JackQuest: The Tale of The Sword starts off like many other 2D metroidvania type games with our hero having to rescue his damsel in distress. It all begins with the giant Orc hand of Korg bursting through the ground as he snatches Jack’s love Nara away from their romantic stroll in the woods. Jack is having none of this and he immediately gives chase. Soon after diving into the depths Jack discovers a sword that has the spirit of Kuro trapped inside. The two team up and vow to end the wicked ways of Korg. With the mighty sword Jack is ready to take on all creatures that lurk within the cave.
JackQuest keeps it simple when it comes to the pixel art and in this game it’s much appreciated. You will need to see clearly where and when you should make your jumps. Timing and jumping is a big part of the game and can be difficult at times. With spikes, fireballs and moving objects you need the reaction time of Jack to be spot on. While for the most part it works well there were times I felt the double jump didn’t respond as needed. However jumping off the wall works fine and is even a cool way to get around. There was something very satisfying when Jack would jump from wall to wall and then up on a ledge. There were no problems here with repeating this over and over again throughout the game. At the core of the game it is a search and rescue mission. You will scourer the entire map looking for the path you need to be on but you must be mindful that not everything is as it seems in the game. There are hidden paths so paying attention to detail is vital.
Hidden paths aside another thing you want to do is save the game often. There are save points that act like check points when you first come across them but you can save them at the same spot at any time in the game. I found it quite helpful to save near the wooden boxes as the boxes carry health potions. Knowing where to get health is crucial because the lack of Jack’s health certainly plays a big part in the game. You can buy some from a vendor at locations throughout the game but it becomes very expensive. I would use the coins you get from beating enemies or smashing boxes on torches which are essentially mobile saving points. With a torch you can save without having to use one of the save locations provided.
At some point during the game you will be given a map that will kind of help you with direction. I say kind of because you can only see a circle portion of the map and even though you can pan around it is still difficult to navigate with, so good luck. You could try and draw out a map if you are good at it but in the end it won’t help you as far as finding the secret paths. Or will it?
Once you have mastered the navigation perhaps it would be wise to master the art of combat. I mean you didn’t pick up the large sword with a spirit attached to it for nothing. Swinging away with the mighty sword is great but what really adds to the fun is when you find the crystals. The crystals let you use Jack’s special attack and when you use that with a combination of normal attacks it can be quite lethal. It also doesn’t hurt that when you use the special attack it basically makes you impervious to damage. That is until you come out of the attack and land on top of an enemy. There is also a bow in the game that has an endless supply of arrows and while it doesn’t work as great as the sword does it is still useful at times. The combat even though fun is basic and I would have liked to see maybe a few more special moves to choose from in order to spice up the combat.
Learn the combat and jumping techniques quickly because the small enemies are not the only thing lurking about. Eventually you will run across boss battles and the first two that I came across gave me fits. I was not sure if I ran into them out of order but the other bosses didn’t pose as much of a threat. Maybe the early fights helped but either way they seemed easier. If you happen to die on your first try a nice tip would be to max out your health and then drop a save point right outside of the boss fight. That is of course if you have a torch handy, if not, go buy one from the vendor.
Another neat aspect of JackQuest is that you will need to find items to further your adventure. For instance there will come a time in the game where Jack will need to swim through water for an extended period of time. For him to accomplish this feat you must find an object that will help him breathe under water. Get ready to do some back tracking. With doors to unlock and secret pathways you will no doubt spend plenty of time adventuring around with Jack and his companion sword Kuro.
JackQuest: The Tale of The Sword did things right and did some things wrong. Even though I would have liked a few tweaks to the combat it remained fun during the entire game. Leaping from wall to wall worked well but sometimes the double jump wasn’t responsive enough for me. It only posed problems a few times so I can overlook it. While there isn’t much in the way of a story I don’t think it was necessary in this game. The pixel art kept it simple and was actually an asset while playing. Most of the boss battles are enjoyable even if they become easier as the game plays out but the final battle and ending are less desirable. The biggest downfall of the game comes with one of the hidden passages. You must find this passage in order to progress in the game and it took forever to find it. There is nothing in the game that gives you a clue as to where it is and for some they might find it impossible to locate. This almost breaks the game and a solution to fixing this should be considered. This ultimately takes points away from the game in my opinion. All in all I enjoyed JackQuest and if you are a fan of this type of game I recommend giving it a play. Seriously someone has to save Nara from the evil Orc, it might as well be you.
A review copy of the game was provided.
Rating: 7.5 out 10