One of the reasons roguelikes are surging in popularity these days are their crushing difficulty. These are games you’ll have to play dozens of times before you even get a glimpse of victory. 1Quest sits right up there with the rest and mocks your every effort to win.
A substantial change from the standard formula is that death doesn’t mean abject failure. Not the first time anyways. Unlike most roguelikes where you’re tasked with retrieving a certain object, in 1Quest you are trying to rescue the princess and several other innocent children who have all been kidnapped by a cult intent on sacrificing them. Where you can fail in your quest is by running out of time. Should you not make your way through the various dungeons and rescue the princess, it’s game over.
Unfortunately dying happens a lot. The control layout is simple; a variety of buttons to be pressed to move, attack, quaff potions, etc. Unfortunately there are a few too many buttons that are way too small, even on a full sized tablet. On a phone the experience is nearly impossible.
There’s little that truly stands out as a shining example of the roguelike genre. It imposes a more complex, RPG framework on top of the usual setup. In addition to collecting gear you can learn spells, gain experience points to allocate to various proficiencies and increase your class levels. Unfortunately the game throws so many enemies at you with such incredible abandon that you’ll rarely accumulate enough experience to unlock any of the higher classes. Many of the levels are unusually open for a dungeon crawler and you’ll be under attack by five or six monsters, some of which can summon an endless stream of minions.
Inventory management is particularly annoying as well because of the vast amount of items that are dropped. While it’s nice to choose between a wealth of different equipment options, the proficiency system discourages you from truly branching out and sorting through the dross is tedious, particularly because of the incredibly small icons.
There are some strange choices made visually; the plot introduction is made by a series of hieroglyphic-esque scenes, though the rest of the game eschews any sense of similar Egyptian influence in favor of the more standard European tropes. The graphics are bland as well; there are too many games out there that have attempted to sell just by hitting the “instant nostalgia” button of the eight-bit style, so it has lost the majority of its punch.
Even on easy mode, this is a title that relentlessly punishes you and while a desire for an experience that isn’t a cakewalk is at the core of the roguelike revival, 1Quest pushes the difficulty up several notches. The unimpressive aesthetic and tiny control size makes the game too frustrating for all but the most masochistic.
Is it Hardcore?
No. Frustrating controls and boring.
With unimpressive design and a punishing difficulty, this one is a flop.