Warhammer Quest is a game that harkens back to the old days of Dungeons and Dragons and similarly-themed dungeon crawl games that is primarily about one thing and one thing only: killing evil creatures and getting some sweet treasure on the way. For the uninitiated, Warhammer is a beloved tabletop war game that takes all your favorite creatures from the world of Tolkien, adds a dash of the macabre and grimness, and then tops it off with a little humor and levity to give the whole concoction a very distinct feel. Those with old school credentials may remember a board game version of the game being released in the 90s’, and this game takes a lot of its beats from that.
You assemble a group of stalwart adventurers (a pretty varied group from Dwarven berserkers to squishy human wizards to deft Elven rangers) and head out on dungeon crawl after dungeon crawl in search of your fortune. There are little story events that guide your troupe of heroes in between fights that add player-choice, and roleplaying moments that switch up the gameplay and keep things interesting.
The bulk of the gameplay are battles that your heroes participate in by raiding subterranean catacombs in search of anything they can get their grubby little hands on. What makes Warhammer Quest stand out from its cRPG counter parts is that battle is very meticulous. One wrong move with your warriors on the battlefield can make the whole party go belly-up. Bad placement or locking someone out of the melee who really needs to be in it are all potential snags. That’s not to say you can’t go in swinging your axe wildly, but you should know that that is a pretty quick way to be eaten alive by Snotlings.
Each of the characters has very specific abilities and play styles. The warriors run into the fray with their weapons drawn and their armor shining. The ranger/thief sticks to the periphery of the battle, taking potshots at enemies with a bow and arrow and occasionally slaps around an opponent that gets too close for comfort. The wizard blows stuff up with his or her mind. All the things you would expect, but it isn’t perfect. The way battle progresses can lock certain fighters out of the melee, which wouldn’t be terrible if it weren’t for the fact that they gain experience through killing enemies. There were many times when my wizard was blocked from gaining any experience simply because he was trapped behind one of the warriors. One may think: “Your wizard? Locked out? Does he not have ranged spells?”
No, not at the beginning of the game.
All things considered, the gamplay is familiar and classic. But Warhammer Quest fails to use its setting. Instead of leaning on the comically bleak world established in other Warhammer games, what’s in this one is a largely generic fantasy adventure game. Granted, it’s a rather well-crafted generic fantasy romp, I’m just not sure why the developers wanted the Warhammer license for it in the first place if they weren’t going to run with the setting. There could have been more exploring the world and seeing it for what it was – outside of combat. This is a nitpick that doesn’t make the game a total bust, but I couldn’t help thinking about it while I was playing.
Warhammer Quest does what it sets out to do. It takes the classic board game, translates it to the mobile device and keeps the spirit mostly intact. This doesn’t mean that the transition is completely smooth. For anyone who’s ever played the video game version of Blood Bowl, (another Warhammer-related IP) they know that the implementation of dice rolls in video games can slant the favor toward the AI. Plus, you may miss with your attacks more than you thought was humanly possible. However, just because a game is difficult, doesn’t mean that it isn’t worth a play.
A great adventuring game that lacks some of the Warhammer flare that would have put it over the top.