Every now and again, a new Zelda game is released into the world. Sometimes it’s a familiar take on an existing title, such as A Link Between Worlds, sometimes it’s an entire reimagining of the universe as we saw in Breath of the Wild, and sometimes it lies somewhere in between. Link’s Awakening just saw a remake on the Nintendo Switch, and it is a pure Zelda experience through and through.
But then there are those games that have serious Zelda vibes. They’re not made by one of Nintendo’s fable studios, nor do they bear the Zelda name, but they strike a significant resemblance to what may well be their source material. Or not. Truthfully, it’s hard to tell.
A Knight’s Quest is one such game.
Not dissimilar to a Zelda title, A Knight’s Quest offers up a unique charm all its own. Its mix of quirky characters and genuinely funny dialogue make the world seem familiar in a way that had us exploring more and more.
But Zelda isn’t the only game that developer Sky 9 Games clearly drew inspiration from. The opening sequence is straight out of Tomb Raider‘s escape-the-cave opener, complete with light at the end of the ascending tunnel. The wall-running is an oft-used mechanic in games like Titanfall and Uncharted, while the three Spirit Knights that you’re set off to find are quite obviously analogous to Din, Nayru, and Farore from–you guessed it–Zelda.
All this to say, the fact that A Knight’s Quest takes inspiration from other games is actually a good thing. It takes fun moments and exciting concepts from other titles and makes them into something new and unique, all its own. It’s entertaining and great fun to explore the world of Regalia in the game, even if it does get off to a bit of a slow start.
After the opening ten minutes or so that gives you a once over of the controls, you’re you’re thrust into a massive main world but are simultaneously met with a LOT of “sorry kid this area is closed” when you try to go anywhere. It just feels like you’re supposed to talk to everyone until someone says “right this way,” which, eventually happens, but it feels a bit unnatural until you get there.
Once you do power through this, however, the only thing stopping you from exploring the world is whether you have the skills to overcome some of the obstacles and barriers presented to you. Not to bring up the Zelda comparison again, but every time you venture into a dungeon, you emerge with a new ability that either sees you freezing, igniting, or grinding your way to a new area in Regalia.
It is not uncommon to come across an area that you can’t pass, but returning with a newfound ability and destroying the obstacle is an empowering feeling.
These same abilities apply to your weapons, which gain spirit abilities over time. These help not only in combat against enemies that you’ll find throughout the world, and mostly present in dungeons, but also with some environmental challenges and puzzles.
Puzzles varied in size and scale from massive, room-encompassing monstrosities (we say that in a good way) to smaller tricky items that gave us a bit of a head scratch. No puzzle was so difficult that we couldn’t tackle it, but they did usually require a thoughtful plan ahead of time to figure out how to get the job done.
Visually, A Knight’s Quest looks like an indie game that had a lot of heart and soul put into it. It’s bright and cheerful, but lacking some of the polish and detailed textures of a game with perhaps a greater budget or larger staff. Reviewing the game on Nintendo Switch, there was a noticeable amount of pop-in items and textures, with a relatively limited draw distance. We played exclusively in handheld mode, which outputs the game in 720p on the built-in display, so we expect that playing in docked mode in 1080p would only amplify this, but we didn’t test it.
Background music and sound effects are very well done, with ambient sound being particularly appropriate, and seldom too repetitive. A lack of voice acting was jarring, mostly because characters didn’t emit any sound whatsoever. Games will often put in uhhs and ahhs when a character speaks to alleviate this, but there was no such effect used here.
All this said, A Knight’s Quest is a remarkably fun game and the fact that it draws from so many points of inspiration is only one of its strengths. Dialogue is actually funny without being strained, characters are equally zany, and the world itself is orders of magnitude larger than we could have ever guessed. Sure, it’s got some visual bugs now and again, and there are a few ways the developers could have finessed some areas to be a bit more streamlined, but in all, there is a lovely, fun, entertaining world to behold in A Knight’s Quest.
This review is based on the Nintendo Switch version of the game, which we were provided for review purposes.
A Knight's Quest is a game that takes inspiration from many sources, and creates something fresh and all its own, albeit with a few stumbles along the way.