Review – Nimble Quest (iPhone)


Just for a moment, let’s travel back to a simpler time. Boy bands were all the rage. Coolness rating was based on the size of Pokémon card collections. Cellular telephones were as big as bricks.

No, it wasn’t the Mesozoic, nor was it the Stone Age. I’m talking about the late 1990’s.

Cell phones couldn’t do much more than make calls, but they came preloaded with a little game called Snake. I never really understood why people would play terrible-looking games on phones when Game Boy Color was around. Plus, Snake was so simple! Pick up dots. Don’t hit the wall. Live. Blah.

Flash forward to 2013. Smartphones are in pockets around the world. That phone can do nearly any digital task needed. Snake is years into obsolescence.

NimbleBit, the developers of popular iPhone apps such as Tiny Tower and Pocket Planes, saw opportunity in innovating on the classic Snake formula. Think Snake-meets-RPG.

Thus, Nimble Quest was born.

In essence, Nimble Quest is extremely simple. Choose a hero. Swipe to move. Kill enough enemies to beat the stage. Collect gems, coins, and extra heroes, who help in killing enemies. Don’t take damage, and don’t run into anything.

The round ends in one of three ways: the main hero takes too much damage, runs into an enemy, or runs into a wall.

The mage, Blaze, was my favorite.

The mage, Blaze, was my favorite.

Choosing a hero in Nimble Quest is extremely important. All the favorites are here, from mages, to knights, to archers, and they each play differently. I preferred ranged classes for their ability to avoid damage, but melee classes wreak havoc at close range. With each class, there’s much fun to be had. I never felt weak when selecting one over another.

The light upgrade mechanics in Nimble Quest are much appreciated, and fit extremely well with the RPG motif of the game. Have a ton of gems? Upgrade characters to make them more powerful. Love to use power-ups? Upgrade those too. With Nimble Quest, there’s more than initially meets the eye.

My success in Nimble Quest felt, at times, constrained by my device (iPhone 4S). I want more screen real estate! My thumbs were constantly getting in the way of the action. Also, Nimble Quest absolutely yearns for tactile buttons. There are no control issues, but a swipe that doesn’t translate from the brain to the screen wouldn’t be as much of an issue if it were a button press instead.

Nimble Quest doesn’t offer flashy effects or an orchestral score, but that only adds to the cleanness of the gameplay. In typical NimbleBit fashion, the graphics and sound hearken back to the days of yore, when bleeps, bloops, and sprites ruled the world. Better yet, there are distinct sounds and effects that occur for each action in the game, from killing an enemy to picking up a gem. With so many things happening on screen at once, any loss of concentration can spell disaster, and Nimble Quest does a great job of keeping the focus on what’s important.

It hurts so good.

It hurts so good.

When hitting power-ups and rolling with six or seven heroes in a single-file line, Nimble Quest hits its high. There are certain gaming experiences that just feel visceral, and dodging and decimating enemies in Nimble Quest is definitely on the list.

It’s feasible that by playing round after round of Nimble Quest, collecting gems and coins will never be a problem. In my experience, gems and coins came frequently, but based on the economy of upgrading, it may as well have been a trickle. Regardless, coins and gems can be purchased for money. Gems are used for upgrades, as mentioned above, and coins are used to restart a level upon dying. Even cranking through upgrades with gems, I’ve no qualms with paying for either major resource, as it’ll still require skill to get through levels.

Other microtransactions in Nimble Quest are more heinous.

I wish this wouldn't have happened.

I wish this wouldn’t have happened.

For instance, red gems are worth 10x normal gems, but can only be unlocked with a purchase of $4.99. I haven’t yet found a way to unlock it within the game. Looking for free tokens? The “Free Tokens” option is exactly what it sounds like, but only after showing an ad. Watching ads for free stuff feels really sleazy, and certainly doesn’t honor my time as a player.

There’s almost no real negative criticism to level at Nimble Quest. It’s a great game. Period. It’s free, and works in short bursts or for long play sessions. Nimble Quest is perfectly suited for iOS gaming and will be joining the ranks of Tiny Wings, Angry Birds, and Cut The Rope, at least on my phone. It’s that good. Aside from the slight microtransaction faux pas and control issues, Nimble Quest is good, clean fun. It’ shouldn’t be missed.

Rating - 4/5

A download code for Nimble Quest was provided by the developer and was played through on an iPhone 4S. Approximately 3-4 hours were spent with the game, trying out various characters and upgrades.

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