Review – Lock's Quest
You can be forgiven for not remembering Lock’s Quest, as it’s a ‘popular at the time’ Nintendo DS title that originally released way back in 2008 and hits the PC, PS4, and Xbox One this week in a remaster from development studio Digital Continue.
The game puts players in the boots of an orphan named Lock, who is soon discovered to be an Archineer, people who can shape Source – the essence from which everything is created. Since it’s a game, Lock doesn’t get to enjoy a quiet life before retiring to the countryside – the kidnapping of his little sister Emi thrust him into the midst of a war between the kingdom and the Clockworks.
Lock’s Quest is pretty heavy on the story, which comes with a slew of twists and turns, but the game itself boils down to a pair of opposing modes: Build and Battle. In Build mode, Lock receives an objective like destroying all enemies or protecting a certain point on the map, then can use the Source to create walls, turrets, and other defensive structures. Once complete, the game switches into Battle mode and swarms of enemies attempt to batter their way through, fighting both Lock’s constructs and Lock himself.
Combat itself is fairly simplistic, though rudimentary combo and repair systems reward those who don’t simply button mash their way through. Click the right buttons in a QTE (quick time event) for example, and you’ll do massive damage to the targeted enemy, as well as gain energy towards the use of a screen-clearing super attack.
Most of the strategy comes from the build phase, when gamers will need to make choices on what helper bots to use, what turrets and traps to deploy, and what the best arrangement of walls is. This is hindered somewhat by the inability to rotate the camera to see other angles, so it’s possible to lay out an intricate design of walls guaranteed to defeat the enemy…only to have a gaping hole left that’s impossible to see from the only angle available. It’s easy enough to see how the DS was unable to handle this task, but surely modern consoles and computers could have integrated this one modern design idea.
Those frustrations aside, Lock’s Quest is a great stroll down memory lane for old school DS gamers and a great lesson in history for fans of modern tower defense titles.