Indie

QuestRun Review – Run, flee, and Don’t Look Back

One thing about QuestRun is that it is very clear about what it is. Straight from Cuve Games’ description of the game, it asks “You like RPG’s but don’t care about dialogues and scenarios?” As advertised, this pre-alpha title is a roguelike of sorts currently going through the Steam Greenlight process, QuestRun is a tactical hack’n’slash where the player takes a trio of heroes through a series of random encounters over…and over… and over again.

Like the wonderful roguelikes of old QuestRun is extremely random, very difficult, and deals death far more often than victory. Unlike the wonderful roguelikes of old, QuestRun is not very wonderful.


The battle screen of QuestRun.

The battle screen of QuestRun.

QuestRun, which is apparently not yet a finished product but plays like a complete game, is a tactical RPG in which there is no story, no real questing, but just “dungeons.” These dungeons are nothing more than a series of fights with various groups of monsters in ever-escalating difficulty leading up to a final boss.

The system of the game is straightforward, and the in-game tutorial actually does a fairly good job of explaining the game’s mechanics. The player controls a group of three heroes of various classes. Each class has its own special ability and a special stance or mode that affects the entire party in some way. An inventory of up to four items is available to amass potions and equipment and distribute them amongst the party. Every control from rearranging the party’s order to equipping a new item is via drag-and-drop or a single click, creating a fluid interface.

The party faces off against monsters; sometimes one but usually two or three. Each hero is attacked by the monster directly in front of them and returns fire; attacks are governed by a wait bar identical to Final Fantasy’s mid-life battle system found in FFVI by way of example. Stats are simple; physical and magic attack, a matching defense stat, dodge, and speed of attack.

Before a mission the player is given a randomly generated party and the option to "re-roll" the group.

Before a mission the player is given a randomly generated party and the option to “re-roll” the group.

Thriving on randomness, QuestRun can be merciless. Party generation, monster groups, and item drops are completely random. After completing a “stage” and reaching a checkpoint, a random event occurs as well. Oftentimes, the player is forced to choose between the instant death of a hero or the loss of all their items. This forces the player to constantly reevaluate their monster-slaying strategies, and the game does a fair job of making things interesting with the heroes’ abilities. From forcing all attacks to land on the tank to charming enemies, certain weapons like guns even allow heroes without an enemy in front of them to attack another hero’s foe.

A mage unleashes his freeze attack, damaging all enemies.

A mage unleashes his freeze attack, damaging all enemies.

It cannot be stressed enough that this game has nothing other than its random battle system. The player has no incentive to engage in battle after battle after battle after battle other than the battles themselves, which quickly become monotonous. Additional classes of hero can be purchased in an in-game shop along with pets and various power-ups – all with in-game gold and crystals – but the variety just isn’t enough to inject the game with the life it needs.

What QuestRun truly needs is to abandon Steam and port immediately to the iOS and Android platforms. The game already functions entirely on a drag-drop-tap interface, and plays exactly the way a mobile game should without requiring a massive attention span from the player. While not truly deserving of the negative score it is getting, QuestRun can’t seem to jump out of the sea of mediocrity that is the PC gaming scene. In its monotony and mindless repetition could be an addicting romp, but there are expectations on what an indie action-y RPG should achieve, and QuestRun does not deliver on them.

Final Breakdown

[+Colorful World] [+Challenging] [-Monotonous gameplay] [-No objectives]

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