A Knight's Quest (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Renan Fontes 20.10.2019

Review for A Knight

As much as the term "Zelda Killer" was meant to be a strike at one of Nintendo's flagship titles, it more often than not signaled to savvy enough consumers to take their business elsewhere. Plenty of great Zelda-esque titles have released over the years, but for every Alundra, there's an Alundra 2 right around the corner. A Knight Quest's developers clearly love The Legend of Zelda as evidenced by their attempt at creating an action-adventure title that wears its influence a bit too proudly. The worst thing a game can do is remind audiences that they can be playing something much better, though.

There's one specific moment near the start that sums up just about everything wrong with A Knight's Quest. After stumbling upon a sword and shield, and regurgitating the "item get" parody seemingly mandatory of Zelda-likes, some flavour text pops in to comment on why the main hero simply didn't bring a sword and shield with him. The answer is simple: so the developers can reference The Legend of Zelda. It's an embarrassing way to kick things off, essentially neglecting to establish a unique identity in favour of reminding the audience of one of the most successful and critically acclaimed franchises of all time.

That's not a comparison to draw lightly, and certainly not before establishing some semblance of individuality. It's especially frustrating considering how good everything looks on a surface level. Aesthetically, it's hard to deny the charm of the visuals; in a post-Breath of the Wild world, a traditional Zelda clone may have its place; and, to the game's credit, there are genuinely creative puzzles that go beyond just parroting better franchises. These instances of care, attention to detail, and thoughtfulness show the potential of a much better title than Sky9 have delivered.

Screenshot for A Knight's Quest on Nintendo Switch

On a pure design level, A Knight's Quest is fundamentally broken, somehow delivering some of the worst combat in the last two decades of the medium's history - since Ocarina of Time set the foundation for modern 3D action. It's frankly laughable how miserable something as simple as attacking an enemy can be. Lock-on is neither as stern or as fluid as, really, any title that's used a lock-on system in the last 20 years; the camera occasionally cuts during combat should Rusty seemingly move too much, making fights visually choppy and uncomfortable; and enemies are massive health sponges, requiring a maddening amount of hits from Rusty's twig of a sword. A good amount of swings to kill early game enemies would be one, two, or even three for a title with more advanced combat.

For a battle system that amounts to button mashing, combat becomes tedious fast. Magic mechanics, blocking, rolling, and jumping, all round out the rest of Rusty's move set, but enemies fail to take advantage of his innate abilities. The bosses on a whole are a major low-point, putting all of the combat issues on a pedestal. Most boss arenas are empty open rooms, most bosses are painfully predictable, and most fights are guaranteed to bore those sticking it out to tears.

Screenshot for A Knight's Quest on Nintendo Switch

Beyond fighting, there's the standard puzzle solving that's typical for the genre, along with some very misplaced platforming. Rusty being able to jump is a good idea in theory, as it potentially widens combat depth, but it may also tempt developers into adding unnecessary platforming into their action-adventure game. Such an approach, one that features players holding down a button to sloppily wall jump, would likely be disastrous. Tragically, A Knight's Quest succumbs to this fate and worse. On a technical level, the fact Sky9 is selling this on the eShop as is downright criminal. This is not a complete game by any stretch of the imagination. Clipping, stuttering, slowdown, and a script littered with grammar desperately in need of editing are only the tip of the iceberg.

Saving only occurs through auto-saves. Not unheard of, not unusual, and not necessarily a bad thing, but it's implemented so poorly that it's entirely plausible Sky9 simply didn't have the time to add a functional save system before release. Players cannot manually save, and saves are not frequent. Anyone who wants to stop playing needs to trigger an auto-save, usually by traveling to a new location. As this requires playing more, though, it's perhaps best to just shut the Switch off and move on.

Screenshot for A Knight's Quest on Nintendo Switch

For a title with so much movement, Rusty looks shockingly bad in action. The general art style and colour palette is nice enough, but the character models are awkward, expressionless, and stiff in the way that early '00s action figures were stiff. There's no sincerity to any of the characters or their dialogue. The cinematography is uninspired, and some scene cuts are so jarring - Sky9 should have made fixing them their first priority.

In general, there's a distinct lack of polish. Every aspect of the end product is unrefined, hiding behind a prospective mutual love of The Legend of Zelda - but references only go so far and, homage is only charming when it has an identity of its own. Even if Sky9 did more with the title's identity, though, it wouldn't change just how much of a disaster A Knight's Quest is on a technical level. It's unplayable by sheer virtue of there being thousands of video games that outdo it in, quite literally, every sense possible.

Screenshot for A Knight's Quest on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

2/10
Rated 2 out of 10

Very Bad

That A Knight's Quest is being sold on the eShop at all is ludicrous. Combat, enemy design, the camera, the save system, and the script were all in desperate need of more time. Sky9 releasing the title as is, is simply downright embarrassing. Beyond the lack of polish and the frequent bugs, this is a title that ignores 20 years of conventional game design philosophy, and massacres itself in the process. Few have managed to mangle the basics of 3D combat so badly. Play anything else. A Knight's Quest is one of the worst games of 2019.

Also known as

A Knight's Quest

Developer

Sky9 Games

Publisher

Curve Digital

Genre

Action Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  2/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date None   

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