Rescue Quest Review (iOS)
Rescue Quest is a match-three puzzle game that has two wizard apprentices on a mission to save a group of spritelings enslaved by a sorcerer. Though it swims within a well-worn genre, Rescue Quest offers up enough magic to keep gamers coming back for more.
All the tropes that come with a match-three title exist within Rescue Quest. Whether it's sliding your finger grouping same colored gems together or finishing up a puzzle within a select number of turns, the first moments of Rescue Quest didn't catch my attention. Even the game's cutesy score is nondescript and forgettable - you've probably heard this variations of this music from tons of RPG-influenced titles.
My initial perceptions of the game's lack of ambition were shattered once I delved deeper in the actual puzzles. Even though I played the game on my iPad, the size of each puzzle fills and at times stretches past the screen's limits. With your apprentice on one side of the maze and the captured spriteling far from your reach, navigating through the puzzling is a challenging experience. Not having the entire puzzle fit your screen gives the adventure a surprising level of breadth. If Rescue Quest was a movie made in the 1950s, it would have been shot in CinemaScope.
With a terrain heavy puzzle, you can't arbitrarily match same colored jewels to get to your destination. You'll have a certain number of turns to achieve your goals, and completing each stage requires a surprising level of thought. For example, one power up gives the apprentice a hammer spell, and it's a power that's gradually unlocked by matching green gems. However, what if green gems are not in your way? Will you clear another side of the puzzle to grab the hammer and smash whatever colored jewel blocks your path, or will you ignore the power-up and hope the right amount of combinations saves the spriteling?
Mastering Rescue Quest requires an intellectual digestion of the entire puzzle, and clearing the path that's right in front of you may be your downfall. I've finished several stages by matching gems around the spriteling's prison cage before focusing on the apprentice's first steps towards heroism. Seeing the entire picture is an important part of any experience, and Rescue Quest thankfully follows suit.
As a free-to-play title, Rescue Quest has one irritating flaw that may frustrate the less experienced puzzler. The apprentice loses a life once a puzzle isn't solved, and unfortunately every life takes twenty minutes to regenerate. This construct is fine if you're searching for a quick pick-up-and-play scenario, but if you're planning to invest hours on this puzzler, you may have to shell out some cash (it costs $0.99 per life) for the privilege. The number of lives caps out at a ridiculously low five, and giving gamers a few more lives to save in the bank would have generated much more goodwill.
The game's shop is also filled with power-ups that can only be accrued as an in-app purchase. Earning in-game currency while completing certain achievements and levels would have been a welcome addition to the title. Solving the puzzles are fun, but there would be much more incentive if gamers were actually working towards something more than unlocking new stages.
Rescue Quest is a solid enough puzzler that could keep you intrigued. Its freemium model may eventually get the best of you as the puzzles increase in complexity, since waiting twenty minutes to replay a match-three title could try anyone's patience. Several hours into the game, I'm still more than willing to rescue a few spritelings, even if time isn't on my side.
This review is based on a code provided by the publisher of Rescue Quest for iOS.