Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Pug's Quest (iOS) Review

Unlike yesterday's Goblin Sword (iOS) review, this next review is for a game that released just last week instead of two years ago. It's Pug's Quest, and it has the charm, but does it have the longevity to keep players hooked?

Pug 'n Play

After a bunch of your puppy pals have been dog-napped and holed up in a mysterious trap and challenge-filled castle, you take control of a nameless but brave pug, setting paw in the numerous rooms and hallways of the castle in this puppy puzzle-adventure game. This is the idea behind Pug's Quest from Ravenous Games.

You control your pug by sliding your finger along the touch screen in the one of four directions he's able to move. You can hold your finger on the screen after sliding to have the pug move continuously in that direction, making it great for faster movements when required.

You begin with three lives, and each time you crash into an enemy, obstacle, or fall into the abyss, you lose a life and restart from the beginning of a stage. There are three rooms in a given stage, and the order of stages you play in is completely randomized, something that I found to be a sticking point to my enjoyment of Pug's Quest.

Talk about Blades of Steel! ...And of doom!
Instead of a typical level progression that would have made me feel like I was making some semblance of achievement, each time you die and lose your lives you start the game at a randomly selected stage. Have a favorite stage that you played? Well, too bad if you want to replay it any time soon unless you get lucky.

This lack of traditional level progression really spoiled any sense of contentment from completing a stage. All Pug's Quest ends up being is a high score challenge, and since some stages are easier than others, it really depends on the luck of the draw to get the highest score. Online leaderboards help add to some longevity in Pug's Quest, but overall the experience feels shallow in its current form.

Stages themselves include many traps and challenges to avoid. Your pug needs to dodge enemies that move in specific patterns, avoid spinning blades of death, and solve simplistic environment puzzles like nabbing a key to unlock a door, hitting four colored buttons in a certain order, and spelling out a word by stepping on the correct tiles.

Hit these colorful buttons in the right order to remove those pegs
blocking your pug's progress.
Points are earned through completing stages, as well as collecting yummy dog bone cookies with the golden ones being worth the most. You can also hope to get fortuitous by discovering a trapped dog to rescue, offering a big amount of points with one dog. Really, the main fun in Pug's Quest is through collecting enough points to score big while staying alive.

Those red tiles will crumble under your pug's pressure,
so don't hang around long on top of them.
Pug's Quest runs well as it isn't a very resource-intensive game by any stretch of the imagination. The pixel art is delightful, the characters are animated competently, and the environments are well done. The music is catchy enough and doesn't distract at all. All in all, Pug's Quest is cute and charming, a combination that I can't help but adore.

As a high scoring game, Pug's Quest is a fun little time waster. As a game that you'll want to play for a long time, Pug's Quest fails to hold interest. The lack of any sort of level progression really harms what could have otherwise been an addicting game. Instead, what you get is a random mishmash of levels that when you die, you sort of lose the motivation to start anew. Why bother when you're stuck with the luck of the draw? Nonetheless, for its price, Pug's Quest is worthwhile as long as you know what you're getting into. Otherwise it's a dog gone shame.

[SPC Says: C]

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