- TITLE: “Elliot Quest”
- DEVELOPER: Ansimuz Games
- PUBLISHER: Ansimuz Games
- GENRE: 2D Adventure/Platformer
- PLATFORM: Nintendo 3DS
- ALSO ON: PC, PlayStation 4, Wii U, and XBox One
- RELEASED: May 11, 2017 (3DS)
- PRICE: $14.99 USD (eShop)
Elliot Quest is a retro-style platforming adventure game that originally released on the PC back in 2014 and which made its debut on the Wii U in March of 2015. This May, developer Ansimuz Games has brought the game to the PlayStation 4, XBox One, and Nintendo 3DS. In the case of the 3DS port, Elliot Quest promises to bring a fresh retro-gaming experience that you can pick up and play wherever you want.
At its core, Elliot Quest is an 8-bit style side-scrolling platforming adventure that makes use of an overworld to allow the player to traverse between various locations, dungeons, and towns. The developer seems to have drawn a lot of inspiration from Zelda II: The Adventure of Link as well as the likes of Kid Icarus and the Castlevania series (particularly the “Metroidvania” style ones). In fact, in many ways Elliot Quest is a “Metroidvania” type game because Elliot begins his journey with a basic bow and arrow and the ability to jump an average distance. That’s it. As his adventure progresses, though, he gains new abilities like the double-jump that will allow him to reach new areas as well as new sections in places he’s already visited before. And because the game is packed full of hidden nooks and crannies, players are encouraged to seek out a myriad of secrets to find hidden items and other goodies that will make Elliot’s journey a bit easier.
In Elliot Quest, players take on the role of (you guessed it!) Elliot, a young man on a journey to lift a powerful curse. After the disappearance of his loved one, Elliot tried to take his own life, only to discover that he was unable to die. Getting weaker by the day, he visits a sage who tells him that he is the victim of a curse from the Satar that, if not lifted in time, will transform him into a Satar too. Thus, Elliot must venture all around the island of Urele in order to seek out special items, find one of the island’s Guardians who has kept the Satar at bay throughout the past, and get his curse removed.
Urele features a wide variety of locations, each connected by a traversable overworld map. Each area (with a few exceptions) presents the player with a grid map that represents screens that Elliot has visited, and exploring a new area may lead Elliot to obtain a map that will reveal the layout of the location (though some hidden screens may or may not appear on the in-game map). Many areas have bosses of varying difficulty to defeat, which not only will open the way forward but may reward the hero with an increase to his life meter.
Killing enemies in the game isn’t a mere chore to complete, but rather each enemy killed will reward the hero with a bit of experience. Once Elliot levels up the player will get the choice to pick between one of various stats to improve, resulting in more health obtained from hearts, an improved rate of fire for his bow, more damage dealt to enemies, and more.
When launching the game for the very first time, one of the things I wondered was whether this title would actually make any real use out of the 3DS’s 3D capabilities. After all, this is a “modern retro game” and the 8-bit aesthetics might not have benefited from some added depth. Well, ultimately I was not disappointed in this area. While Elliot Quest is still visually simple, the 3DS version does play well with the backgrounds and foregrounds to deliver a bit of detail to what would have been otherwise flat environments, placing trees and other objects in front of the play field and background details at a perceivable distance behind the main area of play. While certainly not a necessary feature for the game I do think it turned out better than what I expected and I have to applaud the developer for putting the 3D option in the game in the first place.
For some reason, I noticed that this version of the game suffers from some performance slowdowns here and there. On occasion, this slowdown can become semi-permanent, requiring the player to close the game and restart it to get it running like normal again. This is a bit surprising as the game doesn’t look like it should be that intense on the 3DS console.
I also found that the in-game volume, even on the highest setting, is pretty low, necessitating the need for me to use headphones to properly enjoy the audio. However, headphones are a good choice with this game as the soundtrack is absolutely fantastic to listen to!
Overall, Elliot Quest will take most players 15 or more hours to complete. While the game might be able to be rushed through a bit faster than that, there are a lot of hidden areas to uncover and secrets waiting to be discovered. This is certainly a game that you should take your time with and see what you can find along the way!
If you’re looking for a game that takes a lot of cues from various ancestors of the 1980s and ’90s and delivers a fresh, new retro-styled experience, Elliot Quest is a game that won’t disappoint you. Whether you’re wanting to relive this type of experience or you’re a newcomer looking for something different to try, Elliot Quest has a lot to offer.