How To Break A Puzzle Game – King’s Quest (part 2)

king-s-quest-knight-to-remember-v15-26643Now that we’ve established that part one did well to create and establish a good world and interesting story, therefore setting the audience’s expectations high. Let’s look at the next chapter “Rubble Without A Cause” and what it did well and what went horribly bad, starting with what was good. I will spoil the premise of the chapter but not really a whole lot more than I did in the last post.

The idea of this chapter was to save the town from goblins.  Graham had been captured along with the town and needed to break out of the goblin lair. Through this, he must collect different things for different people to solve their puzzle and break them out. I do like this concept but I feel like it was executed wrong (I will talk about this after I’m done with the good stuff).

Another cool thing was the good feeling of progression and saving someone. You needed to do this by outsmarting and outmanoeuvring the goblins (not very hard) and figuring out some obscure puzzle to set them free.

Now that that is over let’s talk about why this game was disappointing and what it set up for the next chapters which was bad.

Remember that open world feeling of the last game? Well that’s gone. You start in the castle after winning the crown to answer a bunch of guard’s questions; they eventually make it opposite day and kick him out. This is when you realise the tiny scale of the world. The castle is bear and empty, nothings there.      It doesn’t feel nearly as expansive as the world from the last chapter. This problem also continues later when nobody’s in town due to the fact that they’ve been kidnapped without you realising.

Would it not have been better to watch the entire town get kidnapped? I’d of thought it would be cooler as you’d have a better motive to save everyone.  After this you had to learn that everyone was kidnapped, a much worse reveal. This is where it starts to get tedious.

Not only do you have to save the citizens from the goblins, you have to also save them before they die. That’s right people can die in this game. Each character has five hearts and once they drop to zero they die. Not a big deal I hear you think, well it’s not that simple. When the day ends everyone’s stats drop so the idea is to do everything before the day changes. The problem is that the day changing is annoying.

You can spend an hour to two hours trying to do everything but fail. There’s so many dead ends in this part it’s unbelievable. This kind of occurs in the first chapter but it didn’t matter as much due to the fact that nobody was in danger. It’s infuriating that you can’t do everything on day one and that you’re not told whether you can do something on that day.

Part of this was caused by not telling you how to use your meat (please don’t take this out of context) as the meat increases your strength but you don’t know to eat it. Instead your told to feed it too a mad otter and not gain strength. This causes a huge amount of dead ends which I fell into just because I didn’t know one thing – if you eat the meat you’re strong enough to lift things opening the way to many things.  If you do not eat the meat you cannot beat the game and pretty much everyone will die, which sucks. I had to reset just to stand a fighting chance.

It seems like you need to know exactly what to do to succeed in this chapter. You have no idea when to end the days so you can easily miss some things out. As well as this the game can end your day automatically before you even do everything. On my second day, after the first thing I did I was kidnapped and taken back to sleep. Everyone died. I just hate the way it works and not being in control of the situation.

Theirs also this atrocious colour puzzle (which shows up again in the future) where you need to enter the right colours to play the right song. It’s the most obscure thing in existence, if you follow a walkthrough you can copy down the right ones and progress through to a vital part of the story yet the solution is only obtainable on one of the last days. It’s another colour machine that you have to find and copy, the only thing is that it always goes wrong. I can never get them to work, it’s not because I’m colour blind it’s just that the colours are really unclear – lots of them could be one or the other. The purple looks like the pink and likewise whilst the green also looks like the silver. It’s just annoying and obscure whilst feeling like a trick to add game time.

I’ll say now that this is when I started to dislike the main characters. I’d previously done a re-run solving the problems by following different routes but it totally messed up my favourite characters. The old couple became horrible, they we’re my favourite and we had a good relationship together yet they just end up criticising you for not listening to them. Throughout the rest of the game (until they die – they’re old) you cannot change their opinion of you. And I didn’t like the rest of them as they seemed too clichéd and boring for me to care.

For the final confrontation with the goblin leader I wanted to take one of the old couples with me but Amaya ended up coming instead. The idea behind this was that she was the only good fighter so it made sense. This decision led to me only having encounters and conversations with Amaya for the rest of the game, the rest of them got left behind. All of the NPC’s that I’d come to like we’re taken away and it sucked.

I’ve saved this one good thing to talk about for the end because it truly impressed me and was actually quite heart-warming. In your quest you meet a goblin that’s much taller than the other ones. Then you find a book called 101 goblin pranks open on a page called “The Baby Swap” where you swap a goblin baby with a human baby. At the end of this it shows that same goblin reading that book and crying. Then Manny (an incredibly short knight exactly the same size of the goblin) said that he looked like he needs a friend. As you realise that Manny and this goblin were swapped when they we’re young it gives you more hope for the next parts. It gives the idea that the next one can be good, this was just a departure and they’re trips in Daventry would continue to be just as good. When you’ve played two parts, one being good and one being bad it’s uncertain about how good the next game will be.

The only option is to carry on playing to find out.

(continued in part 3)

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