Although all eyes have been on Nintendo Switch as of late, there is still a healthy stream of titles arriving to the Nintendo 3DS. Last month saw the release of Elliot Quest, an indie that was previously released on the Wii U. Naturally, I missed out on the initial launch since I don’t have my own Wii U. I was eager to see what the title had to offer. So expect this review to be coming from a fresh perspective as if this were an entirely new game.
Unlike a lot of platforming characters, Elliot is kind of broken. Not only has his wife passed away, but he suffers a curse that will turn him into a demon if he doesn’t find the cure. The poor protagonist even tries killing himself before realizing he’s not able to die. There isn’t a lot of dialogue throughout Elliot Quest (as Elliot’s only ever by himself, of course). What’s there, however, often leaves behind a sense of nicely intended unease.
Visually, it’s rather standard. The pixel art isn’t exactly the kind that would stick out from all the other indie titles out there but it does job. The framerate usually runs at sixty frames-per-second and there are some cool lighting effects. Unfortunately, there is some odd slowdown that occurs every now and then. For some reason it absolutely plagues one of the desert maps unless a save file is loaded there.
I want to like the music, but I can’t really remember anything from it. The soundtrack uses SNES-style instrumentals (particularly in the style of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past), which is always a plus for me. I just wish the melodies were catchier or easier to grasp. Sound effects tend to be less notable since a lot of them feel stock.
In this 2D Metroidvania, the player explores caverns and landscapes while fighting monsters and bosses. The platforming is kind of slow and deliberate but not to the point where it’s annoying. What bothers me is that Elliot’s attacks don’t really feel empowering. Almost every enemy in the game takes multiple hits to kill and it gets tedious until you finally level up enough to make things better. Other than that, I don’t really have a problem with the mechanics.
My issues are more so with the terrain. It just doesn’t feel compelling to me. The environments differ aplenty, but the level designs have a “same-y” vibe to them. There’s also little sense of reward when you happen to come across chests. You can buy stuff from shops, but you could gradually find the same materials in the levels themselves when making progress.
Elliot Quest isn’t a bad game, but it lacks punch. There’s plenty to like about it, yet there are elements that come off as underdeveloped. I think a sequel could help breathe life into the things the game hadn’t been able to tap into that well. You won’t miss out on much if you don’t get the game. It’s an alright (if flawed) adventure should you be curious enough.