GAME NAME: Elliot Quest
DEVELOPER(S): Ansimuz Games
PUBLISHER(S): PlayEveryWhere Games
PLATFORM(S): Nintendo Wii U
RELEASE DATE(S): March 19th, 2015
A few months ago Nintendo showed off an indie title on one of the companies advertising machines they call a Nintendo Direct named Elliot Quest. The game immediately caught my attention and piqued my interest as it had many similarities to Nintendo’s own The Legend of Zelda II: Link’s Adventure, including the side scrolling levels and the RPG-like overworld map. Even the towns had glaring parallels to the second game in the Big N’s storied franchise. After getting some time in with Elliot Quest those first impressions are well warranted, but there are also other similarities to Nintendo games such as Kid Icarus and Metroid. Does Ansimuz Games and PlayEveryWhere Games’ love letter to the Adventure/RPG 8-bit genre make it’s mark on the indie scene or does it fall flat?
Elliot Quest starts you off on an island named Urele where you play as a character named (yeah, I’m sure you already figured this one out) Elliot who has just learned that he has a curse where he can’t die. This doesn’t really sound like a curse to me, does it? Well, there are some side effects to having everlasting life. First, Elliot only has a limited time to find a cure before he becomes a Satar. With the name so close to Satan, I’m guessing that’s what these demons are aiming for. Second, the nightmares of losing his loved one, Cara, haunt him through the game and also reveal more of the story as you progress. The last reason is that well you actually can die, you are just resurrected at the last save grave you have touched, so basically not dying is just a clever way for you not actually dying when you run out of hearts. Be warned though, deaths result in some experience point loss.
The gameplay may look the part of Zelda II, but in all actuality is plays so much more in line with Kid Icarus. You have a bow and will be platforming in a metroidvania type fashion. You can nab power-ups such as bombs, angel wings, a tornado ability, a lamp and many, many more that will help you advance further in dungeons along with helping you defeat enemies and bosses. Elliot Quest’s controls feel spot on and excellent. All of the killing and slaughtering of enemies doesn’t go left unnoticed though. As you earn experience points and level up you will be able to upgrade certain skills such as critical hits, fire rate and shot distance. The title features off screen play, but if you use the dual screen option you will be treated with a Zelda-inspired set up with your dungeon maps, items and other valuable info right at the tips of your fingers with no pausing required.
Let me throw this disclaimer out there for anyone who is on the fence regarding this title: Elliot Quest will in no way whatsoever hold your hand. Right from the beginning of the game you will have to explore everything in order to find your way through the story. Be ready to sink in hours and hours of backtracking in Elliot Quest. For example, having no bombs left and enemies don’t drop them, or there are literally ten different areas you can go and all but one require you to have the wings to make a higher jump, not to mention sometimes you will get halfway through a level just to find out that you need to backtrack out because you don’t have a particular item. Those are my main gripes, but if you can look past these flaws you will find a tough as nails and fun game.
The overworld map is very reminiscent of the old school RPG’s in the 8-bit era. You can walk around and enter different locations that are marked by an exclamation mark. You can also enter battles with enemies that you see walking about. Entering an enemy area will allow you to destroy enemies for experience points and usually find a chest to loot in the process. The locations on the map are plentiful and will have you exploring for a long while.
Graphically, Elliot Quest has a beautiful 8-bit retro style but of course with a nice cleaned up HD polish. The art style really works for this genre as the game is a complete throw back to the days of the NES. The character design on the enemies has a really unique and creative approach as well. The music also hits home with the same era and doesn’t disappoint. It isn’t anything as groundbreaking or memorable as The Legend of Zelda music, but it does the job.
If you are a fan of being able to just explore on your own free will and discover where to go next without any hand holding, then this is a game for you. While it may be frustrating at times when you are hopelessly searching for where to go next (this was really a bother to me), Elliot Quest is actually a whole lot of fun and plays very well. While not a game for everyone, I can see this title having a love-hate relationship with the ones that do get it.