AdventureQuest 8-bit: Dungeons and Doomknights (Switch, PC)

AdventureQuest is a long running series of MMORPGs.  I’ve never heard of them before writing this review myself, but then, these sort of games aren’t really on my radar.  But what if AdvnetureQuest came out during the 8-bit NES days?  It certainly wouldn’t be online!  Now you can find out what it would be like with AdventureQuest 8-bit: Dungeons and Doomknights.  I don’t know how close the game reflects the source material, seeing as I’ve never played it.  But in the game you play as an axe wielding knight out to slay an undead army.  It’s kind of a mix of styles, with overhead action and exploration sections like Zelda or Metal Gear, as well as some 2-D platforming mixed in.  You can buy it on an actual NES cartridge, or download it on Switch and PC (reviewed on Switch here), with some extra bells and whistles.

In the game you’ll move around your knight in mostly overhead perspectives and use one button to swing your axe to defeat skeletons, bats, demons, and more.  You can save your progress at little books scattered about the mazes, and if you lose all your energy you’ll start back at that book.  You can only take two hits starting out, but as you play you’ll find extensions for your heart meter, magic spells, and even a dog that can attack enemies as long as you have enough bones for it.  Sometimes you will switch to a side scrolling 2-D perspective where you’ll have to do some platform jumping as well.

The switch between overhead and platforming is jarring, the play control and hitbox detection is clunky, and it’s pretty easy to die if you’re not careful.  Normally this would turn me off the game right there, but so much love and care was put into this that I can’t help but say more good things about it.  First of all, you can view a very well written and illustrated instruction manual and if you go online, you can even view a full mock Nintendo Power-like strategy guide on the official web site!  There are also cheat codes and mods where you can play bonus games as well.  There’s one where the game is all in black and white, one that is kind of like Pac-Man, and one where you can just play as the dog and plow through enemies.  Best of all is an extra game where you play as a witch in single screen puzzle platform stages where you can send out skeletons, skulls, and animals to solve puzzles and defeat enemies.  I actually liked that one better than the main game!  At the very least, it certainly feels like something I might’ve rented as a kid back on the NES.

Kid Factor:

AdventureQuest 8-bit: Dungeons and Doomknights is rated E-10 with ESRB descriptors of Fantasy Violence and Mild Blood.  I didn’t really notice any blood, and you just hit pixel skeletons and monsters with weapons and magic.  Reading skill is still a must, and younger gamers may find it too difficult.  But I played games like this as a kid and I turned out OK.

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