With Christmas coming up and the plentiful quantity of Mortal Kombat DLC, many of you may be running low on cash at the moment. That, and the fact that the first indie game review on this blog was more popular than Christ (compared to the other posts, anyway), has prompted me to write another review of a cheap indie game available on Xbox Live. With that in mind, here's DLC Quest.
Like many indie games, DLC Quest is a 2D platformer presented in old-school style, with 8-bit graphics and NES-style music. The protagonist is a generic guy with dinner plate-sized eyes, and the plot of the game is as follows: a princess is kidnapped by a bad guy, known as "Bad Guy", and the protagonist must journey to find her and rescue her from his clutches, jumping from platform to platform, collecting coins along the way. So far so unoriginal.
As hinted at in the title, there's more to DLC Quest, in that the coins littered throughout the game purchase the player not extra lives, but mock DLC for the game. As a disclaimer at the start of the game says, there's no actual DLC - it's all included in-game. Virtually everything in the game must be bought with in-game currency, from the ability to move left and jump, to the "Psychological Warfare Pack" which lets the player bypass an enemy using "psychology". The game brilliantly parodies modern-day games' barrage of DLC, as the DLC available becomes more and more ridiculous. While it's difficult to go into much detail without spoiling many of the jokes, there are plenty of clever references to past DLC, including Oblivion's infamous "Horse Armour" DLC, available for only 250 coins. This neatly-woven satire turns DLC Quest from a generic 2D platformer to one of the most original games this year.
It's not just the DLC available that will make you laugh. Numerous elements of modern games are parodied, from random encounters to a possible nod to Red Dead Redemption later on in the game. Every couple of minutes or so there's another clever joke, many you probably won't expect. There's also plenty of funny dialogue between the protagonist and the NPCs, in the form of text.
As for the gameplay, as mentioned earlier, it's basically a generic platformer. There's absolutely no challenge to the game other than finding enough coins to purchase DLC. This will often leave you back-tracking around the game world, which can ge frustrating. The worst part of the game is that it lasts less than an hour. Still, for only 80 microsoft points, it's not that bad value for money.
DLC Quest's gameplay is pretty mediocre, but for many its low price and brilliant humour will make up for that. While it's not the best indie game on Xbox Live, it's perhaps the funniest, so if you have a few points spare, give it a go.