Developer: NX Games
Price: $4.99 – $9.99
Released: March 2019
This review only covers The Tale of the Sword, not the new expansion Dark Quest.
JackQuest: The Tale of the Sword is a platformer, hack-n-slash, and metroidvania developed by NX Games and published by Cresent Moon for mobile platforms. Starring the hero Jack, the player must fight hordes of monsters and navigate labyrinthine depths to save his love and his village from the clutches of evil, with the company of Kuro, the mysterious talking sword.
For a mobile game, the core mechanics are simple to grasp and easy to execute. You can jump, wall-jump a la Mega Man X, attack, and do special attacks that consume gem energy, but mastering the combat is not enough. Navigation is also key in the game, as you can easily get lost if you don’t know what you’re doing or looking for.
While JackQuest isn’t frustratingly hard, it is challenging in that health potions are not easy to come by, and the fiends can quickly overwhelm you if you’re not careful. Thankfully, the game has plenty of save points scattered across the map, and you buy items like health potions or torches which allow you to save anywhere on the map.
Although there is a variety of enemies, from skeletons to ogres to slimes and even gigantic bees, you can discover and fight all of them within an hour or two, which means the game quickly gets stale. Likewise, boss fights are repetitive and extremely formulaic with no phases.
Artstyle and Audio
JackQuest utilizes mostly dark and gloomy pixel art with some visual effects here and there. For example, Jack’s scarf flutters in the air when he moves. Otherwise, the art is nothing to write home about.
Unfortunately, the game wasn’t impressive with its music. There are only two tracks that you will hear in the first chapter of the game: the main theme, and the boss theme. The former has an “epic adventure” vibe to it with its fast pacing and shouts and is basically what you’re going to hear through the whole game, without any change.
JackQuest: The Tale of the Sword is a platformer that can be played in small bites, mixing both easy controls with metroidvania elements. Although the story is just another cookie-cutter “hero saves the day” tale, it was generally minimal and non-intrusive.
That said, although the gameplay on offer is quite good, it gets quickly marred by repetition, especially with the music. Overall, I don’t recommend picking it up at full price, instead, opt for a cheap discount!