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Title: Dad Quest | Story Platformer Adventure
Genre: Adventure, Indie, RPG
Release Date: 17 Aug, 2018
A surprisingly deep story with some really good humorous sequences! In many ways it is a criticism and also a love letter to classic adventure-style progressions.. Dad Quest is a 2-D platformer with very dad-tastic humour with heavy reliance on using your own child as a projectile weapon and occasionally a club.
Story wise, it doesn't matter, it's more about the really off the cuff dad humour that goes a bit too far in some scenarios. While I did get a good chuckle from the jokes it offered on occasion, for every seven jokes it told, only one of them landed for me, and this only got worse as time went on. Despite its short length and relatively rapid pace, it still felt like it dragged on way longer than it should have, given the amount of rather frustrating and pointless diversions that do nothing to really entertain or engage. A particularly awful one comes during the mountain area where you are forced to stop progressing, get put into a huge amount of debt, only to be exploded and left for dead, with no real point to it. It's not even really played for laughs or for any dramatic effect, it just...happens. I really did stop caring about the NPC dialog, side quests and so on after a while, because they were usually unrewarding or just a time waster.
Gameplay wise, Dad quest is creative, but ultimately flops for a few reasons. Your weapon of choice is your child, which is basically a glorified boomerang on legs that runs back to you. You will either throw them, or hit things with them, and that's about the extent of it. You can modify these two actions with items scattered about the world before it runs out of charges and breaks, and you can learn and equip skills. The problem is that almost none of the items are really interesting, some do add elemental effects, which is nice, but they just...feel like a waste of time, as you'll be able to kill most enemies really easily without using them. Then the skills, you can only equip two at a time, one for throwing, another for hitting, no more. It really limits what you can do creatively, and ultimately, I settled for the charge shot and charge hit skills, as they allow me to deal the most damage in a single shot, many of the other skills weren't anywhere near as good.
This could have been excusable if the enemies were challenging and fun to fight. Hollow knight for example, it had a really simple move set, but what made it effective was the ways it challenged your mastery of it with harder and harder enemies. but no, most of them, aside from the bosses, are barely a threat at all. Dad Quests roster of foes is relatively small and rather unimpressive. I'm not joking when I say the reason I killed enemies in this game, was exclusively to collect money, otherwise I would have ran past them all and not even thought about it. Not once was I challenged outside of the boss fights, which are relatively fun, but not incredibly so.
Graphically speaking, the actual human characters of the game look fantastic. Really nice detail for them all and a lot of unique ones to be seen throughout the entire game, there are a few repeats, and some are in the same poses as others, but overall, very nice NPC variety. Which is strange considering just how bland and uninteresting just about every level looks, it drove me mad to be constantly running through samey platform areas again and again and again, with the biggest differences being a swap in colour pallette and some changes to the theme of the level. None of it felt like it was more than a basic platformer. The music is also really forgettable, I'd say more, but I forgot what it even sounded like.
I'm not even sure how you'd improve it without restructuring the entire thing, considering part of the game is about hunting down and defeating the regional dads, only for, well, other stuff to occur, I wont spoil what, but suffice to say, it isn't some shocking revelation or epic plot twist. If it was more open, and I had a choice of which levels I went to first (as most of them could be beaten without any upgrades, aside from the movement ones you get along the way), stripped out the consumable item system and made them gear you could equip, allowed for more skills to be on the child and made the enemies an actual threat, it could be far more engaging. The art style is still good overall, but It's really bland and could do with a little more visual flare on the actual platforming areas.
Overall, I can't recommend this when there are so many other, better games out there, despite the fact that Dad Quest isn't bad, but like every other dad joke in the world, it's just mediocre at best. You might enjoy this if you're looking for a really easy 5 or so hour experience with some tongue on cheek levels of humour, just don't expect this to be some hidden masterpiece.. I've only just started but so far this game is awesome and I'll be gifting it this year to my brother-in-law for fathers day, between you and I, he could really use the child based combat training. At the moment his go-to technique is tickling, which he is proficient at, however that only has the potential to stun, but doesn't inflict any real damage.. Dad Quest was really fun to play. Funny conversations, characters and of course mechanics (because well, you throw your child around and can teach them different skills!).
It was really enjoyable and would love a sequel, or even a new edition with more content and such (I felt like it could've been a far bigger metroidvania! more skills, outfits that gave some kind of bonus, or stuff like that).
Overall I really liked it. If anyone is wondering if you should get it, I would say give it a go and see if its comedy keeps you entertained!
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