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WiiU

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Elliot Quest (Wii U) Review

by Neal Ronaghan - March 19, 2015, 8:00 am PDT
Total comments: 19

9

A masterpiece in unassuming clothing.

Every so often, an under-the-radar game sneaks up on me and takes me completely by surprise. Elliot Quest, a new Wii U eShop game from Ansimuz Games, is a prime example of that lovely phenomenon. Originally a modest Kickstarted PC game, Elliot Quest is a masterful side-scrolling 2D game that is best compared to Zelda II, Metroid, and Cave Story. You control Elliot, who goes on the titular quest by exploring a top-down overworld and numerous side-scrolling dungeons.

The story focuses on Elliot, who finds out he can’t die (a savvy in-game explanation for save points). It’s very mysterious otherwise, as story is slowly parsed out as you complete the main areas and abundant side quests. The mystery of the story extends to the gameplay as well. The gameplay starts you off with no explanation and for better or worse, never really explains anything too specifically. It makes use of careful, deliberate level design to teach you how to control Elliot, who can only jump and shoot arrows at first. He clumsily does both things, but as you level up, he moves faster, fires faster, and becomes easier to control. As you defeat bosses and clear dungeons, you also earn power-ups, including a tornado attack, a bomb bag, and a double jump. These abilities often serve multiple purposes and can be applied in different ways to solve puzzles, reach new areas, and fight enemies.

There are clear Metroid-like elements in Elliot Quest that help guide you through the world, but it is still often too vague and too meandering. That aspect is a total throwback to old-school design, but it’s also an aspect of that design that isn’t that great. While the going can get very tough and brutal, save points are frequent. The only thing you lose when you die is a chunk of experience. I died countless times and the loss of experience was never something that restricted me from eventually completing an area.

It’s easy to get lost in Elliot Quest, which can be good and bad. I lost track of time as I enjoyed the dungeons and exploration so much, but I would too often get lost and not know how to progress. Whether you welcome that kind of challenge or not, Elliot Quest is a fine, fantastic addition to the Wii U eShop that might very well become a breakout game like Cave Story. This is a tremendous game that, if you have any affinity for aspects of Zelda II and Metroid games, is something you should be getting as soon as possible.

Summary

Pros
  • Delightful platforming, combat, and exploration
  • Engrossing world
  • Wonderful old-school style
Cons
  • Vague progression

Talkback

marvel_moviefan_2012March 19, 2015

Good review, bought game hope it's as good as you claim.

Fatty The HuttMarch 19, 2015

Nice review! You have me intrigued, now.

PhilPhillip Stortzum, March 19, 2015

Did you encounter any split seconds of slowdown, Neal? Had some quick bouts of it (maybe once or twice an hour) when attacking or jumping. Wasn't anything to detract from the game, though.

Anyway, I really am liking this game. It's much a friendlier Zelda II, I think, with some great level design.

ThunderRazorMarch 19, 2015

Glad to see it reviewed so positively.  I was thinking of getting this.  I will pick it up for sure now.

marvel_moviefan_2012March 19, 2015

I am two hours into it already, most time I spent on any Wii U game that isn't Super Mario 3D World. It is very satisfying as a Zelda 2 knock off, not quite as odd as Neutopia was but it certainly fills a void.

KDR_11kMarch 20, 2015

I've had it on my Steam wishlist since I saw it on Super Bunny Hop's "games from my Inbox" video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9AmX1Qfzpg). Maybe I should just take the plunge.

SorenMarch 20, 2015

Added to my wishlist...will definitely play it on a rainy day.

CaterkillerMatthew Osborne, Contributing WriterMarch 20, 2015

Ok I guess I'm buying this one!

broodwarsMarch 20, 2015

Put some time into this game last night, and the game overall just makes me shrug in indifference. The game seems to have almost no signposting, giving you no idea where you're meant to go to continue the quest. You collect items, but you're given no idea what they're used for (such as the "Ancient Key", which opened a door eventually but it took me trying 5 different locked doors in 3 different locations before I found the door it belonged to). I've also run into some weird bugs where you can teleport across the map if you exit a screen by falling into the screen's edge instead of walking through it.  The game's OK, but I don't get the praise for this one.

motangMarch 21, 2015

Just bought it, fun game. It seems like a mash of Kid Icarus and Legend of Zelda.

marvel_moviefan_2012March 21, 2015

Quote from: broodwars

Put some time into this game last night, and the game overall just makes me shrug in indifference. The game seems to have almost no signposting, giving you no idea where you're meant to go to continue the quest. You collect items, but you're given no idea what they're used for (such as the "Ancient Key", which opened a door eventually but it took me trying 5 different locked doors in 3 different locations before I found the door it belonged to). I've also run into some weird bugs where you can teleport across the map if you exit a screen by falling into the screen's edge instead of walking through it.  The game's OK, but I don't get the praise for this one.

It is a throw back to the old school NES days. Games used to be like that and we ate them up. Ever tried beating original Legend of Zelda NES without a walk through or going on line first? Having to figure things out makes solving the puzzle more rewarding, games today just hold your hand and give you infinite re-tries until you get to the final cut scene because the story is more important than the actual game.

Also have you tried actually talking to the NPC's? They offer clues to what to do without actually coming out and telling you. I love it for that. I hate games where they tell you exactly what to do that is annoying.

broodwarsMarch 21, 2015

Quote from: marvel_moviefan_2012

Quote from: broodwars

Put some time into this game last night, and the game overall just makes me shrug in indifference. The game seems to have almost no signposting, giving you no idea where you're meant to go to continue the quest. You collect items, but you're given no idea what they're used for (such as the "Ancient Key", which opened a door eventually but it took me trying 5 different locked doors in 3 different locations before I found the door it belonged to). I've also run into some weird bugs where you can teleport across the map if you exit a screen by falling into the screen's edge instead of walking through it.  The game's OK, but I don't get the praise for this one.

It is a throw back to the old school NES days. Games used to be like that and we ate them up. Ever tried beating original Legend of Zelda NES without a walk through or going on line first? Having to figure things out makes solving the puzzle more rewarding, games today just hold your hand and give you infinite re-tries until you get to the final cut scene because the story is more important than the actual game.

Here's my problem with that mindset: it's not the 1980s anymore. We don't have shitty hardware like the NES to work with now, we don't typically have our programmers multi-tasking as level and scenario designers anymore, and Shovel Knight exists. Shovel Knight was also a love letter to that same time period, but with as much as it embraced the style of that era, it also incorporated advances in level and game design we've made since then. It was a modern game, and it didn't delight in wasting my time. I always knew where I needed to go and what I needed to do. The challenge was in doing it, not in trying to analyze the deranged mind of an indie developer. If I wanted deliberately obscure nonsense, I'd go play a 90s point & click adventure game, and probably have more fun doing it.

Elliot Quest, by comparison, is a faithful recreation of a less-than-stellar Zelda game (to put it kindly), and it delights in obscuring basic concepts like signposting the critical path.  Sorry, but I don't have the time for that bullshit anymore. If a game's going to let me waste time bumping around the world map trying to guess where it wants me to go next, there are better uses for my time. You can nudge a player in the right direction without turning the game into Fi from Skyward Sword.

Quote:

Also have you tried actually talking to the NPC's? They offer clues to what to do without actually coming out and telling you. I love it for that. I hate games where they tell you exactly what to do that is annoying.

Yes, and with the exception of the one NPC who asked me to get his bomb bag and nudged me towards a nearby cave, I've found most NPCs about as useful as "I Am Error."

Like I said, Elliot Quest isn't a bad game. It's just that to me the absolute worst thing a game can do is waste my time. If I'm going to sit down and play a game for an hour, I want to feel that I've made progress. The game's an homage to one of the worst eras of game design, and that just doesn't click with me like it obviously has others.

Evan_BMarch 21, 2015

If you're worried about wasting your time you should probably stop playing games there, Broodwars.

Not surprised some don't like the total '80s throwback confusion. I totally get where you are coming from, brood. I just wound up being far more positive about it.

Well, Neal got through the confusion and was able to enjoy what comes out of that. Broodwars quit early and never saw most of the good stuff. So you can both agree that the game needs a little more direction, yet come out completely different on the overall evaluation.


Lesson: keep playing!

marvel_moviefan_2012March 23, 2015

Quote from: broodwars

Quote from: marvel_moviefan_2012

Quote from: broodwars

It is a throw back to the old school NES days. Games used to be like that and we ate them up. Ever tried beating original Legend of Zelda NES without a walk through or going on line first? Having to figure things out makes solving the puzzle more rewarding, games today just hold your hand and give you infinite re-tries until you get to the final cut scene because the story is more important than the actual game.

Here's my problem with that mindset: it's not the 1980s anymore.

That sums up everything wrong with the world. The game has issues but it is a fun waste of time. It's okay if you don't like it though, because I did and that is all that matters to me. Stay cool my friend.

sweetiepiejonusMarch 23, 2015

Well broodwars I don't know this for sure but I bet a lot of developers have to actually think about how much hand holding they want to do. Not trying to be condescending here. I get where you are coming from but not everyone wants a guide and enjoys playing games themselves so I do wonder if that is actually part of the process.

You don't have to "get" the praise for the game. Even if you don't like crappy 80's games many do and this game sounds like it does it well.

(Neal was right.)

PhilPhillip Stortzum, April 07, 2015

A patch is coming to fix an issue where exiting from one area would take you completely across the map to another part of the world. Thank goodness because I thought my eyes were deceiving me when it happened to me on my play-through!

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Genre Action
Developer Ansimuz Games
Players1

Worldwide Releases

na: Elliot Quest
Release Mar 19, 2015
PublisherPlayEveryWare
RatingEveryone 10+
jpn: Elliot Quest
Release Mar 23, 2016
PublisherPikii
RatingAll Ages
eu: Elliot Quest
Release Apr 16, 2015
PublisherPlayEveryWare
Rating7+
aus: Elliot Quest
Release Apr 07, 2016
PublisherPlayEveryWare

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