Sky 9 Games' A Knight's Quest's puzzles and platformer elements are a big win for the genre, but there are too many bugs for it to be recommendable.
A Knight’s Quest, developed by Sky 9 Games, is the latest in a long line of action platform games inspired by The Legend of Zelda, though this title doesn’t try to hide that fact throughout its dozen or so hours of playtime. This is both a good and bad thing, as A Knight’s Quest’s Zelda-inspired puzzle sections are clever and fun but the rest of the game has little identity of its own. Pile on its frustrating technical issues, from various bugs and poorly designed navigation, and the end result is a mixed bag of an action adventure platform that lacks any sort of polish.
The story of A Knight’s Quest is fairly straightforward: players take on the role of Rusty, the adventurer son of a Mayor who accidentally sets free demons intent on destroying the world. Rusty’s goal is to stop these demons and set things right again. While this may sound like a dramatic and horror-like narrative, A Knight’s Quest is actually rather funny and filled with tongue-in-cheek moments that poke fun at both the entire genre as a whole and modern society in general. In fact, the dialogue is surprisingly smart and easily one of the biggest consistent strengths of the game.
Another area where the game really nails it is in the puzzle and platforming sections. It’s also where it shows its The Legend of Zelda inspirations the most successfully. From early proving ground puzzles that require strategical thinking and full use of the game’s mechanics, like wall running and avoidance of dangerous objects like spikes, to figuring out the best way to traverse A Knight’s Quest’s open world map and access new areas, there’s a lot of fun to be found for platformer enthusiasts. Sometimes the puzzles are overly frustrating, especially later in the game, but there’s a sense of accomplishment inherent to completing them.
It’s just too bad that the world and navigation are so frustratingly designed in A Knight’s Quest. There’s never a clear way forward from one mission or area to the next, and the title seems to revel in this fact. Again, this is another big nod to The Legend of Zelda, which often encouraged free and untethered exploration as a way of discovering what to do next. The problem with it in A Knight’s Quest is that the open world that players and Rusty occupies isn’t nearly as well thought out as in any Zelda game. It’s a great idea on paper, but the execution here is sloppy at best.
While A Knight's Quest does include a combat system, it's nothing really noteworthy. Players can lock on to demonic enemies, similar to games like Dark Souls, which does add an element of flow. But its system of button mash attack, block, and then repeat gets old very fast and serves as an afterthought compared to the puzzler and platformer elements. The boss battles are entertaining enough to offer distraction in between the elements in the game.
And then there are the vast, annoying and far too frequent bugs permeating throughout A Knight’s Quest. From audio alignment issues in cutscenes to respawn glitches that see Rusty caught in an endless loop of death and revival, A Knight’s Quest is one of the most unpolished games in recent memory. A lot of these bugs rear their ugly heads early on in the game and often. With a lot of games, bugs can be ignored or at least framed in a humorous light (look at any Bethesda title), but here they're game breaking and nearly enough to recommend players stay far away until the inevitable patches start rolling out.
A Knight’s Quest has spots of pure brilliance, there’s no doubt about it. The puzzles are expertly designed, the story and dialogue is fun, engaging and smartly written and the world building is layered and memorable. But on a mechanical and technical level, it is a game entirely lacking polish or smart craftsmanship. Traversal is often frustrating and confusing in all the wrong ways and the bugs are invasive and game breaking. Plus there’s just that feeling that it pays homage a little too often to The Legend of Zelda without understanding what made those games so memorable in the first place. Overall, this is a quest that probably should have spent more time in the planning stages.
A Knight’s Quest is available now for Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC and PlayStation 4 for $24.99. Screen Rant was provided an Xbox One copy for the purposes of this review.