Yup, it is time for another one of these.
I will be honest, I have never been a big fan of Role-Playing Games in any form. MMORPGs like World of Warcraft are too tedious and require to much time level grinding to hold my attention for very long, Tactical RPGs like the Fire Emblem series require far to much multitasking and micromanagement for me to have fun, and turn-based RPGs like the Final Fantasy series feel stiff and slow moving.
The exceptions to the rule exist, of course. I genuinely love the non-traditional RPGs made by Enix in the days of the Super Nintendo like ActRaiser and E.V.O.: Search for Eden. Also, Kingdom Hearts was a beautiful tale of a boy learning to grow up. However, these titles are few and far between.
My point is you need to know just how great The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot is for me to say that it is probably the most fun I have had with any game in MONTHS.
… But we are getting ahead of ourselves now. We need to discuss what this thing even is.
Once upon a time, there existed a staggeringly prosperous kingdom; so prosperous and rich, in fact, that they very quickly out grew their own land; sending them into a real-estate nightmare.
To correct this, the most powerful among them created magical castle hearts to lift their homes into the sky and form a nest of airborne, island-like fortresses known as the Kingdom of Opulencia (though the Opulencians prefer to call it a “Prestige feudal heroism community” rather then a Kingdom).
However, the lust for treasure continued to drive the Opulencians so much, that the main method of commerce in Opulencia is running raids on each other’s castles. This is where you come in.
You are an up and coming hero under the employ of adventuring talent scout/P.R. guru Cornelius Richling. For a percentage, he has agreed to give you the training and home of your own to start a proud career as what amounts to a medieval fantasy themed privateer.
Right off the bat, we see the theme of the entire game; it is a self-aware comedy that mocks the fact that the story of all RPGs is just an excuse to search for money, weapons, armor and magic maguffins by cutting through the BS and saying, “You! Go kick your buddy’s ass and steal his crap!”
I do enjoy a bit of subversive humor as it points out the inherent flaws in our thinking and methodology; in this case The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot becomes a critique of the RPG genre and the games industry.
Now would normally be the time I would discuss the gameplay, but we will need to break it down a little finer then usual as this is actually two very different, but seamlessly combined games. Let us start with…
The bulk of the game is dedicated to raiding the castles of your opponents. You start by choosing what class you want to play – the knight, the archer, or the mage (or the runaway if you bought her).
You will collect gear and learn new skills in order to take on more heavily fortified castles as the game proceeds. It’s very much your standard RPG fare with one-click combat and keybound abilities that will be familiar to anyone that has ever played Diablo.
The twist is that, while some castles are stock maps created by the developers, many belong to and were designed by other players.
The game encourages you to challenge player-made castles as these provide rankings and offer potentially higher rewards. If you succeed in raiding a player’s castle, you will steal an amount of their gold and life force – the currency of the realm.
“But wait,” I hear you say. “Does that mean other players can steal from me as well?” Indeed it does, which means that you will have to learn the art of defensive architecture.
In order to protect your ill gotten gains from equally greedy hands, you will have to build a castle and defenses to place between your rivals and your plunder.
As you play, you must spend gold on new rooms to turn your castle into a labyrinth and life force on monsters and traps to destroy anyone foolish enough to enter.
The game employs an interesting mechanic to keep castle construction fair and balanced. In addition to limits to construction dictated by the strength of your castle heart (which must also be upgraded with live force), you must also preform a “castle validation” whenever you make changes to your castle.
Castle validation involves you running a raid on your own castle and fending off your own death traps. In effect, this means that no one can ever build a castle that they themselves can’t best and your castle will only ever be as good as you are.
It adds another level of depth and immersion to gameplay; your success is not solely dictated by numbers as with most RPGs, but by your familiarity with the game’s mechanics, the enemy’s A.I., and your ability to manipulate them to your advantage.
Don’t worry too much if you get looted though. If someone robs you blind, you will be temporarily “shielded.” This allows others to attack you, but they won’t be able to take your money.
The Down Sides
While I have done nothing but praise the game so far, I would be a terrible critic if I couldn’t nitpick things.
Unfortunately, the game suffers from a bit of the grind of many other RPGs. You will spend long stretches of time just running through castles and methodically exploring every square inch until you find the castle heart – sometimes the same castles if your trying to get maximum loot and the other castles are shielded.
It also feels sometimes that your defenses are useless as you are beaten time and again without enough funds to properly upgrade.
That being said, I personally had so much fun tinkering with my castle and seeing what other players came up with for theirs that I didn’t even realize these things until I sat down to write this article.
RPG purists may be put off by just how different and rogue this game feels to traditional RPGs, but if your looking for something different, The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot provides.
It is free to play on Steam right now, so you have no excuse not to try it. Go on… Do it… Do it now…