Japanese RPGs have become quite the cliche in the last decade. From the spiky hair to the laughably haunted pasts and angsty demeanour, many of these motifs have been absolutely done to death. But even still, I go back and replay through the final fantasy series (anything below X, to be honest) because these games are still a hoot to play, even though you’re basically grinding your way through levels, not unlike an MMO. That kind of makes you think, ‘What’s so special about these turn based fights that makes me want to keep grinding my hours away?’ I honestly can’t tell you, but what I can say is that Cuve Games removed anything and everything in your way of hours of turn based combat with Quest Run.

QuestRun gives you a quick paced fighting system… and that’s about it! No need for long dialogue (or dialogue of any kind), no need for story and plot. If there was a movie analogue to video games, QuestRun would be streaming XXX. It’s got exactly what you’re interested in, with absolutely nothing else. Straight from their Greenlight page: “You love RPGs but you don’t care about dialogues and scenarii ? QuestRun is for you!”

If you’re not familiar with the fighting system in Final Fantasy I’ll give you a quick primer. Take a turn based fighting system and give each character a timer bar, which fills at a predetermined speed. When that timer fills up completely, that character can do the move assigned to them. This was called the “Active Time Battle” or ATB system, which was introduced in Final Fantasy IV by game designer Hiroyuki Ito to “inject urgency and excitement into combat by requiring the player to act before an enemy attacks“. QuestRun borrows heavily from the Final Fantasy series in this regard, by taking the fantastic ATB system and making some small tweaks to it.

QuestRun Preview Full Party 1024x576 QuestRun: ATB RPG for you and me

Oh yeah I’ve totally got this.

At first glance, the spartan looking game screen is a bit underwhelming. There’s not a ton of feedback and information on the screen, but once you start looking, and noticing, there’s actually quite a bit to take in: QuestRun gives you a choice of 3 heroes per ‘Quest’. There are a handful of classes featured including mage, warrior, paladin, and bard. Each has set stats, starting items and a special ability. After receiving 5 attacks, a hero can use their special ability. These include various buffs like healing, debuffs like charms and spells like ice and fire. Levelling is dead simple (please excuse the pun). Every three things you kill, you gain a level, and you are given a choice between 3 randomly picked stats on one to improve. This makes having a set gameplan tricky, because if you’re trying to aim for health, for instance, you might not see that stat to even upgrade it for a couple levels. Each hero sits in a ‘lane’ and attacks what is directly in front of it (unless you have a ranged weapon equipped). There are no choices in the attacks, aside from what weapon is equipped. When the bar fills, the hero will do his or her default attack. You may move your hero from one lane to another and switch your heroes, but you do so at a penalty. When you make the switch, the affected heroes’ timers will restart. So if they were about to make an attack, they will need to wait until their timer bar fills from zero. As you kill monsters, they have a chance to drop items, which show up on the left of the screen in a sort of inventory bar, which can only fit 4 items at a time. Equipping is done quickly by dragging and dropping from hero to the bar, or hero to hero. And not to forget, there are also stances you cna toggle which can give you certain bonus stats at the cost of lowering other stats.

QuestRun Preview Party Dead 1024x575 QuestRun: ATB RPG for you and me

Already worse for wear.

The art style is colourful and ‘cartoony’ (a self appointed term of course) and looks almost like something you’d see in a facebook game. But make no mistake, this is not a Free-to-Play send-out-invites-to-your-friends sort of game. You buy it for a set price, and that’s it. No special items to purchase, no in game currency. QuestRun is available for Alpha Funding on Desura, and as it’s an Alpha, there are still some rough edges. My only real criticism is a lack of documentation and training levels. While there are two training levels, they’re really just hyper easy, without much direction, leaving the actual quests as really difficult. I’d also like to know more about the gameplay mechanics, and what items do what, and more about abilities amd stances. Quests are being added, along with items, a shop, and a bunch more. If you like what you see, there’s plenty more in store before they even get to beta. So take a few simple concepts, add a timer and suddenly you have a fast paced frantic tactics game which puts you on the edge of your seat for hours on end, but can still be played in a casual manner.

QuestRun shows lots of promise, and believe me, there’s more to the game than what it looks like on the surface. If you like tactics, and RPG games, but have grown tired of the cliched stories and walls of text, try this little piece of freebase RPG fighting. Head over to their Greenlight page and give them a thumbs up and a favourite!

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