mode--I’m continuously amazed at how much I’m enjoying such a simple game that most everyone will also dig. Nimble Quest’s cute art, well-tuned mechanics, risk/reward balancing, and mind-grabbing addictive qualities make this something arcade and casual game fans should definitely spend five bucks on. 

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:


All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.


These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.


This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.


Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.


Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.


A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.


 

Comments

Aboboisdaman

01/01/2014 at 02:34 PM

I saw this game on Steam and was wondering about it. I never liked Snake that much, but it looks like a lot of fun. Steam really has been killing me lately lol. Damn all those retro titles and ultra ridiculous sales! Damn them!!! Yell

Travis Hawks Senior Editor

01/01/2014 at 11:14 PM

You should put it on your wishlist for the Summer Sale!

Homelessrook

01/02/2014 at 09:34 PM

I just pushed this to my Ouya.

Travis Hawks Senior Editor

01/02/2014 at 09:40 PM

Oh, I bet it will work well there. I used a keyboard on the PC even though it had "limited controller" compatability.

Let me know how it goes on the Ouya. 

Homelessrook

01/02/2014 at 09:47 PM

I will. I am trying to post each game I try on the system.

asrealasitgets

01/05/2014 at 02:33 AM

I played this game on iPad when it launched and it was awesome. It is still awesome. I liked unlocking all the chars. I wrote a blog on here a while ago. Good taste in games bro! Cool

http://replaymode.wordpress.com/2013/04/27/nimble-quest-ios/

Travis Hawks Senior Editor

01/05/2014 at 04:36 PM

Good blog over yonder. I'm only responding here lest I forget to ever go back there and see if you replied to my reply.

I bet the swiping works alright for this game, but man, do I prefer buttons in a big way. 

asrealasitgets

01/05/2014 at 08:14 PM

I haven't tried it out with regular controls, but I bet it is more precise than swiping. Fun game though.

KnightDriver

01/05/2014 at 03:10 AM

Neato! Will check it out.

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