Punch Quest Review

Title:  Punch Quest
Maker: RocketCat Games
System: iOS
Cost: Free (and $3 for a must have upgrade if you like it)

The best five minutes of your lunch break

It’s been popular to rip on jet pack joyride for awhile now.  But pound for pound, it’s 99 cents provided my more fun than any other iPad game I’ve played.  It was arcade action, for someone who doesn’t typically like arcade games. But this isn’t about Jetpack, this is about Punch Quest.

I mention Jetpack, because a first instinct is that it plays very similar (if not unabashedly ripping it off).  And it’s true, on a base level of fast twitch reactions, there is a lot in common.  Yet for better or worse, Punch Quest is a deeper game with room left over for multiple play-styles.

Because it is free to play, the in-game currency holds much greater sway, as the in-game purchases actually have a tremendous effect on how the game plays.  This adds depth while sacrificing accessibility. And while it generally follows that the more expensive moves (there’s no going back once you get thunder punch) outmatch the earlier ones, this isn’t always the case.  In addition there are two distinct play styles that can be used:  one of run and gun (punch), and another of tactically moving forward with the use of block.

As great as the game is, it’s not without it’s problems.  Because of the way block is setup, it’s basically impossible to have a play style that combines fast gameplay with strategic blocking.  Either you choose a control scheme that makes it difficult to use (but preventing it’s accidental use), or one that is easy but will frustrate you by activating when you don’t want it.  Additionally, the art style is great, but it leaves you wanting more: more enemy types, more bonus levels, more variety of path types.

And finally the game currency is distorted.  Not fubar, but it does detract.  It’s a free game and need to make money, but even after buying the paid upgrade “punchos doubler” (a must if you like the game), it still takes a massive amount of time to buy even one “ultra” item, or unlock the Spartan Mode.

Punch Quest is the best iOS game I’ve played in the last six months.  It will undoubtedly (and unfairly) always remain in the shadow of Jet Pack Joyride, even though it’s a genuinely great game in it’s own right.

Review: 4 stars (our of 5)

Memory:  The first time you get to the laser raptor level.

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Owen is a writer based out of Denver and currently preparing his first novel PUSH PULL for publication. In the meantime, feel free to explore his meandering thoughts, movie and videogame op-eds and situational playlists. If you know him from another life, this is a chance for exposure to his creative endeavors. www.owensader.com

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