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Lock's Quest

Score: 79%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: THQ Nordic
Developer: Digital Continue, LLC
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Strategy/ RPG

Graphics & Sound:

Lock's Quest is a port of the popular Nintendo DS game to the PC, and while most of the overall charm found in the tower-defense game is conveyed on the desktop environment, there are a few mechanics that can lead to some frustrating experiences with a keyboard and mouse.

Visually though, Lock's Quest looks good. While the port boasts remastered artwork, the 16-bit classic RPG feel that Lock's Quest executed so well on the handheld comes through even better in the PC.

The game's music sets the mood for each of the battles Lock and his friends will face, but it also stays in the background and never feels like a distraction. During build phases or plot-advancing dialogue sections, the music is low-key, while its tempo seems to step up a notch during the actual fights, making for a more engaging experience.


Gameplay:

Lock's Quest is a tower-defense game wrapped in some fairly standard RPG elements to give the game a much better plot than a lot of other titles in this genre.

As Lock, you will play a young boy raised in a small village that is suddenly under the threat of an evil that the world thought was gone for many years. With the knowledge that his grandfather taught Lock, he will have to build defenses, set traps, create mechanized fighters of his own, and even get up-close-and-physical in order to defeat the waves of the Clockwork Army that have started terrorizing the countryside.

As the story unfolds, Lock will travel around the land setting up defenses at various battlegrounds. At each location, you have time to spend the in-game currency, Source, on turrets, walls, traps and other devices in order to repel the wave of enemies preparing to bear down on the area. After the wave is complete, you will have some time to repair existing fortifications or build new ones depending on how much Source you have left, or how much you acquired in the previous round's melee.

Of course, Lock doesn't just sit idly by while the Clockwork Army attacks. He is on the battlefield, and while he can deal out some damage, you will have to split his time between weakening the foes by hand and repairing the walls and turrets that are under siege, and it takes a fine balancing of these two priorities to make it through each wave intact.


Difficulty:

I found Lock's Quest to be a solid challenge pretty much the entire game through. While I could usually defend a new location against the first wave with little issue, I often found that I would have a lot of trouble during the second or third wave, and I would often have to start the location over again in order to more strategically place my resources with the knowledge of what is needed for the later attacks.

It also helps that the game does a good job of metering out new defenses and abilities at a pace to keep you feeling like Lock is always getting better, but with each new item in Lock's inventory, it can take a wave or two to figure out the best way to use the new trick.

Countering the regular upgrades to Lock's toolkit is a steadily increasing force bearing down on him. Lock's Quest makes each wave and location noticeably tougher than the previous through increases in the number of enemies or the introduction to new enemies. So while I always found I was evenly matched with the forces attacking me, I also felt like I was getting better at the game and Lock was growing in his abilities, since the fights even a few waves past the initial stages of the game felt much bigger and harder than those basic defenses at Lock's seaside village.


Game Mechanics:

Pretty much everything Lock's Quest can do to make itself a solid tower-defense game, it does well. The balance of the new gear versus the enemies each wave throws at the player makes it a constantly challenging game at every point in the story. The various toys the game grants the player allow for a wide variety of strategies to employ and, for the most part, the building and planning of your defenses is straightforward and requires very little learning curve.

Where trouble arises is when the PC version of Lock's Quest tries to interpret actions obviously designed to take advantage of the DS' touch screen. When Lock is engaging in direct combat, the player has to tap on a series of buttons in a specific order; on the PC, that's clicking on them with your mouse, not too bad really. When it comes time to repairing defenses mid-battle though, a lever appears and you are supposed to grab it and swipe back-and-forth the number of times indicated on the lever. While that can easily be done with the touch screen and I can see it as a frantic mid-fight action that can add to the overall pressure of the fight; here, it becomes a pain because I always found it hard to click and drag the lever back and forth across the entire range of the lever's swing in order for it to actually count, not to mention some of the tedium that came from choosing the exact defense piece you want to repair. It just felt like a mechanic that doesn't translate well to a PC or gamepad.

I enjoyed Lock's Quest a lot. It is a challenging tower-defense game that any fan of the genre should be interested in playing. Unfortunately, I don't think that many of the mechanics that make it unique in the genre translate all that well to a PC, and I would have to argue that anyone interested in this game should look for it on the DS before trying out this version. It's a lot of fun, but there are definitely some painful mechanics that hurt the experience.


-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

Minimum System Requirements:



Windows 7, 2.0 Ghz Processor, 2 GB RAM, DX11 with feature level 9.3 capabilities Graphics Card. DirectX Version 9.0, 2 GB available hard drive space
 

Test System:



Intel Core i7-3820 CPU @ 3.60GHz, 16 GB dual-channel DDR3,Windows 10 Home 64 bit, Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 (4GB)

Related Links:



Microsoft Xbox One Injustice 2

 
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