Sometimes, you see a game that despite the warnings, you know you just have to try. The core idea is just too interesting, too funny, too odd, or maybe you just want to see how bad the game is. DLC Quest was one of those games for me. In this case, I enjoy it when a developer with good wit makes fun of things going on. But even looking at the trailer, I wasn’t expecting much more then this. So when the game hit Steam for a cheap price, I decided “what the hell” and picked it up. This morning, I started and finished this game. Now it’s time to ask the question… was it worth it?
Story: You have played this before, especially if you played video games in the 80s. You are the Player, and your Princess has been kidnapped by the Bad Guy. It’s time to go get the princess back and take revenge on the Bad Guy. After all, he also killed your uncle and possibly peed in the village well. This is the story you will play in this game… in it’s entirety. Suffice it to say, if you want an epic tale you will remember forever, you are playing the wrong game.
Instead, you should be coming here for the comedy. As the name suggests, DLC Quest exists to make fun of the big publishers who have recently taken to the art of day-one DLC that was part of the original game and cut out to make extra cash or worse. And the game wastes no time mocking these actions, in fact, making you buy things so basic as sound, animation, pausing (and therefor saving your game) or even the ability to jump and go left.
Going to the extreme, the title takes a few shots in the name of comedy, but sadly, after an initial chuckle, the joke ends pretty quick. Still, this campeign ends ALMOST as quickly (clocking in at 30 minutes when you do everything), letting you move on to the much better writing and wit in the expansion pack, “Live Freemium or Die.” (The expansion is included on the PC release.. if you are playing on 360, you got the core game for $1 instead of $3, but you had to buy this one yourself… irony? Maybe a hidden joke in reality? You be the judge.)
In this expansion, you have proven yourself a hero, but the village needs you again as an unnamed threat has been killing them off. Still clocking in at a short time (an hour), this expansion has a lot more to offer while you play. The “publisher” claims to be nice offering you the DLC of animation, moving left, and jumping for free this time around… a nice tonge-in-cheek shot at another recent event (remember the DeadSpace 3 dev talking about how they were being nice letting you use a mouse to play on PC?). From here you will play yet another straight-forward plot about saving the village, though with a small twist and nice shoutout to the first story. It will also offer you a lot more actually funny jokes poking fun at publishers much more thoroughly this time.
In total, this game will amuse you more often then not for your brief time playing it… assuming you are not the head of EA, Activision, Ubisoft, or any other major publisher who’s doing their best adjust the gaming world to keep their AAA game model sustainable when it really isnt. Yes, there is a message here, an a none-to-subtle one.
Graphics: Im going to be very up front, DLC quest is NOT a pretty game. It is somewhere between imitating old school 8-bit games that possibly came out on some pre-NES system and construction paper cutouts. This is not a compliment, nor should it be taken as such. Nor is there a lot of variety. You have places where you can see the background, places you cant as it’s in caves, and some color differences to say if you are on grass, dirt, snow, or in a silhouette-styled “dark-zone.” Do not expect to be impressed by anything on the screen.
Sound: Sound does not fair a lot better then graphics. Featuring one track for each area, the music is very 8-bit and actually pleasant and will feel like an old-school game. Sadly the set of sound effects that go with this are exceptionally limited. In fact, you will get used to hearing your jump sound, your sword swing sound, and coin sounds for all of both campaigns, but we will talk about that breifly. What is here is is overall not bad.
Gameplay: DLC Quest is a platformer game based around a DLC upgrade mechanic. You will run around, jumping between platforms to collect coins you will then use to buy these DLC components, making the game more complete and giving you access to more and more of the levels until you can finally complete your quest and roll the credits.
The game is very simple in design, and to this end, the short gameplay works in it’s favor. I don’t think I could take a game about finding coins to buy new parts and nothing else for a very long time. Seriously, there is nothing else in this game. There are no enemies in this game unless you buy the Zombie DLC. So for the main game to end in just 30 minutes, it sticks around just long enough to get it’s jokes off then lets you proceed to whatever else you had planned. Just short enough not to get on your nerves.
The expansion (“Live Freemium or Die”) is a bit longer and offers a little more variety. The core game is exactly the same, but now you will have some quests along the way and an actual boss-fight to end the game. It is a much more complete package and for the most part, allows the game to last a while longer before again finishing it’s jokes, ending at completion, and leaving you to go on your merry way.
Sadly, the core mechanics around this are a bit loose, between jumping that feels a little off and any amount of movement causing you to slide a small degree. The end result of this is that some places reachable only by using small platforms can be obnoxiously hard to reach as the game’s own controls get in your way. And while this may not sound too bad, remember that at it’s heart, this is a platformer where your goal is to collect the coins you need to unlock the next part of the game and not even enemies to keep it interesting. This will quickly get old in some places.
Bugs: There were no real bugs in this game, but playing on almost the exact recommended requirements, my PC had some slowdown issues during the Winter Stage of the expansion. Keep in mind, this was played on a laptop I generally used for work, and most PCs will easily outclass it and likely have absolutely no issues at all, However, since the recommended did not run it smooth, I felt it was worth noting.
Overall: DLC Quest is not meant to be taken as a serious game… and you should not do so. It is comical, and it is brief enough to get away with this. If this game were sold for any more then the asking price of $3, I would probably tell you to walk away. But for the price, it will make you laugh before going on to the game you really wanted to play instead of were just curious about.
out of 10