To Fondly Remember Your Childhood…
Most of us have at one time or another dived into a choose-your-own-adventure story, probably when we were kids. WarQuest: Game of the Gods, developed by Humble Toymaker, is a digital version of that concept, an interactive tale where your choices drive the story. You guide Tokar, an elite warrior fallen from grace who has turned to selling his sword to survive. With his companions, he sets out on an unexpected adventure to recover a valuable and coveted magical chalice.
The story of WarQuest is surprisingly and even refreshingly well written, of a caliber that you would expect in a standard, albeit not entirely exceptional, fantasy novel. The tale of Tokar offers nothing groundbreaking for regular readers of fantasy. However, it is sufficiently interesting that it should keep your attention until the end. It feels as though the story is part of a greater saga, with deeper lore yet to be explored. We receive hints of faraway lands, ancient wars, and relics, as well as a plethora of creatures and peoples populating the world, all of which you’ll want to learn more about. Throughout the story, some of these references link to glossary entries that allow you to delve into the background of the story without detracting from the main narrative. A number of accompanying illustrations scattered throughout the text further flesh out the world.
Go to Chapter Three
Currently, there are two chapters available, with a third coming at an as-yet-unannounced date. Is WarQuest’s storyline engrossing enough for me to return when Chapter Three gets released at some random date in the future? Perhaps. But the odds are that as soon as I’ve uninstalled the game, I won’t spare it another thought. We only have a limited number of years in a lifetime. I prefer to spend my time reading epic fantasy that I deem to be truly unique and genre defining. Although WarQuest‘s story isn’t at all terrible, it also isn’t good enough to keep many readers on the edge of their seats in anticipation of what will happen next.
When I first launched the game, I realized that it’s basically a choose-your-own-adventure story with gameplay elements added that make your decisions a little more of a gamble. This intrigued and excited me a little. At the top of the screen, you have a health meter that decreases as you take damage in battle or exhaust yourself from traveling without rest. Certain choices, such as rushing at an enemy rather than fighting defensively, will consume energy, which is also finite. So there’s a risk that you could die or run out of energy and be unable to make the choices you would otherwise, like fighting aggressively or fleeing from a fight.
Additionally, “good” decisions earn you morality badges. You also obtain gold as you read through the story, either as a reward for successfully defeating opponents or investigating out-of-the-way locations. You acquire gems throughout the story as well, which can replenish your health or energy if they get too low.
To Continue to the Next Adventure…
The disappointment comes once you realize that none of these gameplay mechanics have any real significance. My health never decreased to a point that I needed to use gems to heal. I never came close to running out of energy, and so I could always make the decisions that I thought would be most effective or beneficial.
Furthermore, I never figured out the purpose of the morality badges. You receive points at the end of each chapter; the gold and morality badges accumulated by the end of the chapter go towards that final tally. But what are the points for? At the conclusion of Chapter One, I ended up with 200 out of 255 possible points. I suppose I could go back and try to earn all 255 points to figure out what happens. But who wants to read through an entire story a second time immediately after finishing it once? Even if WarQuest is a choose-your-own-adventure, the paths don’t seem to diverge enough to merit subjecting yourself to multiple playthroughs. And I did restart from checkpoints a few times to try out different options. The impact was minimal.
Tokar’s Story Ends Here
At the end of the day, although the story is well written and the writer or writers really deserve praise for their prowess at spinning a good fantasy yarn, it’s not an amazing yarn. You would be better served in choosing a book of your choice and reading that instead. The choose-your-own-adventure elements aren’t quite significant enough nor are the gameplay mechanics effective enough to make this game a unique experience. It’s worth a try because it’s free. However, despite there not being anything particularly bad about WarQuest, it is overall a lackluster offering. My advice would hesitantly be to simply read something else.
That’s a difficult conclusion to arrive at. It’s clear that Humble Toymaker worked hard to create an original game with a riveting story. It’s particularly evident that they took the time to find highly competent writers and didn’t hire any old Joe off the street who could throw a sentence together. Unfortunately, sometimes hard work just isn’t enough to make something exceptional. And that’s the case here.
Is It Hardcore?
WarQuest: Game of the Gods is an immersive and well-written yet overall mediocre experience. The world Humble Toymaker created has enough promise that the company could easily release future installments and establish a franchise. I personally won’t be lining up to read more though.