Premise: Noble but time-pressed adventurer, thou must save the kingdom through sheer force of will and/or wallet!
Is It Any Good?: Here’s a better question: Can you name a single parody videogame that hasn’t been fantastic? OK, sure, there was that one. Yeah, that one too. Yep. Uh-huh. Forgot that one existed, but yes. Also terrible.
Alright, so maybe parody games have struggled historically, but can you really blame them? Comedy is difficult in and of itself, but parody in any medium is a whole different animal. It’s a razor thin line between mocking terrible and being terrible, and all too often the parody game falls into the trap of simply rehashing the same tired mechanics it’s trying to skewer. Add in the fact that it’s the rare joke that can survive to the 8+ hour mark and it’s easy to see why most developers don’t even bother.
So how did the man behind Going Loud, Ben Kane, solve these problems? Via the tried and true method of telling them to fuck right off. With two campaigns clocking in at about an hour each and gameplay so minimal as to be essentially token, DLC Quest wisely plants its flag firmly in novelty territory, and at $3 is priced accordingly. Gameplay is the de facto indie standard 2D platforming, with the twist that certain advanced abilities like “jump” and “move left” need to be unlocked via in-game purchases (with collected in-game currency). You can also opt in for cosmetic improvements like character animations and sound if you’re some kind of Mr. Moneybags Spendalots.
Yes it’s essentially LOL, Horse Armor the game but the brief running time means that there’s pretty much zero padding and the jokes come fast and furious. It also casts a fairly wide net, taking stabs at everything from paid cheats and player naming conventions to developer laziness and clichéd design trends (silhouettes, so edgy). Not all the jokes are gems and a lot of it is ground well-trod, but as a whole the writing is clever and I found myself laughing more often than not. There’s also something scarily compelling about gathering up floating coins to unlock the next inane add-on. My personal favorite has to be the Canadian language pack, a stupidly obvious joke that the game somehow manages to make hilarious through sheer force of repetition.
Short, repetitive, shallow and cut to pieces so you can be sold the scraps, DLC Quest all the things we love to hate about modern games and revels in the, offering up a surprisingly biting look at an increasingly mercantile industry. It may be the antithesis of a “gamer’s game,” but DLC Quest is the perfect antidote for anyone who’s ever guiltily dropped a few bucks on a costume pack. Not that I’d know anything about that.
Bonus Points: You can check out more of Bob Kane on his Youtube channel, where he discusses all things indie with a video series titled (appropriately enough) IndieChatter!
MOAR LIKE THIS PLZ: Alex Kidd in Shinobi World, Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard, Retro City Rampage
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